Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mindful Silent Retreat

I Am Mindful!
Yesterday, I attended a day long silent retreat with Mindful Shenandoah Valley. It is a day with no computer, no cell phone, and no talking. Some of you will find hard to believe that I can go a day without talking! I did and this was my second time. During the day, I often wished for a pen and paper to document my shifting thoughts and feelings. However, this morning I realize that one simply cannot capture this in written or spoken word. It's an experience of self-discovery, self-awareness, and insight that cannot truly be understood by anyone until he or she has gone through the process. 

 Photo by Shell Fischer
During my meditation walk, I decided to walk along the trail in the woods.  We were told to not wander off far so that we could hear the Tibetan singing bowl. I started my walk with feeling my breath and how each part of my body felt while walking. Then I noticed the heart shaped leaves on the redbud trees, the smell of the earth, which evoked a good memory of my grandfather when he took me hiking on Ruffner Mountain
Ruffner Mountain
I started to feel a bit anxious and wasn’t sure how long I had been walking, and I started to worry that I might get lost.  Yet, I brought myself back to my breath and said inwardly, it is ok to go a bit further. 

I am so glad I did, as I turned the corner, a large amount of wild ripe blackberries were in view. I stopped and examined a few. Then picked one and ate it. It was the best tasting blackberry, I believe I have ever had! As I turned around, I saw a clump of white daisies. The sun was filtering through the trees just right to enhance the colors. The inner yellow reminded me of my own light that I carry. How it can be enhanced or dulled.

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."  Marcel Proust

I continued to walk and the path completely turned to moss. I have never seen this before, so I slipped off my sandals and walked on it. It wasn’t wet and spongy at all but it was a dry tickle. I felt joy. The moss had a flexibility, it could be compressed without damage as I walked on it. Again, this brought personal insight.  I walked a little further and crossed a stream bed of dry dead sticks. The sound of each crunch, crackle, and break reminded me of how I can hold on to anger, fear, hurt, resentment, pain or ill will that causes suffering – everything arises and everything passes away. 

 Photo by Shell Fischer
It was at this point that I felt release and I watered the trail a bit with my tears. That too was ok. It was now the time to turn around and walk back to the meditation hall. As I approached the long red side of the building, the familiar ring of the Tibetan bell brought me home. I wasn’t late, lost, fixing, or attempting to change anything. I just was being in the moment. I understood that “Now” is a feeling, a sensation, a presence that is tangible if you slow down long enough to feel it. I am reminded of the great words of Eckhart Tolle, 

“All you really need to do is accept this moment fully. You are then at ease in the here and now and at ease with yourself.”
Photo by Shell Fischer
Today, right now, at this moment,
 I am mindful! 


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