It's such a deep privilege to serve our meditation retreats and the New Year's Retreat always has a particular potency. For the participants it's a time of stepping away from the intensity of modern life to immerse into silence, sitting and walking meditation, mindful movement and contemplation. The instructions are pretty simple: relax and pay attention.
This year, instead of individual interviews during the week, we had group interviews of about eight participants. For a about an hour twice during the retreat each participant gathers with a teacher and a small group to name what's challenging, what's unusual and what's opening up inside.
These sessions are also a time of 'deep listening,' to not just to share your experience but to be informed by others naming the landscape of what's arising.
Despite the social silence, this was a deeply shared experience. We were in this together.
Retreats are incredibly busy time for us who serve them. Each day I led three mindful movement sessions, facilitated a group interview and met with individuals. I also gave an evening talk on the Five Hindrances, which I'll have up on my podcast soon.
Despite have a day that starts with a 5:30 wake up bell and ending at 9:30 after the final meditation, the sincerity of each participant kept my inspiration and energy level flying.
If you ever have the chance to step away from your busy life for a meditation retreat, please consider working it into your year ahead. For me, retreats are one of the best investments I can make.
I like to think of them as a time when 'we are alone together.'
Check out IMCW's site for the schedule for 2012 and beyond.