Summer Retreat And Find That Something Beyond Words
By Zoltan Tasi
By Bruce Davis, Ph.D.
Many people are learning the wisdom to take time off and disconnect from everything that has attached itself to body, mind, and soul. Once away from it all, it's amazing to witness how many people, gadgets, all the stuff of modern living that has somehow attached itself to life, our life! We quickly see all the necessities that are not so necessary. Disconnecting from all our machines, we can connect to what is important. Nature and our own gentle heart are just the beginning. Life does not have to be so complicated. With less of the baggage carried around, we find ourselves available for an inner journey with big rewards. One brief summer retreat can be a gift, opening a place inside that is beyond words. There is another world, found within us, that is a life-changing journey.
Actually taking time away and not just thinking about it is the first step in the adventure. One step then another, and we are lightening the load that so easily attaches and overwhelms. Stepping further into retreat we find the mystery of an inner landscape. Here there is a new vista of who we really are. Our inner life is calling. On retreat, without the distractions and temptations pulling us, our worldly self is finding another self. Letting go and here is our no self. There is an identity that is not complicated, vast, and full of understanding. This is the part of us that is neither looking ahead or behind but is simply home. Going on retreat and there is this experience of finally arriving. We breathe! There is a place inside seemingly saying, "Welcome!"
Retreat time is more than relaxation, although this too is important in our doing, doing, constantly being asked what are you doing world. Yes, life is worthwhile simply being. The peace and quiet of retreat clears away a lot of the noise including the inner and outer voices judging, worrying, planning which stick in mind and body. The clouds of so much thought cover the sunshine of our soul. Some days in silence and we have a fresh spirit. We break through the storms of life and look into the big clear sky. This is when the real retreat begins.
Generosity: We usually think of generosity as something we offer to others. But when we learn to recognize the generosity of the moment, we find a givingness for ourselves and life itself. On retreat we can learn the generosity of the moment. This is a teaching. Life is much more than everything we should, have to, or supposed to do. Generosity of the moment begins in the small things like watching a hawk in flight, receiving deeply the friend we are visiting, and yes an extra scoop of ice cream on a hot day. With practice learning generosity of the moment is a beautiful practice of feeling and nurturing the heart of this moment and into the next. Generosity is another pace of living. As we give our attention to being present, we find a generosity that frees past suffering and future concern. Generosity of the moment yields patience, clarity, inner peace. Generosity is letting our awareness be in the stillness of the heart, soaking thoroughly in life's riches.
Solitude: As we take advantage of time alone on retreat we find a wholeness that continues in every other part of life. Normally, the temptation in time alone is to be busy doing, have something turned on, or be thinking about someone or someplace other than where we are. Retreat time and we welcome solitude. There is a special wholeness of being, here, now. The presence and well being of our own company is a gift to keep on opening. Later when life wants to push and pull us in all kinds of directions, we are more stable and purposeful. Time of solitude makes us more whole in all of our relationships. We can more easily let go of that which really doesn't give joy and affirm what has true value. The solitude of retreat deepens us as we explore the world of generosity of the moment. Inner worlds are beckoning.
Well of Being: Normally our well of being is buried under the details of just living. In retreat we can breathe, meditate, and feel the presence of our soft heart. Here we discover our well of being. Our well of being is pure and true no matter what the circumstances of the world around us. As we develop awareness of our well of being we have so much more room to live. We have inner room. We think less and simply are more. To live out of our well of being is to be less reactive and more creative with each moment. Our well of being is love. Retreat is our time to be explore the sanctuary which the world normally does not see or touch within us. Our inner sanctuary is holy, sacred, our home, all the words we normally would not say out loud to others.
Innocence: The most special quality of our inner sanctuary is innocence. From the perspective of our well of being, we realize most of our difficulty is just our reaction and the reaction of others, trying to get through each day. It is not really who we are. From our well of being, we have endless space to be creative with our daily world. Who we are is our well of being, the love inside. This love is our trust, beauty, everything good about ourselves and life. This is the place within us that is forever innocent. Our retreat meditation takes us underneath the river of busy thought. We find the fresh water, our well of being, the ocean within. All the clutter on the surface, the busy mind, is cleansed. Retreat is giving ourselves permission to enjoy simple peace, golden quiet. There is a place in each of us that is noble. Life grows in joy as we absorb our innocence, buried but never completely gone. Generosity of the moment and our well of being are coming together in a marriage of limitless innocence.
Simplicity: As our awareness disconnects with the busy world and reconnects to our heart, we naturally want more simplicity in daily life. Where before we thought life has to be complicated and the answers we seek are some distance in the future, now we discover how much is given in this moment. If we have a choice, why would we make decisions which make life more difficult? With the generosity of the moment, solitude, our well of being, innocence, and simplicity, we realize we have a whole new group of friends! Each are reminding us, why look for something far away when there is so much present within and around us? This mystery unfolds realms that only the journey itself can explain. There is a shamanic saying that the answer to life's questions are always within three feet. And this saying predates the existence of the Internet. Our retreat friends are reminding us to look within for the love we seek, to offer the peace we want, and find gratitude for life's perfect shelter. These friends are excited returning to the daily world with us and seeing what magic together we can create. Summer time, its time for retreat. We disconnect to reconnect to something very big yet simple, something profound and ordinary, an experience too true for words.