Update – One Week On

Thursday 23 August, 2018

Just over a week has gone by since the end of the silent retreat. Initially, I had wondered how long the effects would last. Given the previous post, it’s no surprise to report that the effects are still there. The intensity from the silence and the satsangs has understandably dropped off a little, but there is a fundamental change to how I feel. And it’s building momentum. It is precisely as Mooji had said: The more you are with the is-ness, the more it will draw you in.

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It’s A Game Changer

Wednesday 22 August, 2018

There was a definite shift during the retreat. I can’t say it happened in an instant, but it happened early on. It grew out of the experience of The Invitation, deepening each day. I saw clearly how being able to drop the identity and rest so effortlessly in the is-ness, meant two things. Firstly, I no longer had to be the person I had worked so hard to be (despite my attachment to it). This alone was a liberating insight. As with every other breakthrough from the retreat, the shift came from experiencing it. This anchors the insight in a way not possible through mere cognition. (See also ‘We Are The Sum Total Of Our Experience’.)

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The Silence Was Beautiful

Tuesday 21 August, 2018

Before leaving for the retreat, I reasoned that the silence might take a day or two to get used to. How wrong I was. Even in my initial distraction on that first afternoon, I felt as though I had come home. Nobody talking, no eye contact, no communication of any kind. Just silence and an inward focus. I can only imagine the number and depth of insights experienced by people during those days. All made possible by the silence. It was beautiful, and at times it took my breath away.

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Effortless & Empty

Monday 20 August, 2018

After the challenge from the previous day, day four felt more normal as I became increasingly familiar with the state of pure awareness (or is-ness). I was never there for extended periods, and I felt no exultation, but in the calmness there was peace. And some relief. The excitement of the previous days had subsided. What remained was the space to be able to rest in a new way of being and to recognise the mind at work in subtler ways.

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Observing From The Is-ness

Saturday 18 August, 2018

Day three began with doubt and ended with laughter. The laughter had a purity to it. It arose in the lottery queue for the evening Satsang, as 900 people stood in 15 lines waiting for lots to be drawn. Those lots determined in which order we would file into the hall. It started at the back of the block and spread in gentle waves throughout the silent crowd. Mooji had referred to someone’s joyful laughter the previous evening, saying, ‘There is no way that this laughter comes from the mind’. So maybe what I was hearing from myself and the pockets of people around me, was the sound of the is-ness. In any case, it was a very different feeling to how the day had begun.

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The Mandala Of Personhood

Friday 17 August, 2018

The first thought when I woke up on day two, was a realisation that I am attached to my identity. Just as with the previous day’s insight – everything is a distraction – this is not a new idea. As the sunrise shone through the open window, I lay in contemplation. It didn’t feel like a big deal. My mind started to wander away from the insight. There hadn’t been the revelatory feel I’d had the day before, so I began to question whether I am indeed attached to who I am.

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Everything Is A Distraction

Thursday 16 August, 2018

What surprised me most about the first few hours, was how distracted I was. Having registered, found my room, and left one final voice message for her, I walked around the castle grounds, doing what I thought people did on a silent retreat. I was quiet. But others were still talking. That was perplexing, but not necessarily distracting. My attention, instead, had been captured by the people themselves.

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Deep & Profound Gratitude

Wednesday 15 August, 2018

It was a present from her. Five days at a silent retreat with Mooji. I cannot begin to describe how beautiful the whole experience was; how enriching and life-changing. All I can do for now is to record in the next few posts what my experience of those days was. This piece is the briefest of summaries, and subsequent posts will go into more detail about specific insights and aspects. Some background might be useful, so if you wish you can read the post, ‘The Conclusion Is Emptiness’, as well as the more recent one, ‘When Mooji Came To Town’.

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Be Kind To Yourself

Saturday 11 August, 2018

I wanted to write a piece on self-compassion, because it’s easy to overlook ourselves as we move through the world. Worse still, many of us are too hard on ourselves, too critical, too demanding. We are more inclined to offer help and support to others than to ourselves, but we must understand that there is much we can do to improve our own lives. It takes practice, and it begins with being kind to yourself. The inspiration for this piece comes from someone who leads by example with her own kindness.

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When Mooji Came To Town

Wednesday 8 August, 2018

The sun was shining the day Mooji came to town. Having already signed up for his silent retreat here in the Netherlands (which begins tomorrow), the announcement that he would be giving two Satsangs last Saturday in my home town, was another opportunity not to be missed. I eagerly bought tickets for both sessions, reasoning that even if they were the same, it was worth every minute because he is someone whose wisdom is so inviting. And he was only a sunny bike ride away.

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What Exactly Do I Do?

Thursday 2 August, 2018

Following a training I gave recently, someone approached me to teach them how to do what I do. He explained that other trainers he’d observed relied heavily on content or particular techniques (or both), whereas I seemed to do neither. His conclusion was that what makes me so effective is that I rely on myself. I have a belief in my work and I know my stuff intimately, but that was not what he was after because in the job he does, he has those things too.

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Take The Chance To Practise

Sunday 29 July, 2018

Within every one of my professional interactions – whether retreats, workshops, or individual conversations – there comes a time when someone asks exactly how they are supposed to get around the obstacles they encounter so regularly. The answer is always the same; the encouragement too: ‘Practice. And you have plenty of opportunities every day to practise.’

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Deep Sleep & Deep Work

Friday 27 July, 2018

My son lay asleep upstairs, taking his usual morning nap. There is never any way of knowing exactly how long it will last when he sleeps, so as I sat down to write, the clock was already ticking. The aim was to get as much done as possible before the baby went off. Fortunately, I was aided in my work by a new approach, introduced to me by a friend when he gave me the book, Deep Work, by Cal Newport.

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Seeking Daily Gratitude

Thursday 26 July, 2018

This has been long overdue. The benefits of keeping a gratitude journal are obvious and everywhere. For reasons I couldn’t even define, however, I have been avoiding it for years, (even though she and I regularly choose our highlight of the day.) Now the time has come to push myself over the edge of that particular cliff and fly. The idea is to seek one aspect of each day, about which I am grateful, and write about it in detail. The desire for detail comes from an idea I had many years ago: that even the slightest incident, gesture, thought or feeling contains a wealth of information.

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