Meditation retreat, second one. 5 days silent meditation.
My first 10-day meditation retreat was in Mexico in January 2015 and it was a surprisingly beautiful experience. Unfortunately, I have not succeeded, as recommended, to meditate every morning and generally I have found no access to deep meditation on my own again. Back in Germany, I decided quite quickly, I have to join another retreat. Sahjananda, my teacher in Mexico, leads a retreat in Romania every summer at the Kamala Yoga and Meditation Center, so I signed up and planned a little trip to places near the retreat. Since my sister would accompany me, we decided to make only 5 of the 10 days and also travel in Romania.
The yoga center in Romania is beautifully rural in the village San Petru and we were received super friendly and even met some familiar faces from Mexico. The garden and the surroundings invite you to relax and walk, so we spend the first day with an information hour and lots of talking. The staff are super nice and cook for us lovingly.
From the next day on, only silence for 5 days, no eye contact and no books or technological devices. I know a lot of content from the last retreat, but that does not matter, on the contrary – now I have much more understanding, can follow from the beginning and understand more deeply. Sahaja emphasizes, “We pay attention to our thoughts and emotions most of the time, but they are in a space of silence. Let’s switch now and concentrate on the silence that surrounds everything. ” But it is not a matter of believing in what he tells us about nonduality and yogic philosophy. “There is no theory, no faith, only direct knowledge through experience.” So we spend the first day watching our thoughts and the breaks of silence in between. I personally have to arrive fully first and try to again get an access to meditation. It’s all much easier than last time, I manage to concentrate on the counting method over long periods, have no resistance in me and can relax more. In the evening we do a guided meditation and after that I have my first moment full of ease and pure silence. Nevertheless the day was exhausting and I push myself too hard…
Day 2 begins for me with a beautiful meditation right at the beginning, but later I am tired and wandering in my mind again and again. After the yoga am then however again properly sunk in the deep rest. How I feel about it: grounded, quiet, no doubt, without weight, hardly any pain, everything looks clear and beautiful. Also in the evening I have a wonderful meditation, am completely sunk about where our chest is, feel weightless and far away from my body. Sahaja says, “The heart is the only muscle in the body that is driven by its own nervous system and not by the brain. It is worth meditating to feel this region.” In the first retreat I was usually tired and annoyed in the evening, this time I can last longer.
On the third day, the Hridaya Hatha Yoga is the main theme, this style of Yoga was developed by Sahaja to prepare the body for meditation and also to practice Hatha Yoga, to focus attention on the body and especially the heart region. Sahaja speaks of Buddha’s body – no tension, no memory of trauma, the body like that of a baby, like waking up in the morning. The Yoga practice after this lesson goes deeply for me, in Shavasana, the relaxation after yoga, I feel my body only in the form of light. After I was struggling to meditate in the morning, after the Yoga it is like a lasting feeling of ecstasy, I wonder whether Sahaja is helping us or if I could do this on my own. Even in the afternoon and in the evening I still profit from it and the whole day like in a trance. Everything has already slowed down, I see all colors intensively bright and feel dreamlike.
Sahaja gives us some practical tips on meditation on the fourth day: According to Meister Klein, the frontal brain produces our thoughts in the forehead and it does nothing to suppress them, so we feed them most of the time. However, if we relax this area and first locate ourselves in the cerebellum at the lower part of the head, our attention will automatically go down into the heart. This experience I have already practiced in the first retreat and it works again now. At the same time, his tips from the Tao help me to relax my eyes and brain more and more. I get my period that day and am a bit tense because of that. Nevertheless, I meditate in the morning deep and long. Gradually I notice how a hum grows in my head and then, despite a lot of relaxation, becomes a strong pain. Unfortunately, I can’t get myself out of this hole with meditation and take a tablet, whose effect I then watched intently in peace. When the pain returns in the afternoon, I lie down briefly on the back in meditation, this is not allowed and I am asked to sit down again. At that moment a wave of self-compassion and resistance Comes over me and I cannot stops some tears. After a few minutes, I feel much better and try to meditate. This time again, pain led me to my limits and then brought on. In the evening we practice the prayer of Jesus and it leads me to deep bliss, it is even difficult to stop. I am surprised, the last time I was hardly willing to practice this Christian prayer at all.
Already the last day is there, I am almost sad but at the same time I have always run away thoughts and have the feeling that 5 days are enough. In the morning I have mixed emotions, but generally I am satisfied, I am exhausted and have my days. In the afternoon of the long meditation I use some of the techniques from the last days and let go deeper and deeper. After about an hour I am so deeply sunk (using earplugs and blindfold) and I am totally disorientated. I do not feel my body anymore, not even my breath. I am confused and have the feeling to be pulled further and further upward. Astonishment and anxiety mingle, I at least want to feel my hands and my breathing again! Everything feels good, but I am concerned that the body is no longer breathing. Finally, I move and return, my hands are hot and knotted, everything is warm, like after a deep sleep.
Shortly thereafter is our final talk, it is difficult for me to speak again and I am sad and happy at the same time. We are leaving. As a few hours later, a man on the street wants to take off my mobile phone, I have unimaginable powers, defend myself and win, he is much stronger than me and runs away in the end.
This retreat was again a physical and mental challenge for me, even if it was only 5 days. Nevertheless, my progress compared to the first time was enormous and everything went much, much deeper. The moments outside my body I can not classify until today, but they show me that there is still so much more than just my head and thoughts. Before I was persuaded to meditate, I was atheist and constructivist, pragmatic and rational. I wanted to optimize myself and my life, to learn as much as possible and to have fun, with a positive attitude to life. Most of the things that brought me great pleasure were external experiences like sports, traveling, crazy activities, friends, drugs, etc. But the deepest joy I have now definitely felt in meditating without any external influences. Although after the first retreat I was not able to meditate alone for myself, but this has changed after the second retreat: I gradually started meditating regularly in the morning (often with guided meditations from the Internet) and it is getting easier day by day. Being in silence and joy – it is great to start with such moments in the day. Of course, I also have my depths and difficulties, but generally I can say: meditating is addictive and improves general happiness.
Retreats with Sahaja in Romania http://centrul.kamala.ro/english-announcements/
In Mexico, monthly retreats take place http://www.hridaya-yoga.com/ There is a Karma Yoga program, where you can exchange volunteering for retreat.
Did you write about meditation or retreat experiences? I would love to read more about it!