After a decade going to spiritual and meditation retreats, they are not exactly a novelty to me—unless you bear in mind that no retreat is the same. However, I felt like a newbie at the last silent retreat with my Master. It was the first time I spent fifteen days wholeheartedly immersed in the experience of being in silence. In other words: It was my first time totally dedicated to listening, reading, figuring out myself. It was my first time exploring a cave: my heart. My unlearning of certain things was the missing key to open the padlock protecting access to my unconscious, to tearing down walls and finding the false bottom hiding important truths.
Perhaps you, as I myself did before, might think: “I’ve done it! Spent a couple of days in silence.” Or even: “I spend the day basically by myself and thus remain in silence”. Okay. But have you ever really been silent?
The first day at a retreat where you have already been and with people you have met before is mostly touching base. Between hugs, laughs, and sharing we all recognized on each other the friend we haven’t seen for almost six months. Some came with startling news, others were like “Ah! Same old same old.” While those hours passed we got prepared to dive into silence.
When the mountains still blocked the sunbeams we were all rise and shine in the temple, meditating. Dynamically. Following guidelines Osho left and our Living-Master’s advice, the group of over one-hundred Sannyasins—yours truly included—started breathing chaotically. No rhythm, no expectations, no rules, just feeling the air coming in and out our noses, burning our nostrils and cleaning all the way to and fro the lungs, feeling the heat and the cold of some good energy. When the music changed we could not help ourselves but scream. From the top of our lungs we screamed, we shouted words, we moved however the body made us in cathartic ten minutes of sending it all out. Then the music changed again to make us jump on both flat feet, arms up, letting out the mantra “Hoo,” until a strong voice warned: “Stop!” And just like kids playing we froze. In whatever position we found ourselves, we just stopped and remained there, watching, observing, feeling the waves going through our physical and subtle bodies. Letting go of the mind, which appreciates telling us we are tired and cannot remain in a position for so long. But we can! We can do it. Because we are in charge, and nothing is more important than feeling and following our hearts, just witnessing the power and energy of the moment. Until another music played and we just let our bodies loose, flowing in the rhythm like a bird cutting into the air, wings spread wide, no flapping, no worries, just being.
Followed by silent work meditation—for some it meant to rake the garden, for others to chop vegetables, and there are the ones cleaning up the restaurant and/or kitchen, just to mention some activities—, Kundalini Meditation, Chakra Breathing Meditation, and group gatherings to explore Bhagavan Sri Râmana Mahârshi’s golden question “Who am I?”, Osho’s Dynamic Meditation composed this well organized schedule which allowed us dive deep and fly high, silently searching for the truth. But none of those would work as well as they did without the most important event in the schedule: Satsangs. Sitting in silence, heart open, listening to our Guru is a must to spiritual growth, or awakening.
I find it amazing how we can learn from several readings available at any time, anywhere. There is no limit to gaining knowledge. However, being around a living Master makes the journey a pleasant walk in the meadow, no ifs, ands or buts about it. You just follow the steps, taking notice of the surroundings. And suddenly you realize that when there is nothing to say there is no need to speak. And most of the time, there is nothing to say. Life and Love completely permeate such relationship, which shake, awake, and move us. It nurtures something I like to think of as wings; but it also give us roots—we fly high and dive deep.
In fifteen days I unlearned everything society forced me into. It was like laying my finger on the delete key for days, and then looking into a mirror to find out I’m a blank page, to be written on now. There is only one moment I can write on that page: Now. There is only one moment I can read that page: Now. I am now.
I unlearned the face of my ego. I turned inside out. I cracked open the shell and touched the innermost part of my being. It seems like there is no way back, unless I get back to sleep. Because this time, I have really remained silent. It was not just about shutting up my mouth, but rather, focus was on silencing my mind or the voices not belonging to my heart; it was about “shushing” the ego.
I unlearned all the competition they make this life about, which shackles us to lies we end up living for the sake of an image we try hard to fit into the screen of a fictionalized world we are all—together—creating.
I unlearned the singular form and realized that thinking in terms of “the other” is segregating. It is past time we drop this splitter language and understand it is all about “we,” not “I + she/he.” But first, let’s make it about the self, not the ego—much less so about the selfie. First and foremost, populate yourself by your self. Drop the ego. Touch base with who you are, and Love who you are. Only then it will be possible to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”
I unlearned one of the cruelest lessons they have taught me: How to kill my first love, the Love I should have nurtured since day one in society, which is the love for my nature. Because there is no music more beautiful than the silence of nature, of my innocence, of my “child-good”. And it is in this space I have created—sacred and safe—that I can nurture Love for humanity, and compassion, and build understanding. That is the real sense of communalism. That is true Love. And it starts within, then it floods, touches and connects lives. We are all beings sharing existence.
Although in silence, I unlearned to be quiet and afraid. My voice is that coming from the silent space of my heart; it is my truth, my being. It does not come out only in words. Otherwise, it would be just nonsense. My voice is my action, absolutely in harmony with my thoughts. And I unlearned faith along with the meaning of God as they teach us. Because we are all and each “the entire ocean in a drop.” Whatever I do to my self, I do to the Universe, and vice-versa. I am whoever I am at the moment; but I am also the lives surrounding me, man and woman, sublime and grotesque, good and evil. I unlearned which would be my place in a box.
There is a God in me, in you, in all of us, which is our divine nature. We are all accountable for the lives we all—together— have been living. And the more we perpetuate killing the first love, the more we hold humanity miserable. It is in the plates of each one of us to change; or rather, to quit the game of suffering and accept freedom. We are born free. The more we listen to sounds from outside the more we miss what happens within. It is in real silence that we connect, with compassion, Love, respect, and care.
Peace, Love and Life for all,
You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop. rumi
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