It is easy to get caught up in the busyness of everyday life. For me it is often difficult is to pause and to take the time for an opportunity to do some self exploration. Such an opportunity was recently offered me. At first I found myself wondering how I could fit it in to my schedule, as well as make sure Stephen would have good food to eat while I was away. Yet because it included time to be with my daughter I didn’t hesitate long before saying yes.
She invited me to go with her to a spiritual retreat at a very special center in the Catskill mountains in New York State. Peace Village, a tranquil place of residence halls and meeting rooms is run by the Brahma Kumaris, a worldwide organization that originated in the 30s in India. The organization is devoted to self study and progress toward enlightenment. The Brahma Kumaris have created an atmosphere there that is highly conducive to personal growth.
At one time I studied and taught yoga. Later after we moved to Grafton my husband Stephen and I for many years had an inner peace center in our home where we held weekly meditations as well as what we called Peace potlucks, monthly. Stephen and I meditate almost daily, so I anticipated enjoying my time at the retreat which was said to include that as well as other opportunities to learn and to grow.
My happy expectations were fulfilled. During the three day retreat called By Ourselves In Company, the twenty-five of us were given a exercises designed to help us to become better acquainted with ourselves, as well as other techniques we could use to learn and grow. The participants were all ages and in all stages of life, more women than men, and several married couples. There were chances for us to interact and to learn from one another’s experiences as well as to be by ourselves and explore our own responses and reactions. The process was well designed and helpful.
Most special for me was the opportunity to do something with my daughter that we could share in as well as share. She leads a very busy life and while we do get to see one another often, it is always in the context of our days. The atmosphere the Brahma Kumaris have created in Peace Village is gentle and flowing. There is no hustle or bustle, no noise or stressful energy. On the hour music would play and everyone would stop what they were doing, breathe and reflect on the presence of the moment.
Here it was easy for me to absorb the lessons given as well as to learn to know myself better. The lack of distraction was key in helping me to focus. Yet what I really learned there was how important a peaceful atmosphere is to the nurturing of my being. The challenge will be to recreate it or at least to bring about some of the elements of that peace in my daily life so that I can continue to learn to see and to know myself more clearly.