This year I once again had the pleasure of attending WeCamp, a coding retreat on a beautiful little island in Lake Veluwe in the Netherlands. Five days of coding, learning, creating software and having fun with a wonderful group of developers. We were staying on CampSpirit, a nice glamping where we worked and slept in tipi’s and yurts.
Last year I also attended, and afterwards I heard that some people would have liked to meditate together, but they either found out too late that I meditate, or hesitated to ask. So this year, on the second day of the event, I proposed to offer guided meditation sessions in the morning. There was a beautiful big tipi that was used throughout the day to work in, and where you could make a campfire in the evening. But before breakfast it was the ideal place for a morning meditation.
So on Thursday morning, after enjoying the sunrise over the lake and a nice cup of coffee in the main tent, me and a couple of other developers went to the big tipi for our morning meditation. I didn’t bring my meditation bell, but I had an app on my phone, Insight Timer, that can be configured to sound a bell at the beginning and end of the meditation session, and interval bells every five minutes. That was exactly what I needed.
When I offer a guided meditation I often use a simple meditation script that I learned from Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Zen master and peace activist who has inspired me a lot.
Breathing in, I know that I’m breathing in
Breathing out, I know that I’m breathing out
Breathing in, my breathing gets deeper
Breathing out, my breathing slows down
Breathing in, I feel calm
Breathing out, I feel at ease
Breathing in, I smile
Breathing out, I release all the tension from my body
Breathing in, I am aware of the present moment
Breathing out, I enjoy the here and the now
On Friday morning, the meditation group had become a little bigger, and on the last morning of WeCamp, there was a pretty large group of people joining the meditation. I find it awesome that so many developers are open to mindfulness and meditation. Some of the WeCamp attendees even were experienced practitioners.
Last year I was still a bit hesitant to openly talk about mindfulness and meditation with other developers that I didn’t know very well. I was afraid these ‘rational developers’ would find me woolly and wouldn’t take me seriously as a programmer. But I learned that it were only my own prejudices about the rationality of developers that kept me from being myself. The people at WeCamp, the developers at work, the people I meet at tech conferences, are mostly very open minded, accepting and kind people that I dare open up to.
So who knows, maybe I’ll be able to go again next year, to code, learn, have fun and meditate together. For now, thanks a lot for the great time, WeCamp friends!