It was with a sigh of relief that he entered the warm, dry and quiet shuttle bus and sat down on a seat. The ice-cold, windy and rainy morning had chilled him to the bones.
While waiting for his flight at Stockholm airport, a memory from the morning came back to his mind. His wife had aggressively insisted that he behaved egotistically, leaving her alone for eight days and spending money on something “totally senseless.” When her regular coldness turned into contempt, he fled to the taxi waiting outside.
In northern Spain, spring was approaching with mild air and a high, blue sky. The course center was a serene, monastery-like building, in front of which a huge cherry tree stretched its branches, full of little pink buds.
Next morning was warm and sunny. A varied breakfast was served before the first meeting. He sat down at a table by himself with the wholesome, organic food, again wondering what on earth he expected to find at a spiritual retreat.
The dining hall had almost filled up with course students, when two women suddenly recognized each other across the room. With a happy scream they stood up, flew across the floor and joined in a long, warm and tender embrace.
Buds have an instinct that tells them when it’s time to let go of their resistance, open up and transform into flowers. It happens when they have received enough nutrients from a warming sun.
Witnessing the act of love joining with happiness overwhelmed him. He ran outside, where the cherry tree became his refuge. Without noticing that its flowers now were in full bloom, he sat down under it, allowing himself to cry as he hadn’t cried since he was a little child. Years of emotional loneliness, strain and suppressed emotions washed out of him in a flood of tears.
It was already past time time for class when he felt a gentle hand on his shoulder. As he looked up, he saw his teacher, smiling and nodding, whispering, “You have come to the right place, my friend.”