Last week I stumbled upon some stories of people that had taken a so-called re-trait. Just a few days away from work and family for a weekend of spiritual rest and relaxation. You also could go to a warm and sunny holiday – destination along the Mediterranean but, no a re-trait is something with a more deeper meaning than some profound beach-relaxation. Often the advertising words are ‘ silence ‘ and ‘ serene ‘ with the hope to uncover some long forgotten parts of yourself. But more often silence, quietness, inner-peace, are words included as beneficial parts of the journey to get to know your true self. True, or still perhaps a stubborn Identification with silence and inner-peace?
Q: I have done quite a few re-traits in wonderful ashrams. On that spots I did a lot of meditation and yoga. For a long time for me meditating within the boundaries of a group with the same interest was an important part of my process to self-realisation. What is your opinion about it?
A: If this is part of your life, and you enjoy the relaxation, just to be able to handle modern busy life, I would say: give it a try. Why not!
Q: And the meditation, yoga, mantra-singing?
A: I know where you want to trick me into but, I am sorry, I am not rejecting what you prefer to do in life. When it comes to relaxation, it just can be wonderful to visit these spiritual re-traits. I mention spiritual, because that is often the context of these breaks from daily life. But what is really your question?
Q: I have a few hesitations…I..
A: Hold on, I know. I have been doing enough meditation myself, years ago. I even have done Yoga with my western body, and that all at very silent peaceful places. I can tell you, I became very relaxed and I loved to do it, but as in a part of my road to self-realisation, it has brought me not what I was hoping for.
I give you a little exercise. During the next weeks, three times a day at 9.00, 14.00 and 19.00, where ever and with whom you are, you hold with everything you do. At that moment, and it doesn’t matter where you are, on your work, at the mall, in your house, the car, you stop the clock ticking. For a short period you just observe: what do you see, is it a silent beach or the platform of a crowded subway-station? What are the thoughts that are passing by and how do you feel? Are you with company or alone. Were you in a conversation or just listening to music? Are you jogging or, sitting on the coach, having sex (yes, even then), or whatever comes to you. Include everything. The good and the bad. When you were in a bad mood, just experience that. Don’t change the impulse.
And don’t close your eyes. Leave them open. What you see, smell, touch, feel, taste, think, include everything and than take in the one that is watching all this. The observer is always part of the observation. Therefore the observer is the observation and that what is being observed at the same time. Yes at the same time, because don’t forget to include the idea of time. This is the moment, everything and all.
When some sort of activity comes up, include it also. Go on with observing without interfering as long as you like. Now within all this, the realisation will be there that this is it. This and all there is, is what you are and only exists because you are all this and you have invited it to be. This is beyond silence and peace. It includes everything and all.
After a while you realise that the one observing the observer and that what is being observed never leaves. It is always there. I am alive.