The Deep Benefit of Meditation on Retreat

Monday, September 25, 2023 9:43 AM

“I listened to the silence

Till it was no longer silence

Till it was filled up with birdsong that had been there all along

Till it was filled up with birdsong that had been there all along...”

from “Unseen Song,” by Samara Jade

    On retreat, our senses become heightened. We see things we may have missed before - the actual color and scent of a familiar flower, a habitual way in which the body moves or repetitive thoughts that we had not really known about till now. 

    I still recall a retreat I attended in the late 1990s. After hours of seated meditation, I found myself standing at a door leading to the lush Ohio wilderness, gazing absentmindedly outside. Then suddenly, as if my thoughts were a crowded room and I stepped out, I heard the sound of spring peepers, the tiny frogs that announce the shifting seasons. Now I knew I was in the room and with a simple and natural shift, truly a part of life. The peepers had been singing all along - it was only when I came out of my thoughts and into the moment that I heard them and could take in the sweet medicine of their music. Then, the sound was so full, and even loud, that I could only laugh at the comedy of the situation. As I continued to take it all in, a gentle question came, “How much am I missing, so much of the time?” 

    So I go on retreat - so that I may begin, without force, to experience being alive in all it’s rich and surprising beauty - and there are always surprises. To drink a cup of tea or coffee can be such a feast for the senses, and also a relief to the mind to be doing only this one simple activity. I go on retreat because without retreating, I do not really know how overstimulated I am by the cloud of thoughts about past and future and how those affect my feelings and physical body. Gradually, bit by bit, and sometimes quite literally, step by step, I am refreshed by this connection to the bigger picture and simultaneously the connection to myself. I am alive and a part of life, not apart from life.

David Pratt is the co-founder of True Nature Holistic Retreats in Holmes County, Ohio, which has been supporting guests to lead more balanced, harmonious lives since 2010. He first experienced Breema: The Art of Being Present in September of 2001, and has benefitted from practicing and teaching this holistic system for many years. The simplicity of Breema allows students to take simple, practical steps to being present and bringing that nurturance into everyday life. The next Breema Retreat in Peru’s Sacred Valley is August 1-12, 2024. Get all the details here.


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