Inner Silence

shutterstock_60166105I just completed a 5-day silent meditation retreat with spiritual teacher Adyashanti near Lake Tahoe. It was extremely well orchestrated and I recommend it to anyone looking to create a foundation for their meditation practice or experience the silence inside of them. It was more gentle than I thought it would be. There was much free time in the day to go hiking, relax under a tree, or sit in a hot tub. This space in the day seemed to allow me to give it my all during the meditations.

I found Adyashanti’s approach to meditation to be refreshing. He discourages participants from attempting to quiet their thoughts. He explains that thoughts tend to have a mind of their own and trying to stop them just creates a battle with your ego. Instead, he encourages participants to focus on the silence beyond their thoughts. This may seem like a subtle distinction, but I found it to make a huge difference in my meditations.

At first this relatively formless approach to meditation was difficult for me to grasp. But on the third day or so I was able to find a place inside that reminded me of the silence I had experienced in the Ponderosa Pine forest the previous evening.

Soon I was able to simultaneously be aware of both my thoughts and the silence. When my attention got hijacked by a thought, I would shift it back to the silence. This was a welcome change from my previous meditation experiences of trying to force my mind to be quiet.

But the biggest value that I received was getting enough meditation time under my belt to find a groove to continue in.  I now have a habit in the way I sit that I am used to it and comfortable with.

So doing my meditation before work this morning seemed quite natural. That is a welcome change for me.

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