Janet Cohen attended a Breathworks Meditation Retreat at Vijayaloka, here is her account of exploring the difference between 'being' and 'doing'.

Breathworks runs meditation retreats throughout the year and has two more planned for 2016, please visit here for more information.

It's the last day of the Breathworks meditation retreat at Vijayaloka and we're preparing to leave. Having finished my cleaning duties in the dormitory bedrooms, I linger in the empty training room and decide to clean the double-sided, portable whiteboard.

The board is old and has been used so much without thorough cleaning that, as well as recent scribing, the ghosts of old words are deeply engrained into the fabric. I want this grimy whiteboard to sparkle. Instead of a smeary surface I imagine a lustrous, pristine white, clean slate.

I attack the task with concentrated energy, vigorously wiping the board from side to side, my mind focused on the goal. But the harder and faster I rub, the more the ink smears across the whole surface. This isn't working, it's not coming clean. Tired and disappointed, I flip the board over. Maybe the other side will be easier to clean.

I don't know why, but this time, I remember to breathe. I'm deeply surprised. My arm moves in a light, circular motion, floating rhythmically across the surface. I'm aware of my body, relaxed and enjoying the task. I feel playful and light, happy. The ink just lifts off the surface and before I know it, the board is clean. I feel energised and calm. I turn over to the first side and using the same approach, it comes clean easily and without strain. I'm even more surprised but begin to see what's happening.

Unexpectedly, here on the last morning of the retreat, where we've explored the difference between 'being' and 'doing', my intellectual understanding of these modes is suddenly embodied in this simple yet profound task of cleaning the whiteboard.

I directly experience that the nature of the world is flow and I can work with it or against it. The 'doing' really can be joyful and effortless, if like a timber craftsman, I accept and work in harmony with the grain.

Janet Cohen