Golden Light Retreat
As I sit at my laptop writing this, my mind is wondering how to start in giving an account of such a remarkable weekend. I’m looking at the group photo from the retreat and as I do so, the wondering is dissolving and my mind is going quiet, and as always happens in theses situations, my fingers begin to type. Excuse me if I’m rambling but I’ve been struggling with this for a couple of days and now it’s flowing, I simply can’t stop!!
Have a good look at the photo, take a really good look. Make yourself present and see what you feel. Can you feel the energy they are radiating? Feel the energy in your body and see if you can feel what they are giving off. It’s a picture taken at the end of the retreat and the group have emerged fresh from the energy work and they simply radiate presence, I swear I can see a glow around them. Just looking at the photo sets me off again and it’s as much as I can do to hold myself still with the excitement.
I sensed that we were in for an interesting weekend when I saw the names as the bookings came in. Quite a number of people at the retreat are already well on their way with the practice, they have either been on one of our Mindful in a Month courses or been practicing independently for a while, and two of our guests have been doing one to one mindful coaching sessions with me for a couple of years. Others were complete beginners but in no way out of place. On the contrary, some of the beginners had the most profound shifts of the weekend.
When I talk about a shift I’m referring to a sudden realisation, a shift in awareness. Seeing something clearly that had previously been unseen. It may be a momentary realisation of your true self or an uncanny clarity regarding a life situation or some aspect of your personal conditioning, or most amazing of all, a sudden full and overwhelming appreciation of the beauty of creation. These little glimpses of enlightenment seldom last long, but they always represent a major deepening of awareness and further accelerate our movement into full consciousness.
On the subject of life changing realisations, I feel I need to offer some explanation to our guests for the events of Saturday morning. We started the retreat with a 40 minute Mindful meditation, which is a very long time to sit and meditate, particularly for beginners, but it does put you in a quiet mind space and provides the perfect inner environment for the rest of the weekend to “sink in”. But it also had the effect of “priming the pump” so to speak with one of our guests and after the meditation as I was sitting outside talking to him and demonstrating a breath work technique, he had a spontaneous awakening right in front of my eyes. Bang…. He saw the full glory of existence and realised it as himself.
An experience like that can spin you out for a while and trying to articulate it is impossible. He was a bit off the wall for a while, and I apologise to our other guests for any alarm caused. He’s a lovely bloke with a big heart and when all that starts pouring out it’s completely overwhelming. When it happened to me all those years ago, it was a couple of weeks before I came back down to earth again, so he did remarkable well to compose himself before then end of the retreat. He’ll calm down soon enough, but an experience like that changes you in the most profound and beautiful way and there needs to be a period of adjustment.
Several people at previous retreats have experienced major shifts in awareness but none as profound as this, and it was only 2 hours into the weekend ! I sensed it was an indication of what’s to come.
We survived the rain on Saturday and after another mindful lunch lovingly prepared by Tonia, the weather cleared up just in time for Jason to take our guests outside for his lesson on “the way of the body” . By then the Sanctuary had worked its magic on everyone. Work, problems and the world outside was gone from their minds and our guests were all rested in the present moment.
An introduction to Chi energy, the inner body and energy work was followed by a beautiful evening by the campfire. The rain held off until a few spots at 11.30pm reminded us it was time for bed.
Sunday is the more challenging of the two days because we go deeply into the body and engage directly with emotions. We started with some Chi Gong to get the energy flowing and to reconnect to the body, before a mindful breakfast.
With the weather now brightening up we took advantage of the sun and sat under the willow for the teaching intensive. We explored emotions, the connection between thinking and feeling, how the painbody is formed and most importantly how to effectively deal with emotional pain in the moment. We practised the mindful technique of “sitting with pain” and our guests learned how to dissolve painful emotions within the body and thereby promoting right action rather than unconscious reaction and bring an end to the cycle of pain. This is the key to self-mastery and the key to creating a more conscious world.
Most of our guests were keen to have a go at the emotional clearing breath work, which for many is the highlight of the weekend. We’ve had lots of people book to join us who came on retreat last year mainly because they want to have another go at this powerful meditation session. I’ve seen some mad things happen in these sessions before but nothing quite like his one. At least 5 or 6 guests in the group experience profound shifts in awareness and everyone was able to hold themselves in a very deep state of presence for the full 90 minutes (which is amazing considering that only a day earlier many of them had no idea that awareness even existed). It’s quite exhausting but incredibly cathartic and many of our guests liberated themselves from years of repressed emotional pain. As the painful emotions clear within the energy field of the body you’ll frequently experience incredible highs, the most amazing euphoric rushes and profound feeling of peace or love. It’s a very moving experience not just for those doing the meditation but also for us helping. There is no deeper love than feeling the rawness of another's suffering and it is a rare privilege to be able to help people through the process of liberation. Jason and I were completely exhausted at the end of it but the sense of peace is still really profound as I write this 4 days later.
Thank you everyone who came for the weekend, thank you for you lovely comments and feedback, I know that you’ll take what you’ve learned and use it to transform your selves and the world around you. What greater fulfillment can there be?
I’ve uploaded some of the photos of the weekend to our Flickr page and if any of our guest would like a copy, let me know and I'll email you one.