‘Going Deeper’ is a focused Meditation Retreat at the Mount Madonna Center that begins for us today. Officially it began on Friday night but we were uprooted from the full experience by full paying customers who registered last minute. I was quite disappointed, but am grateful to at least experience part of the process. What exactly is this retreat, you might ask?
A small group of around 25 participants are set in seclusion for 4 days, embarking on a personal journey that invokes a deeper level of meditation and purification practice. To help calm the mind and allow it to turn inward, the staff incorporate a light diet of pure foods alongside a variety of purification practices, an observance of silence, and a meditative cave-like atmosphere of seclusion, all designed for inner reflection. A number of hours each morning and afternoon will be devoted to prescribed meditations, breathing exercises (Pranayama) and practice of asana in the tradition of Ashtanga Yoga as taught by Baba Hari Dass. Time for reflection and study, spiritual stories, rituals, chanting of mantra and other devotional practices are also part of this special retreat.
Wow, what an incredibly long past week this have been. A 9 day silent meditation retreat with Adyashanti was held in the main conference center and throughout the grounds of Mount Madonna. In this retreat, 250 people remained silent for the duration of their stay. For those of us volunteering with the YSC program, it meant really crazy busy long shifts that had us hustling beyond our scheduled format. Whether it be cleaning dishes, preparing food in the kitchen (3 delicious vegetarian hot meals daily), cleaning the bustling bathrooms, monitoring the mealtimes, replacing food items, clearing up messes or catering to the needs of 250 people, we were all moving at animated speeds, organized by a crew who were very familiar with attending to such large group numbers. Yes indeed, it was an extensive week of bustling non-spoken mix of chaotic energies. And today the retreat’s group broke their silence, had a final lunch break and vacated the mountain as quickly as they had come.
To think that I was tired before their arrival :)! The reprieve in our workload for this upcoming week is most welcome and needed. Until the next group of 150 descends for 12 days, starting all over again next week. It’s ultimately a dance of hustle and flow, in which I do my best to find an equanimous balance for self-growth and nurturing whilst aiding in the spiritual enlightenment of others.