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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Ananda Meditation Temple
23305 Bothell-Everett Hwy
Bothell, WA 98021
425-806-3700
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Upcoming Events
Nov
21
Fri
5:45 am Group Meditation @ Ananda Community
Group Meditation @ Ananda Community
Nov 21 @ 5:45 am – 7:45 am
Group Meditation @ Ananda Community | Lynnwood | Washington | United States
Both new and experienced meditators benefit from meditating with a group. Ananda Seattle offers many opportunities to meditate with others and experience the joy and peace that meditation inspires. All are welcome! The morning meditation[...]
12:00 pm Group Meditation @ Ananda Meditation Temple in Bothell
Group Meditation @ Ananda Meditation Temple in Bothell
Nov 21 @ 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm
This half an hour meditation starts with a chant and a prayer reading leading to a silent meditation. No need to register – just come and meditate!
Nov
22
Sat
9:00 am Ananda Yoga @ Ananda Meditation Temple in Bothell
Ananda Yoga @ Ananda Meditation Temple in Bothell
Nov 22 @ 9:00 am – 10:15 am
Ananda Yoga @ Ananda Meditation Temple in Bothell | Bothell | Washington | United States
Taught by Murali 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[...]
9:30 am How to Be Happy All the Time @ Ananda Meditation Temple
How to Be Happy All the Time @ Ananda Meditation Temple
Nov 22 @ 9:30 am – 12:00 pm
How to Be Happy All the Time @ Ananda Meditation Temple | Bothell | Washington | United States
Omprakash and Prem-Shanti Rider Do you want to get off the merry-go-round of emotional highs and lows? Do you sometimes feel you are an actor in a reality TV show called “Today’s Drama”? Have you been[...]
7:00 pm Group Meditation @ Ananda Meditation Temple
Group Meditation @ Ananda Meditation Temple
Nov 22 @ 7:00 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[...]
Nov
23
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9:00 am Group Meditation at East West @ East West Bookshop
Group Meditation at East West @ East West Bookshop
Nov 23 @ 9:00 am – 10:15 am
Group Meditation at East West @ East West Bookshop | Seattle | Washington | United States
Nayaswami Jamuna Snitkin Join us for Sunday Morning Meditation in Seattle with  Nayaswami Jamuna Snitkin  Nov 9 & 23, Dec 14 & 28, January 11 & 25,  Feb 8 & 22 9:00 am – 10:15 am[...]
9:00 am Purification Ceremony & Meditation @ Ananda Meditation Temple in Bothell
Purification Ceremony & Meditation @ Ananda Meditation Temple in Bothell
Nov 23 @ 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[...]
9:00 am Sunday Morning Meditation @ East West Bookshop
Sunday Morning Meditation @ East West Bookshop
Nov 23 @ 9:00 am – 10:15 am
Sunday Morning Meditation @ East West Bookshop | Seattle | Washington | United States
Nayaswami Jamuna Snitkin Join us for Sunday Morning Meditation in Seattle with  Nayaswami Jamuna Skitkin  September 14 & 28, October 12 & 26, November 9 & 23 9:00 am – 10:15 am Gathering with others[...]
10:00 am Sunday Service in Bothell @ Ananda Temple
Sunday Service in Bothell @ Ananda Temple
Nov 23 @ 10:00 am – 11:15 am
Sunday Service in Bothell @ Ananda Temple | Bothell | Washington | United States
(Starting time may vary on holidays.) Sundays at Ananda Meditation Temple are the highlight of the week and are an excellent occasion for your first visit. Sunday Service is drawn from the ancient meditation tradition[...]
Nov
24
Mon
5:45 am Group Meditation @ Ananda Community
Group Meditation @ Ananda Community
Nov 24 @ 5:45 am – 7:45 am
Group Meditation @ Ananda Community | Lynnwood | Washington | United States
Both new and experienced meditators benefit from meditating with a group. Ananda Seattle offers many opportunities to meditate with others and experience the joy and peace that meditation inspires. All are welcome! The morning meditation[...]

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