This was my home from Friday through to Sunday. It's the Naramata Centre near Penticton, BC. I was amazed at how truly peaceful it feels there. The Centre is spread over quite a large area, with many low level buildings for meeting and accommodation, a playground, a beach and dock, a labyrinth and informal gardens.
I went with my husband for a weekend of meditation. The course was run by two Unitarian women I know who have both been to India to the Oneness University to learn how to give deekshas.
Sri Bhagavan is the Avatar at the Oneness University. I liked what he said (in the DVD we were shown) about modern schools slowly murdering our children as they pay no attention to the child's heart. He said that the standard way of life - school, college, work, marriage - allows no time for the child's heart to flower.
I had an idea at the beginning of the weekend of what I wanted to improve in my life. One of the things I want to do is get comfortable with speaking my truth in an honest and non-violent way. Rather than just smiling and gritting my teeth when someone says something with which I disagree, I want to be able to say what I think without getting over-emotional. I think this is going to be really hard to do (especially with family when we go to visit next year) but it's important to me.
The theme of the weekend was Radical Self-Acceptance, another big issue with me. I am quite judgmental and critical of myself, and learning to accept and love myself unconditionally will help me to be more loving towards and accepting of others. The group discussed what keeps us from self-acceptance. We were reminded that we are all one - there is no separation. A good analogy is that we and god/spirit/nature/whatever-you-want-to-call-it are all the same thing; I like to think that we are droplets in the ocean of god/goddess.
We talked about facing "negative" feelings, how we need to "invite them in" as in Rumi's poem (below), welcome them and express them. I found myself, during this meditation, facing a big ball of fear and I realised that my fear for my children (their future) was getting in the way and creating an atmosphere of criticism instead of love. I realised that my lack of self-love and self-acceptance was also hindering my ability to love and accept my children for who they are.
Receiving a deeksha was a wonderful feeling for me. I felt a tingling in my scalp as I was receiving the golden ball of light that was the divine energy being passed to me. I visualised the golden-ness melting through me like flowing molasses, filling me and pushing out doubt. Deekshas are said to break down the wall in the mind which keeps us in the illusion of separateness.
I also experienced a chakra meditation and walked the labyrinth (photo above) and pushed aside my extreme self-consciousness to join in with some dancing in the evening.
Obviously it's going to take me some time to process all of the "stuff" that came up during the weekend but I believe that the end result will be positive changes in my life.
Rumi - Guest House
This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Thank you to Anne for taking care of my children while I was at this retreat.