Reflections on Retreat to the Heart of Silence 2009

Reflections by Justin Maggart

This year’s Retreat to the Heart of Silence at Camp Brotherhood was a powerful opportunity for me to reconnect with the spiritual practice of retreat. When I was in high school at Seattle Prep, I went on several retreats to wilderness areas, surrounded by trees and the distant sound of waves washing upon ocean shores. In the tradition of Catholic Jesuit priests, we were encouraged to reflect deeply through conversation, writing, and time spent quietly contemplating and awakening our awareness in nature. We also had a lot of fun playing together and building relationships over shared meals, music, skits and deep learning. Looking back, many moments from these retreats are some of my fondest memories of adolescence.

As the end of October neared, I eagerly anticipated the chance to spend a weekend in silence focused on spiritual practice. The journey up to Camp Brotherhood and dinner were full of many pleasant conversations, meeting new friends, and reconnecting with familiar yogis from the Ananda Sangha. The food and the accommodations were excellent, as was the fellowship of many spiritual seekers. Following the orientation for the weekend’s retreat, all participants went into silence with chanting and a group meditation. The collective intention was a palpable presence in the sadhana room that evening, as were the guiding, nurturing vibrations of the Masters of Self-Realization. I experienced one of my deepest meditations in years. Thanks to Murali’s pre-dinner Ananda Yoga class, I was able to sit in the silence long after many had gone to bed. As I blissfully walked back to my room, I knew that I was exactly where I needed to be.

Saturday and Sunday were full of opportunities to meditate, practice yoga postures, breathe the cool country air, and reflect. Many hours of meditation were balanced with two Saturday yoga asana classes lead by Murali that were keenly focused on helping us experience stillness in each pose. As morning turned to afternoon turned to night, I felt more and more aware of the subtle currents of energy gathering in my spine and flowing upwards to my spiritual eye. Instead of the static of idle chatter, my mind’s ear resounded with prayers, chants, affirmations, and the sound of OM. In the midst of all of the sadhana, I also took time to journal and witness the seasons turn throughout the verdant grounds of Camp Brotherhood.

In many ways, this weekend of silence allowed me to better know myself and my Self. The ripples of feeling and whirlpools of worries calmed to placid morning waters. I felt a keener and keener awareness of spirit as I tuned my consciousness to images of wisdom within and without. I felt reluctant as the end the silence neared. But the door of my heart, open wide, would not close as we shared our final meal and resumed talking. I don’t know if anyone noticed, but I was glowing. I look forward to many more sessions of group sadhana, and the deep bliss that comes from sweet satsang.

Retreatants, 2009 Retreat to the Heart of Silence

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Oct
1
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9:00 am Ananda Yoga @ Ananda Yoga Hall in Bothell
Ananda Yoga @ Ananda Yoga Hall in Bothell
Oct 1 @ 9:00 am – 10:15 am
Ananda Yoga @ Ananda Yoga Hall in Bothell | Bothell | Washington | United States
Taught byMurali Venkatrao, Ananda Yoga offers classic asanas with affirmations and energizing pranayam movements that will bestow physical strength and relaxation, inspiration and inner peace, and clarity of mind. Our meditative and individualistic style makes[...]
3:30 pm Farm Supper @ Ananda Farm
Farm Supper @ Ananda Farm
Oct 1 @ 3:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Farm Supper @ Ananda Farm | Camano Island | Washington | United States
Again this summer, Ananda Farm Camano Island offers a series of delightful farm suppers. Enjoy several courses, all made with food grown on the farm and freshly harvested. Before dessert, Zach and Hailey will take[...]
6:00 pm Group Meditation @ Ananda Meditation Temple
Group Meditation @ Ananda Meditation Temple
Oct 1 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Group Meditation @ Ananda Meditation Temple | Bothell | Washington | United States
Both new and experienced meditators benefit from meditating with a group. Ananda offers many opportunities to meditate with others and experience the joy and peace that meditation inspires. Saturday night meditation begins with a short[...]
Oct
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Sun
9:00 am Ananda Group Meditation @ East West Bookshop
Ananda Group Meditation @ East West Bookshop
Oct 2 @ 9:00 am – 10:15 am
Ananda Group Meditation @ East West Bookshop | Seattle | Washington | United States
EVERY SUNDAY A place to meditate in a group on Sunday morning 9-10 am in the Gallery at East West Bookshop. We invite you to put this group meditation into your week to strengthen your[...]
9:00 am Purification Ceremony & Meditation @ Ananda Meditation Temple in Bothell
Purification Ceremony & Meditation @ Ananda Meditation Temple in Bothell
Oct 2 @ 9:00 am – 9:45 am
Purification Ceremony & Meditation @ Ananda Meditation Temple in Bothell | Bothell | Washington | United States
Purification Ceremony, 9 – 9:15 am The Purification Ceremony is an opportunity for you to individually pray for purification and invoke God’s grace and power through the masters.  Instructions are available in the foyer or[...]
10:00 am Sunday Morning Service @ Ananda Meditation Temple
Sunday Morning Service @ Ananda Meditation Temple
Oct 2 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Sunday Morning Service @ Ananda Meditation Temple | Bothell | Washington | United States
Nayaswamis Padma & Hriman McGilloway;Spiritual Directors of Ananda Washington Sunday Service, 10 a.m. in Bothell Sundays at Ananda Meditation Temple are the highlight of the week and are an excellent occasion for your first visit.[...]
Oct
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10:30 am Ananda Yoga @ East West Bookshop in Seattle
Ananda Yoga @ East West Bookshop in Seattle
Oct 3 @ 10:30 am – 11:45 am
Ananda Yoga @ East West Bookshop in Seattle | Seattle | Washington | United States
  Taught by Heidi MacBeth Ananda Yoga offers classic asanas with affirmations and energizing pranayam movements that will bestow physical strength and relaxation, inspiration and inner peace, and clarity of mind. Our meditative and individualistic[...]
10:30 am Ananda Yoga @ Ananda Yoga Hall
Ananda Yoga @ Ananda Yoga Hall
Oct 3 @ 10:30 am – 11:50 am
Ananda Yoga @ Ananda Yoga Hall | Bothell | Washington | United States
Taught by Lynne Steele Ananda Yoga offers classic asanas with affirmations and energizing pranayam movements that will bestow physical strength and relaxation, inspiration and inner peace, and clarity of mind. Our meditative and individualistic style[...]
1:00 pm Yoga From Your Chair @ Ananda Yoga Hall
Yoga From Your Chair @ Ananda Yoga Hall
Oct 3 @ 1:00 pm – 2:15 pm
Yoga From Your Chair @ Ananda Yoga Hall | Bothell | Washington | United States
Over this 4 week course, you’ll discover how to increase your flexibility, improve your balance and circulation, relieve stress and learn to relax. We’ll practice many traditional yoga poses, modified for safety and comfort, and[...]
6:00 pm Ananda Yoga @ East West Bookshop
Ananda Yoga @ East West Bookshop
Oct 3 @ 6:00 pm – 7:15 pm
Ananda Yoga @ East West Bookshop | Seattle | Washington | United States
Taught by Valentin Rezmov Ananda Yoga offers classic asanas with affirmations and energizing pranayam movements that will bestow physical strength and relaxation, inspiration and inner peace, and clarity of mind. Our meditative and individualistic style[...]

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