Monday, September 8, 2008
Silence is golden
I'm back from my retreat, and, yes, I kept the silence -- easily, I might add. In fact, I loved the silence, wanted more of the silence, hated to break the silence on Sunday morning. I found not talking to be a very easy thing to do. What I found much more difficult, verging on impossible, was not thinking, which is what I expected. I've done enough meditation and contemplation to know that "monkey mind," as the Buddhists call it, will not settle down just because we quiet our mouths and settle our bodies. The weekend was an amazing experience. To sit in silence for hours at a time was a wonder to me. I'm really still processing everything that happened because the experience was so unlike anything else I've ever done. As opposed to my last retreat, which was about building community and sharing and bonding with my fellow retreatants in the typical sense, this was about solitude, about being alone together, if that makes sense. Yes, there were 20 of us on the retreat, but our bonds were forged by our shared experience of solitude not by our pouring out of our innermost thoughts and feelings. I want to talk more about my retreat in a follow-up post because there is so much more to say about silence. But for now I'd like to share some photos of the amazing Pyramid Life Center, which is very rustic and incredibly beautiful. I could see Pyramid Lake from my bedroom in the lodge. In fact, at night I would lay down with my head at the foot of the bed so I could fall asleep with the night sky as the backdrop.
Here's the view from my room:
Here are just some general shots of the grounds, which include hundreds of acres with hiking trails, and a huge lake with a 16-acre island in the middle of it, which you are allowed to visit via canoe, kayak, or row boat: