How is it Now?
This summer I practiced in my first silent meditation retreat. It was 5 days of complete silence, solitude and introspection. There was amazing beauty in 40 individuals going about the day in synchronicity and also in independence without the use of words to connect us.
I must admit, the silence was a surprising challenge for me. I consider myself more of an introvert already, and rhythmically in tune with a practitioner’s lifestyle. My daily morning practice already consists of 2 and half hours of yoga and meditation and I didnt think, not speaking or engaging in communication with the outside world would be much of a struggle. I was wrong.
The second evening I found myself in the throes of a full on internal panic attack. I was anxious, restless, and also terrified. The reason was unknown at first, on a rational level I had no reason to be worried about anything. But this is the magic of these silent retreats. We are reminded to turn towards these emotions with a curiosity, and if that isn’t available just hold them in the objective awareness while anchoring the attention in something supportive, stay in the moment one breath at a time. A question we can ask every moment is “How is it Now” and begin to recognize the value in “being with” whatever arises and also the truth that everything is impermanent. It is in this being with our own difficult emotions that stretch our capacity for empathy, love and connection.
What I learned through this time is that no amount of consuming, controlling, or responding to information and external circumstances will bring the peace in the heart that staying with yourself and your inner world provides. This knowing, and continuous practice looking in, is a precious gift that I continue to offer gratitude for and inspired and honored to share.
Thank you for your courage and commitment to practice with us every day. You all are the anchors for this community that allow us to grow deeper in our commitment and compassion to ourselves and eachother.
With love & respect,