In two days I’ll be heading west for a six-week Sahavas, a spiritual retreat. It’s not the kind of retreat where beautiful specimens of humanity drop grapes into your mouth, soak your feet in exotic scents, melt your muscles in a hot stone massage, and wrap you in lusciously soft bath sheets steeped in soothing essential oils while you focus on all the wonderful things in life you deserve.
It’s not the kind of retreat where creature comforts are provided in luxurious elegance: 900 count sheets, fine gourmet foods served at your whim, multiple spas, games and myriad other forms of entertainment awaiting your command.
Nope. This is the kind of retreat where dust prevails. It’s in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The temperatures can be surprisingly cold, as in hailing; and wet, as in a weekend of torrential rain – both unlikely but have happened. On bone-dry windy days you know what it would feel like to be dropped into fine cornmeal before frying, especially when you are covered in the grease of sweat brought on by scathing heat. If you’re not accustomed to heat and it’s 108 degrees F, you might wonder how life could possibly continue. But, thank heaven, you’re lucky enough to just miss the paths of a thousand spontaneous forest fires begun by heat lightning!
This is the kind of retreat where 6 will share one small, dated bathroom. But that will be a fortunate luxury in comparison to the great many campers who make due with portapotties and one flush toilet. More important, it’s the kind of retreat where instead of focusing on worldly activities and acquisitions the focus is on silent listening to the internal communication with God.
An atmosphere prevails that words alone cannot describe; it is something to be experienced. It comes quietly, as if it has always been there (which it has, but the doors and windows were never so open before.) One moment you’re hurrying to complete a necessary task (there’s a small group of volunteers who take care of the tasks.) And in another moment you realize something big just shifted. It might occur all at once in a nanosecond, or over time. But there it is.
It is an atmosphere of Love that, at times, has filled me in such a way that nothing was wanting, and I wanted nothing. There was only the completeness of the timeless present, in the timeless Silence of God’s presence. This marks a sharp contrast to my normal limited personality-self. And I begin to see what inner patches of mine need weeding or healing.
Last year I left with a couple of major themes, mostly about following the heart and not second-guessing it. And another that was more difficult to grasp: Truth goes beyond right and wrong. To a mind that is quick to analyze, that was a stunning concept. I had some silent conversations with God over it. I’ve come to realize it is not a concept. It goes beyond concepts.
Concepts, ideologies, cause families to fight over points of view and keep nations at war. This statement tells me Truth goes beyond opposite opinions. What a challenge to find the place within that can let go of attachment to being on the right side, in order to uncover something greater than either side.
I look forward to this internal, six-week journey. I will try to post here at Moving from the Inside Out during that time, but I’m not making any promises. Let us see what happens! May your life journey be intoxicated by the divine wine of life: the silent gift of infinite, unconditional Love.
Question for You: What fills your heart and soul?