Daraius: We’ve got a great team at Million Mile Secrets helping with posts. But I miss writing as much as I did in the old days! So here I am writing about stuff that I really care about. And which isn’t all miles-and-points related.
What would it be like to see God in everyone and in everything? – Adyashanti
Last week, I spent 7 days at a silent retreat with Adyashanti (meaning: primordial peace) at Lake Tahoe. This was a very different kind of experience than my Vipassana experience. But it was every bit as profound and deep!
At my last Vipassana retreat we meditated for 12+ hours a day and had very basic accommodation and food. But on my retreat with Adyashanti we had 3 delicious meals, meditated for ~5 to 6 hours a day, and were staying in a beautiful location in Lake Tahoe.
And we were in silence (no talking, internet, or phone) during the entire retreat.
I’ll admit to wondering if I would be able to go deeply into myself in such comfortable surroundings!
The first few days were very similar to my previous experiences, where my mind was racing between food, work, sex, etc. It was as if my mind had these default modes it would go into to try to get me to NOT focus on myself & go into myself!
Even though we were sitting on chairs, I found it difficult to meditate during some of the sessions. And I did skip 2 of the morning meditations to sleep in!
During one guided meditation, we were encouraged to look into ourselves to find the location of the “I” with which we associated.
The more I pondered, the more I realized that I didn’t really know the answer to that question!
At another meditation, we were contemplating what our fundamental being really was. Was it dependent on age, occupation, gender, race, etc.? Or was there something about each one of us that was deeper and more fundamental than anything else? I considered these questions while meditating and on my strolls.
I was inspired by the earnestness of the 200 folks who attended, all of whom were determined to go beneath the superficiality of everyday existence.
And I loved the gentleness and clarity with which Adyashanti invited everyone to ponder these deep philosophical questions.
There was no dogma here and his teachings and responses to questions during the Satsang drew from all religious, philosophical, and psychological traditions.
I’ve always found it very hard to trust folks who talk about religion or spirituality. Because I often find they use those topics to manipulate others. And yet, I found it incredibly easy to trust Adyashanti because of his kindness, intellectual rigor, and genuine desire to help others.
Seeing God in Everything
On the last day, Adyashanti led us through a guided meditation were we were asked what it would be like to see “God” (however you define that) in everyone and in everything. What would it do to our peace of mind and relationship with ourselves, if we could see the element of goodness in everyone?
Which is not to say that you’d turn a blind eye to your kids pummeling each other because you saw “God” in both of them. 😉
Personally, I love silence and stillness. Especially when it is out in nature!
I’ve always had lots of judgmental and mean thoughts towards folks who play loud music and disturb my silence! So what would it be like if I could listen to the sound of, say, heavy metal, and look for God (or stillness) in that?
I don’t know. But I’d certainly like to try it out.
I felt immensely grateful and touched to be part of this retreat and among so many kind, loving, courageous folks.
After 7 days, I could notice that the speed of thoughts in my head were much slower than when I started the retreat. I finally had glimpses of what it would be like to live for a few seconds completely immersed in the present and not wondering about what had been, or what will be.
And in those moments, I realized what it felt like to go through life in a dream. A dream where I continuously think of the past or future instead of putting my attention on the present.
But much more importantly, I learned to be kinder to myself and accept that there are vast parts of my life where I am not able to be present. And to study them with curiosity like a scientist when I notice myself distracted from the present.