If you’re like me, you’re probably busy. Sometimes, to get away from it all, I give myself the pleasure of attending a silence retreat. If you’d like to do the same, Hym-LA is sponsoring our annual silence retreat over the weekend of October 13-15, 2017. I’ll be leading it along with Silvia Baratta and it will be at the Questhaven Retreat in San Diego County. This is a chance to let your mind calm down and to renew your energy with meditation, daily hatha yoga, walks in nature, delicious food and the best company. Interested? You can contact me for further information.
Here’s an article I wrote after Hym-LA’s first silence retreat at Questhaven in 2013. It gives an idea of what a pleasure silence can be.
I’d almost forgotten how delightful silence feels. This past weekend, Swami Ritavan Bharati, an advanced teacher in the Himalayan Yoga Meditation Tradition, came for a visit. He is in the midst of a three-year vow, in which he maintains silence Monday through Thursday of each week. On weekends, he talks so that he can teach. The practice of Silence doesn’t just mean having silence of the mouth, but, more importantly, it means silence of the mind. So, he’s very quiet!
I picked Swami Ritavan up at LAX Airport on Thursday afternoon. As I drove him to my house, I not only experienced, but felt, his silence, which filled me like warm water. During our drive and that evening, I spoke to him and he responded by writing on a tablet that was like an electronic chalkboard. We didn’t communicate much; I tried to keep the interactions to the essentials to respect his silence.
On Friday, a speaking day for him, we had very pleasant conversations both in the morning at breakfast, and with two others who rode with us to a beautiful retreat center in San Diego, where Swami Ritavan was to lead a weekend silent meditation retreat.
Eighteen people were at the retreat, hungry to still their minds and hearts in the practice of silence, and they were not disappointed. Swami Ritavan led the group into a sweet and pleasant stillness through several guided meditations and relaxations. Valerie Reeves led the participants in contemplative walking and digestive breathing, and I offered a practicum on sitting for meditation, and talks on self-dialogue as a spiritual practice and the Yoga of Emotions.
The retreat was filled with warmth and smiles. In addition, the participants were treated to delicious and healthful vegan meals lovingly prepared by Tahirih Linz of La Jolla, CA.
Sunday afternoon the retreat finished with expressions of deep appreciation for the experience and learning all had gained.
On Monday, I had the good fortune to take Swami Ritavan, who was then was back in silence, to the Huntington Library and Gardens for an outing. Being with him, within his aura of silence, in the natural beauty of the Japanese and Chinese gardens at the Huntington, was deeply calming.
Swami Ritavan boarded a plane Tuesday morning, leaving behind a soothing residue of silence in my mind, and no doubt in the minds of those who attended the retreat. Many at the retreat expressed a desire to do another silence retreat soon.