I York City too often so when my

I don’t get to travel outside of New York City too often so when my teacher offered to take six kids in my class to a weekend meditation retreat at the KTD monastery in Woodstock, NY, I jumped at the opportunity. As the weeks went by and the weekend drew closer, all I could think about is what will I and do I want to learn on this trip and all that did was make me more anxious to leave. The day finally arrived and we took a crowded bus from Port Authority to our destination. I found myself sitting next to one of the classmates who I had never really had a conversation with before the trip but we spoke the whole bus ride. I learned about his overall experience at our school and personal things about him like what he values in life. I didn’t expect him to be so open with me but because he was, I was able to get comfortable enough to lower the defenses that living in NYC requires so that you aren’t pushed around and I started to share some of my life with him as well. We arrived at Woodstock, which was way smaller and quieter than I had imagined it to be, then 3 of my classmates and I were all crammed into a car that would be driving up the mountain to reach the monastery. Despite the darkness of the mountains at night, the buildings at the monastery were breathtakingly beautiful to me. All the vivid colors that just popped out in the dark, along with the endless amount of stars in the sky that you can’t see in NYC, put me in this state of euphoria that I had not felt in so long. The spectacular views was a small part of my experience at the monastery. The rest of the weekend consisted of my classmates and I learning about meditation and the potential benefits it can have on a person, such as reduced anxiety and stress, and also a little bit about the Karma Kagyu branch of Buddhism. The weekend also consisted of conversations with my classmates sharing how we felt about what we were learning and also discussing profound thoughts that would come to us while we were meditating. The lack of 4G connection and WiFi also contributed to the experience because people who would normally be on their phones were actively participating in every activity we took part in. ¬†After the weekend was over and we were on the bus back to our hectic lives in NYC, I reflected on all that I experienced at the monastery and I couldn’t help but feel as if I was meant to be there, at that exact monastery that exact weekend, because it all felt so right. It brought to my attention how important it is to listen to others, to be open to trying new things, and to take advantage of the opportunities presented to me.

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