Spiritual Awakening Retreats

 

Spiritual Awakening Retreats

Hey everyone, it’s a beautiful day again, as I’m sitting on my balcony, looking out at the trees – and you guys are probably tired of me saying it’s a beautiful day honestly in Silicon Valley days are all just pretty beautiful uh.

This is kind of the norm. I love about it.

Anyways um, you might have seen my other videos talking about my experience as a product manager and at the beginning, when I was trying to create those videos um it didn’t resonate.

I think now it’s resonate more and more hearing from so many people that that’s been helpful for them.

Um. It didn’t resonate at the beginning because I’ve always identified as a person who is like has many sides and, to be honest, I think work is only one small side of me um.

I think just me as a person and my interest, and what I do is a lot broader than that, so today I actually want to share with you guys something that is um more dear to my heart.

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Um – and the experience I want to share is maybe part one of a longer story.

I want to share with you around my spirituality journey, so the first experience I want to share with you guys is my spiritual awakening retreat.

That happened around two years and a half ago.

That’s really been a long time to be honest and um honestly that experience has been so impactful in my life that I still vividly remember it so a little bit about the retreat to start it is a 10-day, silent.

Spiritual Awakening Retreats

Meditation retreat where you basically go into this Space with many people and for me, it was in China and uh, I think the whole retreat had maybe around.

I would say a hundred people, that’s that’s quite large, and we have to give up our cell phone and not even journals.

We can’t look at each other, so it’s basically sort of the sacred space that you can just spend time with yourself, um, looking inward and then grow.

I gave up all my digital belongings when I arrived, and I went into my room to rest.

The condition was actually really excellent.

I had my own room, my own bathroom, um.

I think they’re really trying hard to maximize um on the kind of time with yourself how the days went was every day we would wake up at 4, 00 am get ready and then start meditating in the hall together until um.

I think there was breakfast time around.

Six and then we would all eat breakfast silently we would line up and then get our food.

Everything is completely vegan, and they were all cooked by volunteers who were past students, and they were also meditating with us, but rather they would take on additional roles.

As a way to give back to the community – and it was just so nutritious and it was so delicious – I couldn’t believe it was vegan, and I don’t know how much you know about Chinese cuisine.

But today it’s just very meat based it’s very heavy, but actually, you can make delicious meals of Chinese vegan food, and we would all eat in silence all the desks face.

One way so the max you can see someone’s back, but because we actually intentionally decide that we didn’t want to interact with others. I barely even looked at others.

It was just me with this bowl of food and honestly, I can.

I could still remember, experiencing eating in total silence for the first time and just chewing, and just really remembering what it means to true what it means to look at food.

What it means to like, let the flavors integrate in my mouth um, I think just paying that much attention to the food makes me just a lot more aware. What was going on At that moment, and be more grateful if you know what I was.

What I was provided with and after breakfast we would have, um, a 30-minute break.

Some people go on silent walks.

Think it’s around eight that we all went back to start the day of meditation and each session is around an hour and a half, and we just sit in silence and meditate.

And then I think it’s 11 30, when we have our lunch break and then a nap time and then go back to meditate again for the afternoon, um rest and then take a break around five.

After that. We rest and then go back again at around seven, and we meditate again for an hour and a half, and then we listen to um a talk, um a dharma talk and then afterwards uh people can choose.

That’s around 9 30. When we go back to our dorms, or you can stay behind and ask a few questions to the teacher, um, so we had a female teacher and a male teacher who sit facing us.

They don’t talk, all the teachings and the guidance are given via voice like broadcasting, so that is completely standard.

The schedule of the day is completely standard around the world because the past night is actually a global movement.

But we can, you know, after the day we can stay behind to talk to our teacher and see if there are things that are just really getting us.

Stuck um, I’ve definitely stayed behind many times trying to seek guidance and then usually you know we go back to our dorm and asleep at around 10 and then wake up at four again and start all over again.

So, we did three days of um meditation that purely asked us to focus on this area in our face when we breathe in and breathe out, and then just focus on that area.

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And after three days we moved to a body scan meditation where you would scan every inch of your skin from head to toe and then toe back to head and then just repeat um at the beginning, we could still freely move our body.

If you know it gets stiff, but after a couple of days, uh, it was actually encouraging us that we don’t move at all in that hour and a half per session. It was very difficult for me.

I have to say, and then actually after that 10 days, the 11th day is when we break the silence and that we could finally talk to each other.

Spiritual Awakening Retreats 1

What I want to share with you guys um are three key moments during the retreat when each time I cried – and I think it’s those deep emotional moments that I learned something.

So, the first time that I cried was the time when the instructor was asking us To try to stay still for the whole session and not move, I think physical, wise uh.

I just couldn’t immediately just sit in one pose throughout time, but mentally. I think I’ve always been this person who just pushed herself really, really hard, and I was like yes, I would absolutely do this.

I would like force myself to not move uh, regardless of what happens, and I just sat there and at some point my legs were just giving up.

It was just so painful, and I think it was the physical pain, but very soon it became that emotional pain because I was it was all those thoughts in my head of like wow.

Why is your body so stiff, um? Why can’t you just do it?

Everyone else could do it what’s wrong with you, and it was also just this deep misery of um being forced to do it by my own dictatorship, and i just started crying and cried.

I cried. I was still not moving because I was just like yeah.

I want to see how far I could go. It was just so painful until a volunteer actually tapped on my shoulder.

That’s when I opened my eyes, my tearful eyes, and she showed me this piece of paper and on it. It was just two words.

Be happy um, I still feel very emotional uh, just reflecting back at it um.

You know it was just.

There was no point forcing me that hard right, um at the end of the day is actually just be happy.

Be peaceful, and I like to wipe my tears and um relax my feet and just declare the feet, but honestly, it wasn’t. It wasn’t much, right.

It was just like you know. Realistically, my body was stiff and no matter how much mentally I wanted to be not stiff.

I can’t control that situation and a lot of times you’re just accepting yourself accepting that situation, then just let it be, um.

So, that was a that was a really crucial.

Learning, for me, is um just kind of this moment of really wanting unpleasant sensations to stop, but sometimes you actually just don’t, have control over it and in those moments is about just like living in those pain and accepting those pain and then figure out how to move forward from it.

So, the second time I cried was actually the second to last day of the retreat, and it was the last day of pure silent meditation because the day after we could start talking and that day I remember during the guided meditation the teacher.

Was saying, a lot of students by now could probably feel this feeling of flow from head to toe, toe-to-head effortlessly.

It’s like um. All the atoms on your body is just jumping and dissolving, um.

And you just feel that everything in your body is integrating with each other and there isn’t necessarily a part of your body when you observe it doesn’t feel anything.

It doesn’t speak to you as for me, um, almost every part of my body.

I could feel this flow sensation as if I can easily scan my body up and down and have every part of my body speak to me.

I can feel it very intimately, except my chest.

I just could not get my damn chest to respond.

It was just there, I’m not doing anything.

I could not feel it whatsoever. I don’t know why.

Maybe i just never had a good relationship with that part of my body, not sure, and it was just deeply frustrating.

I went to the teacher twice to ask for guidance.

I was like why can’t I feel anything and every time the teacher is like just let it be just keep observing inch by inch and be patient with it, and it will speak to you when it can speak to you.

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You can’t force it. I understand that intellectually, but you know I was just impatient.

I wanted to feel that sensation. Everyone else is feeling what’s wrong with me for not feeling it. This is unfair.

I’ve been working so hard and actually, I’ve been really working hard to achieve this um total flow – and this is just really ironic, like you know, being a street a student – I want to be a street an in meditation as well as.

I have to be the best at whatever I do, honestly. I think this is like such a big policy in my thinking back then like.

I would definitely deserve to go through this pain.

So, I just cried when the instructor said that, like most of the students can feel it now – and I was like damn it – I don’t feel this, I’m not most students, and it was just this.

This emotional pain of, like I worked so hard that I didn’t get rewarded.

This world is unfair, I’m a victim and just almost giving up because it was the second to last day and probably can’t feel it, and I felt like a failure and honestly, reflecting back that pain was totally inflicted by myself upon myself right.

It was just me talking to myself setting this arbitrary expectation uh for achieving certain things that actually not necessarily inherently valuable, except I impose some sort of value onto it and also impose some sort of deadline on myself.

Um, everyone is on their personal journey. You know.

Maybe other people have experienced it because they’ve meditated deeply in the past, or you know they had certain other relationship with their body and their body is responding to them, um quicker or uh.

The techniques – maybe I just was too young, and I didn’t learn it.

There are many reasons, and it doesn’t even matter what that reason is. Maybe it doesn’t.

We don’t need to make sense of things, um, but it was a really good realization.

How I was just bringing that pain to myself and then the last one last time that I cried was the last hour of the entire retreat.

Basically, the last day at 11am.

We broke the silence, and you know just like seeing each other, and we like embraced each other, we’re like it just feel if it just felt like we know each other for so long, and we’re all best friends, um and people were you know.

Starting forming circles And talking about their experiences – and I was hearing um how you know a lot of people were sharing like wow.

I just felt this total flow in my body, and I was just like, damn it. I still don’t – and I finally got gathered enough gut to share that.

I wasn’t experiencing it in my chest and then people really compassionate, and then they came and talked to me and one person said this thing uh where which actually uh, I think, awakened something in me. She was like.

Don’t try too hard. It is what it is, and she told me that, once she accepted that, she is just gonna give up control in this experience.

It is what it is. If the body responds, let it respond.

If it doesn’t, just let it be, and then she told me it was that moment when she gave up control when she gave out that desire to want something.

She got it, and I was like wow. Let me try, and then it was that last hour and a half of meditation that I went in with this mindset.

I was like hey it’s already too late. It’s only an hour and a half left.

If I don’t feel it, I don’t feel it.

I can continue to practice and hopefully at some point in the future I would – and that was when magic actually happened.

I, uh, I just started feeling it everywhere. In my body, I started feeling the atoms in my body jumping and merging with my surroundings.

I felt this total oneness with everything around me and that last 10 minutes when we’re doing loving-kindness meditation.

So, basically is this prayer that you have not to like a supernatural being per se.

It’s something spiritual! It’s something! Maybe you pray to yourself almost is start with wishing yourself well, and then it goes to your immediate circle, family, to your friends, to all the people you’ve ever interacted with and to all beings in the world, no matter human or fish in the river or birds.

In the sky or trees or flowers, just wishing everything, peaceful and joy um – and it was that moment when I just felt this unity when I felt this connectedness when I just feel that we are one, and I’m part of it.

I’m um as well as the Whole um, it’s because my body is so much merging with my surroundings.

I couldn’t tell when my body finishes and when my surroundings start again – and it was that moment when I experienced that ecstasy of that deep joy of finding my community of being whole, of knowing almost my purpose in life.

Is to just be and to Be part of this community to serve and just crying out of pure joy, that was quite the moment and then the retreat ended um.

I remember dragging my little luggage again going to the train station to go back outside that little train station um.

I saw this lady selling um this, like traditional Chinese, like breakfast food, it was night but anyways.

I absolutely love it and I usually put sausages in there and that moment when she asked me oh sausage or no sausage.

I paused for a second.

Spiritual Awakening Retreats 2

After that total unity that total oneness, knowing that I was not just one with you know my fellow human beings, I was also one with nature, with chickens and the pigs and the cows, and all that I was like no, no, no sausage.

Honestly. That moment, I thought it was a character defining moment of me choosing who I want to be and what I care about and staying consistent with my values, and I decided that I was gonna become a vegetarian then, like holding the food in hand.

It definitely wasn’t as tasty as usual without the sausage, but it was also, but it was that deep joy of just biting into it and knowing uh what I pledged um it was deeply comforting.

I will share with you guys another time around my experience becoming a vegetarian and the struggles and the joy related to it.

But thanks for watching and almost embarking on this spiritual journey with me in this video um and I recommend all of you to give meditation a try to give the personal retreat a try.

And let me know what your thoughts are in the comment section.

Spiritual Awakening Retreats

In our city, Cotabato City, Philippines, every year two radio stations do not relay their routine programs from Holy Thursday to Maundy Saturday due to the fact that their personnel go on a spiritual retreat.

There are numerous other people who go on spiritual retreat during the Holy Week.

Judging from the effect of these retreats in their life, it seems that they do not experience spiritual awakening during these retreats.

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When You Go on Spiritual Awakening Retreat, have a Specific Objective

The first thing you need to do in order to experience spiritual awakening throughout a retreat is to have a specific objective as you go into this kind of activity.

It does not matter whether you are rounded up into a retreat by your supervisor or human relations officer or you undertake this on your own, get a specific objective as you prepare to make a retreat.

The objective does not have to be a big one, like changing your life for the better.

To get a better experience out of a retreat, have a specific objective.

Or your objective can be the complete reading of one of the Gospels during the course of the retreat.

Make the Spiritual Awakening Retreat a Time for Talking with Your God

Secondly, as you proceed with the retreat identify that this will be a time for talking with your God, whoever or whatever you conceive him to be.

Typically, a retreat has a series of talks by the retreat master or facilitator and reflections for the individuals. Even throughout the talk of the retreat master, discuss this over with your God.

For instance, while you are listening to the talk, you can state to your God, “Make me listen diligently to this talk so that I get some gain from it.”

I say “your God” because each one of us have a different concept of God, even if we are all Christians or Muslims.

The Buddhists do not have a specific concept of God as the Christians and Muslims do.

It is with this God that you talk things over during the retreat.

During the time for reflection, talk with your God about anything that comes to your mind.

In this way, you start to get in touch with powers beyond yourself, if you have not yet done so, and the retreat ends up being an event of spiritual awakening for you.

Write a Record of Your Reflections

Third, compose a record of your reflections in an excellent note pad. I notice that lots of throughout the retreat do not write anything.

They listen to the speaker and do the exercises they are led through like singing and doing posture exercises. However, they do not compose.

Whereas if you write them, you can read them later and see how your life has progressed since the retreat.

In this way, you can discover whether you have wakened up spiritually or not yet, or whether your spiritual horizons have broadened if you have already experienced spiritual awakening.

These are the methods to use retreats efficiently so that you can be awakened spiritually: Have a particular goal, talk with your God throughout the retreat, make a note of your reflections.

All the best to your retreat!

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