Body, Bliss & Beyond Retreat

sue-ciley-copyBy Shuchi Cilley

It seems like such an indulgence to give yourself a five-day retreat at Lokananda. But it’s not. In fact, I found it to be a vital part of the care and feeding of my Self. Ah, but it’s not my big-S Self that needs it; it’s my small-s self. And while my mind whined a bit about all the logistics, finances and the time away, the deeper part of me was relentlessly pushing to make sure it happened. Not only that it happened, but that I add on an extra night at the beginning, the Tuesday evening DYMC satsang, and a Half-Day Workshop before the program started.

bhairavaSo right from the beginning there it was: Bhairava at work. Arising within you, Bhairava is the force that propels you, compels you, impels you forward beyond your own understanding to the knowing of your own Self. Bhairava shatters your limitations and sets you free. As Swamiji says, “Go ahead, try to deny it. It will move you anyway.”

So I went with great joy. And, of course, at the feet of the Guru I experienced what I longed for, and more. A recent daily E-Quote advised, “You need a system, a system that works, a spiritual system that has already produced mystics and saints and continues to do so.” At the retreat, our Svaroopa® Sciences system was on full display in its scintillating wholeness — so many facets sparkling with, and in, the light of Consciousness — such abundance:

  • blissful asana
  • chanting and deep meditation in the presence of the Guru
  • japa
  • seva
  • arati ceremonies
  • darshan
  • sparkling discourses

img_20160205_210945-copyHow do I describe the experience of Swamiji demonstrating and teaching us the simultaneous vibrations in OM or immersing us in the poetry of Lalleshwari? Add in vichara, repeatedly illuminating for me the dark spots of my mind.  And enclose it all within the Shakti of Lokananda. There’s more — add in the company of so many deep Svaroopis, new friends and old, flying in from across the continent. I savored the bedtime discussions with my dear roommates, the food served us at Lokananda and our Ashram lunch with Swamiji. Time and space had no meaning; past, present, and future all together, right now, right here.

Sometimes it’s not ‘til you open your eyes that you know what your meditation has given you. And sometimes it’s not ‘til you get home that you know what a program has given you. In teaching our asana classes, Rukmini beautifully layered in my transformative experience, giving rise to all I have described here. At home again, I found the deep benefits of that experience: the fatigue behind my eyelids — gone; a few less tight spots in my mind; an open heart full of gratitude; and so many other transformations from physically being at the feet of my Guru.

In telling you, I’ve only touched the surface and it’s all still present — and more — when I try to describe it for you now. It was the full experience of the Bliss of Consciousness — playing the edge of individuality and the infinity of Consciousness through the Grace of the Guru — Guru’s Grace showered without restraint. How could I be so lucky?!

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