SILENT RETREAT: NEW YEAR 2023
I recently returned from 6 days silent retreat at Gaia House in Devon and felt very fortunate to spend the time there before the symbolic closing of the past year and the welcoming of 2023. In the past three years, partly because of the pandemic, I spent time in solitary retreats either in the outdoors on in Buddhist centres.
49 fellow participants joined the retreat and 109 people, from different parts of the world joined online. It was the first time that Gaia House offered a retreat entirely based on donation, an act of generosity on their part and generosity was the core theme of the retreat. I joined the retreat from a space of feeling tired due to work and with a semi-chronic pain in my lower back and hip, that allowed me to sit, stand and walk only for brief periods of time.
During our stay, we shared several sitting meditations in the conducive meditation hall, sometimes guided by the teachers or in silence, followed by walking meditations in the beautiful grounds of the house, working meditation and times for eating and for resting every day. The teacher and the staff were very encouraging and supportive, so that each day we could descend deeper into our practice. At first I had a lot of noise in my head, including being concerned about the constant pain. I almost doubted the choice of spending my time there ...