I have not sent out a newsletter or taught classes for some time. I am excited to resume these things again after taking some time to sit with myself. It has been a time of change. One of the ways I have navigated these changes is by going to silent meditation retreats. I prefer retreats facilitated by Adyashanti as his form of meditation is really effective for me. The most recent one I attended was
at Lake Tahoe last month at the Granlibaaken Resort.
When you first arrive at retreat, register, and go to dinner, you are able to talk to people. I got to talk with a few people that I saw in previous retreats. Meeting people that you quietly pass in the hallway or silently eat with them is a very unique way to meet someone. It find it fascinating to talk to them after retreat, or before another, in order to experience what they are like in conversation. Most times, they are not like I imagined them to be.
After Adyashanti's (or Adya's) introductory Sunday evening talk, we went into silence. I made a cup of chamomile tea and migrated back to my room. I was tired from putting my life in order before I left for retreat. I saw that my roommate (that I had never met) had arrived, and I silently hoped that he did not snore or otherwise become an enemy of sleep. Sleep is precious to me at retreat. He turned out to be a great roommate for which I am very grateful.
I volunteered to be the door monitor for the first half of the retreat. I rang the bell alerting people that we were going to meditate or listen to an Adya talk. Passing the door monitor torch to Evan halfway through the retreat involved exchanging exchanging a few words in an otherwise silent retreat. He commented how much he appreciated my "presence" as the door monitor. That is odd, I thought, he is appreciating me without me even saying anything. Hmmm.
I found the evening satsangs- where Adya answers people's questions especially powerful for me during this retreat. I was drawn to Adya's practice of self-inquiry. He claimed that our everyday, "garden-variety" awareness or attention is what we actually are. He said the ego is always trying to take the focus off attention, because our attention is not ego, but what we are. Hmmm again (there were lots). I decided to integrate the self-inquiry practice of asking, "What am I that is experiencing this?" into my walk through life.
After five days of silence, meditation, and talks, it was Friday- the day we would come out of retreat. I unintentionally woke up early at 4:30 am so I did couple of meditations before the scheduled meditation at 7:30am (what else was I going to do?). When retreat ended, I was excited to connect with some of the cool people that I had been sitting with all week. I was very pleased to get to talk to Alice, Randy, Mark, Rick, and Amy. The place was buzzing from the sounds of people that had not talked for five days.
On my drive home from Lake Tahoe back to Bend, I adjusted to the idea of returning to my life. There were many new things to unfold from all the changes in my life. I felt subtly more grounded and at peace- and ready. I knew I would sleep well that night.
FYI: I am currently doing a couple meditation retreats a year, so if you ever want to join me for one, let me know. The next one I am doing is a 5-day retreat from February 17-22, 2019 at Mount Madonna in Watsonville, California. You can get more information about Adyashanti retreats at: http://www.adyashanti.org/index.php?file=retreats
About the Author
I, Michael Hoffman, am a licensed psychotherapist, teacher, and author with 25 years experience in counseling and teaching experiential workshops. I have maintained this blog since 2009 and will publish my second book Natural Way of Being in 2018.
I offer in-person and video-conferencing counseling, intensive workshops, and online courses to allow participants to directly experience their natural way of being and the life they would have for themselves.