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Friday, August 17, 2012

(13) Shtyle.fm : Home


Take a moment out of your busy life and imagine yourself in 132 acres of beautiful rugged bushland. Having the privilege of enjoying the delights of a heritage stone cottage, set amongst English-style gardens where you discover crystal-clear water, cascading over rocks. Imagine being treated like a royal with your accommodation in an aesthetically designed twin-share bedroom with ensuite and eating food cooked and served with much love, as you dine overlooking the magnificant valley views. The architectural design of thisHeaven on Earth and the loving care received there certainly creates a soothing atmosphere, conducive to relaxation and meditation. Recently, I had yet another opportunity to be a part of a silence retreat at Brahma Kumaris Centre for Spiritual Learning at Leura (coordinated by Sally didi and her team of BKswww.bkwsu.org/au), along with a group of people from all walks of life. Most of us were strangers to each other, but the silence we shared over the weekend, created asurreal kinship.

Brother Greg facilitated the proceedings of the retreat where we used silence as a tool to unearth Hidden Memories. “In silence we go beyond our day to day experiences of life and experience the inner truth of who we are and who we belong to. In silence we consider ourselves to be souls and we remember our Father the Supreme Soul. We experience our original qualities, those qualities which have been hidden by the illusion of the sweetness of the vices”, Brother Greg, “The struggles of life, the stress, the anguish, the noise, the pace often cause us to seek peace and quiet by going to quiet places where no other humans can find us.  But in these quiet places we can’t escape the noise within our own mind.  So silence is about learning how to quieten the mind and find silence even in the busiest and noisiest of places, by looking within and finding our inner truth.  Our thoughts directly influence how we speak, which then influences how we behave.  So our thoughts influence our lives. Thus first we have to look at the different types of thoughts that make up the noise in the mind”.

Over the blissfully silent weekend we were provided opportunities to get reintroduced to our creative side by Sister Jaine. “When one thinks of being silent as being ‘in the moment’, it is easy to make the link between meditation and the creative process. A writer or painter or musician will quickly lose sense of time while immersed in their art.

True inner silence is that same experience of timelessness and of being ‘in tune’ with yourself – the self that is naturally full of creative potential. It is in silence that one can access that potential and breakthrough the layers that block the creative flow; the overlaid self- judgement, criticism, self -doubt and fear that we all carry in varying degrees”, said Brahma KumariJaine, “Allowing time for silence, therefore, is a necessary healing practice, and colouring in a mandala can be an effective and enjoyable first step into that silence. Colouring in is something we usually associate with kindergarten and primary school, and to the sophisticated adult mind it may seem much too simplistic to be a valid tool for developing creativity. However, offer a group of adults the exact same mandala to colour in, a selection of crayons, pastels and coloured pencils….add a suggestion that each mandala will reflect a spiritual quality of their choice,( peace, love,  happiness,  gentleness, patience, gratitude  etc.)….and very quickly the room will become quiet with focus as logical left brain activity makes way for the creative and intuitive right brain, allowing the mind to listen and the feelings to speak.

And the result? A collection of multihued mandalas….each one irrefutable proof of the uniqueness and individuality of each soul.Each one an expression of the balance between creative force and the power of silence”.

“The struggles of life, the stress, the anguish, the noise, the pace often cause us to seek peace and quiet by going to quiet places where no other humans can find us.  But in these quiet places we can’t escape the noise within our own mind.  So silence is about learning how to quieten the mind and find silence even in the busiest and noisiest of places, by looking within and finding our inner truth.  Our thoughts directly influence how we speak, which then influences how we behave.  So our thoughts influence our lives. Thus first we have to look at the different types of thoughts that make up the noise in the mind”, explained Brother Greg.

The fact is that the silence we experienced was so Divine that it allowed us the space to reflect on how to replace the noisiest and most damaging thoughts of negativity and waste, with the thoughts of positivity, the thoughts of the true self; the soul and our original qualities.  We replaced the thoughts of negativity that relate to the vices of desire, ego, greed, anger and attachment and the annoying thoughts of waste which endlessly repeat over and over again in the mind, with thoughts of the soul being a point of light and the soul’s immortality, eternity, unlimitedness, powerfulness, wisdom and purity.

Brother Greg and Sister Jaine established three sanctuaries of peace, love and happiness for us, where we spent time to experience these original qualities of the soul and focused on remembering some of our virtues by reflecting on the positive things we have done in our lives, and seen in others and in poems, books and movies.

Each morning, Sisterguided us on how to be one with our breath and use it to our best advantage. As the day went along, in the afternoon we walked in nature, Brother Daniel shared uplifting thoughts linked to the Spirit. We also got opportunities to perform Karma Yoga. Joanne, a fellow retreat member felt, “i noticed after my first full day of silence was that my intuition heightened and i felt an intense increase in my awareness. For example the food i ate had more taste, it was tastier, sweeter and i acknowledged every mouth full with gratitude and love. The awareness of the air and my breath was noticed much more and generally all of my natural surrounds. I had a deep respect for what i had chosen to become aware of.

When i would go for bush walks ,i would hear my guidance much clearer and i would listen to my inner knowing, my inner voice and being, my spirit! It would always lead me to an amazing spiritual experience that i share with and in my relationship with the supreme soul”.

During the course of the weekend as the silence deepened, Brother Greg said, “True silence in the mind comes when we experience the true connection with our Supreme Father, the Supreme Soul.  In this, we consciously focus on ourselves as souls, points of light, sitting beside the Supreme Soul in the Land of Silence, our home, and absorbing the light of love from that Soul.  In this consciousness we feel the pure light of the Supreme Soul filling us with love and power.  This experience cleanses the soul of its past burdens of sin.  In this consciousness we can also have a conversation and thus form a relationship with our true Mother and Father.  In this experience the soul feels it is beyond the attraction of the physical world and can sit in a state of bliss, absorbing light and energy”.

The re-treat soon came to a conclusion, Kaye a retired high school teacher shared, “Simple exercises & clear explanations  were offered to us. I feel so lucky to be living in the Blue Mountains and have this special place so easy to access. All the workshops I have attended since learning about this BK Centre in 2003 have been worthwhile for my return to a regular meditation practice and an ever developing understanding and acceptance of myself, others and how to use my energy in a positive manner. The Brahma Kumaris Centre for Spiritual Learning, here in Leura is a very special sanctuary. I feel so lucky to have it in my backyard”

“The retreat for me was a complete rejuvenation of my being, said BhushanGulati with a smile that spelt gratitude.Daniel a sales professional felt, “When I experience the Supreme Soul connection, I get to experience my essential self as the eternal energy of the universe”.A lovely lady who attended the retreat had the experience that she liked to be quiet to escape the hustle and bustle of her daily life, but she realised that this was different to being silent.  When she was quiet, her mind was not silent.  As we fill our minds with thoughts of the self, the soul, and the original qualities of the soul and of the Supreme Soul, our thoughts slow down and become more peaceful. In true silence we are experiencing the bliss of the true connection with the Supreme Soul. 

What more can we ask for. Seek and thy shall receive. Trust me when I say that by the time it was time to say ‘good-bye’, not many of us wanted to start talking, for it felt very natural to be silent. However, it doesn’t end there. Its what we embrace and take away with us, to adopt in our daily life, that actually makes a difference. 

Dot Yam says, “I am taking more time to reflect on my own spiritual learning now, spearheaded by the Silent Weekend.Being a health professional, it is easy to help others, care and take care of others, it is not so easy to remember to care for the SELF.  

Caring for the self to me means constantly remembering that " I am a soul", then all my activities and decisions will be coming from the soul-conscious level. My thoughts will be elevated and thought-full, my actions will be responding rather than reacting. 

I have found it hard to go on the soul journey on my own and I remember Brother Greg's wisdom in reminding me that " You can't do it alone, so be in the company of Raja Yogis". I have been going to the meditation space at Willoughby for a while; after the Retreat, I started going there 2-3 times a week, to be in silence, learn, gain knowledge and to remember…. I also remember that the soul is pure and peaceful by nature, so going back to peace is easy. I can FEEL peace now through my body and for purity, the teaching reminded me of being the Master of the vices:desire, ego, anger and greed.

The soul is pure naturally and I will make double effort to reclaim mastery of my senses.Pure vegetarian food plays a significant part in my remembrance and I am happy and grateful for the nourishment I take into my body temple.Maya will come and put up a fight, that is expected, but I know as long as I stay with the light and be with Bapbaba, Maya has no power.I hope sharing my experience will help others to continue the soul journey and no doubt, with effort and faith, a new life with sustainable new energy will carry us to the other side – VICTORIOUSLY”.

*There are more than 8,500 centres of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (www.bkwsu.org) located in 110 countries, where one can study spiritual knowledge that nurtures respect for all faith traditions, coherently explains the nature of soulGodtime, and karma, and delineates an enlightened lifestyle. The Brahma Kumarispractise and teach a form of meditation that relaxes the mind and nurtures a healthy balance between our inner and outer worlds. Through numerous social service activities and partnerships, we promote spiritual understanding, leadership with integrity and elevated actions towards a better world.