When I moved up here from our funky ashram in Pennsylvania in 1983 I thought the building was either a prison or a hospital. Turns out it was something in between. After 23 years of total immersion, I now return five or six times a year to lead retreats and trainings. (Before we took it over, this facility was a Jesuit training center which they never filled, failing to anticipate the 1960's.)
The first program, "The Still Small Voice Within: Meditation, Focusing and Intuition Training," is five days of settling, sensing and inner listening. A big component of the program includes speaking and attempted to describe that which is just coming in awareness. Paying attention in the spirit of meditation means we become aware of things we were not aware of before. Describing our inner experience can help us clarify what's coming to the surface. Sensing, inner listening, speaking, deep listening, all in an environment of social silence, good people and a healing environment led to a wonderful sense of shared intimacy.
I then launched into "The Energy Intensive: Meditation, Yoga and Breathwork" with my fellow leader, Shobhan Richard Faulds. This was three days, starting at 6:00AM and ending at 9:00PM. While we explore social silence and 'settling practices' in this program we also move a lot of energy through movement, relaxation, meditation and breath. The practice here is raising both "prana" and "chitta," or energy and awareness. We do a powerful breathwork practice which releases deep-seated tensions and opens all kinds of new possibilities.
I'm always inspired by how quickly a group of strangers can come into a palpable sense of community.
On to Maine to visit my folks.