The first time I went to a silent meditation retreat in 2003 it was for 10 days. I’d never meditated before, much less for 10 days. And the most horrifying part going into it was knowing I couldn’t talk to anyone for 10 days.
Would my head implode? What would I find in there?
I survived, and it was the most powerful and hardest 10 days of my life up to that point. I remember thinking after it was over, “If all the world leaders did a meditation retreat, the world would be a different place.”
I still believe that. It’s more of a knowing actually, after attending 8 retreats now.
Every retreat experience is different, every one is profound, and every one leaves me lighter, more happy, and more at peace than I was at the end of the last one. The one I just returned from was no exception.
Why? Because there are layers of me that peel away at each retreat. What I mean by that is that there are layers of beliefs and perceptions that fall away each time. The beliefs and perceptions that keep me thinking of life in only one way, when there is a whole other way of seeing the world. The beliefs that cause me angst, anger, frustration, resentment, and much more.
When the beliefs fall away, those emotions fall away too. It’s a wonderful thing.
So I go sit in silence. Why silence? Because when all the distractions are taken away, all that is left is your thoughts. When you have intimacy with your thoughts you begin to see what isn’t true that’s running through your head. You get clarity. Unbelievable clarity with a capital C.
As I settled into the silence last week, I connected more with myself – my essence to be more specific. I had a steady flow of intuition flowing through my mind – and I could hear it because there was no other distraction.
What I experienced was a “knowing” – a knowing that goes beyond words or anything the mind can understand. A knowing that life itself is the meaning of life. A knowing that there is no need to worry about ANYTHING. A knowing that I am a part of everything around me.
This is the kind of clarity I’m talking about.
I couldn’t experience this without my teacher Matthew, who I’ve been studying with for 5 years. He gives us teachings 2 times a day and we meditate afterward on what was discussed. He knows exactly when to push, when to back off, where you are stuck, and what to say to help you see clearly. He does it all because he wants you to be free from suffering. And he lives off the donations from his students – for over 20 years now. Truly a gift of love.
I never knew what gratitude really felt like until I began working with him, and it comes up so strong now that it overflows into tears. Gratitude for him, the teachings, my path, and the wonder of life.
I’m in total awe of all of it. That’s exactly what I feel right now. It’s what I left this retreat with. In awe and in love with life.
I also had a moment last week where I felt in my body the strong pull to help even more people be free from suffering – it was an almost painful pull. Like something greater than me was at work. I get that feeling a lot – that something greater than me is at work through me.
Because it is… I’m not the one “driving the car” of my life ultimately. How liberating!
Watch the trailer of the movie “With One Voice” that was produced and written by my teacher Matthew Flickstein. It will give you a sense of this “knowing” that I talk about.
Categories: Meditation & Mindfulness