The season at Peace Village opened with two retreats on a bright cold weekend: “Inner Peace – Inner Power” and “Spring Cleaning for the Soul”.
Spring Cleaning for the Soul
March 21 – 23
Spring is the season of renewal, of new energy and new light. ‘Spring Cleaning for the Soul’ participants eager to understand and experiment with the idea of cleanliness within, cleanliness of the soul. Spring inviting us to let go of old patterns that keep us uncomfortable and use the energy of our thoughts in a new way, through classes, workshop, dialogue and personal time for journaling and deepening, the participants explored the meaning of cleanliness, the power of thoughts, the power to let go, habits and also methods to change, and to renew with the real self in order to create a new vision and so a new life. Sr. Kala met with the group on Saturday evening, exploring the subject and offering guidance to the participants and guiding them into deep meditation.
The group enjoyed the karma yoga time as a on-hand practical experience. The Saturday night session around the fireplace, ‘show and tell’ where each one talked about an object they have found during the afternoon walk, and what it really meant to them in relation to the weekend topic, was very revealing for everyone.
Inner Peace Inner Power
March 21 – 23
The retreat Inner Peace: Inner Power attracted souls from quite a few states in the USA. Participants had retreated to the warm atmosphere of Peace Village to explore and learn spiritual concepts embodied in the first four lessons of the Raja Yoga Course. After initial welcome and introductions, participants were presented with the first two lessons, the soul, and the Supreme Soul. After understanding their true identity and that of their Supreme Spiritual Parent they were then taken on a journey of meditation. After this experience which was done repeatedly the spiritual sparkle on their face was noticeable.
The weekend program continued with a variety of activities including lectures with visual aids, a slide show on meditation, walking in soul consciousness, small group meetings with facilitators, guided meditations, meeting with senior teachers, coloring mandalas, and the observance of silence.
All of the above contributed to a deep and enriching for those attending. This was evident from their sharing at the end:
“Now I not only understand what om shanti means but I can practice it.”
“In silence I felt connected to myself… It felt very natural…. I enjoyed it.”
“I have understood my true identity…”
“I will create a sacred space in my home to continue meditating”
“The sorrow I came with has gone.”
“I will come again.”
(This retreat will be offered again: June 20 -22 and October 10 – 12)
March 28 – 30
Leaving behind the busyness of our everyday lives, the four of us are happy to be driving to Peace Village together to participate in the “Madhuban Experience” retreat. The spirit of going to Madhuban is carrying us onward and upward to our mountain destination. The unique spiritual energy, the promise of stepping into my eternal nature so naturally, and another deep and loving experience are beckoning me – as is always the case when I am on my way to Peace Village. It truly feels so peaceful, like a safe haven, like home, to be here in Baba’s yagya. The thought occurs to me, as I exchange drishti with sisters and brothers that love is falling from our eyes. It is an incredibly beautiful and uplifting feeling that makes it seem as though I am hardly touching the ground as I move around, greeting others. I cherish this experience, consciously remind myself to hold on to the feelings so they can sustain me after the weekend.
This time amongst Baba’s family to listen to murlis and classes, to churn knowledge, to exchange ideas, to meditate, and simply to be in this environment of pure spiritual vibrations is an invaluable lift to me. I had heart-to-heart chitchats with Baba that lifted me far above tiredness to the awareness of knowing how important time is now. I wanted to deepen my knowledge to enable me to share it accurately because this is so critical at this time. My experience, and that of many others I spoke to, was very, very intense, wanting to take in as much as possible. Again, every second was valuable and precious, especially because I knew how limited our time together was going to be.
Being part of the divine family became our cherished reality for this short time. There was so much love felt everywhere, and the strength of the powerful spiritual vibrations was touching everyone and everything. During a brief visit to the room that Dadiji had occupied while she was at Peace Village, it seemed to me as though she was actually present, and her pure vibrations uplifted me. It was an ever-so-gentle tug at my heart that made me realize how unlimited this treasure is that she is now bestowing on all of us through her vibrations, and somehow I believe that this is the eternal and natural part she is playing together with us now. The fact that she seemed so close made this a true Madhuban moment for me because it reminded me of seeing her and feeling her presence there in the past, and it brought Baba closer as well. These few minutes were very sweet and became unforgettable.
The rest of this wonderful day brought so many experiences that are still pulling my thoughts like a magnet and filled me with the joy of coming naturally closer to the yagya and to Baba, so that He can use me as an instrument through the specialties He has given me. Baba tells us to have distaste for the old world, old sanskars, old things so that our vibrations can become naturally pure and elevated. During this wonderful weekend, it was so easy to be in that stage, to be totally lost in the experience of love, sweetness, soul consciousness. The richness of each moment, each sweet interaction, and all of the invaluable pearls of wisdom and knowledge that I collected will – I know – sustain me. I would like to close by sharing a poem that came to my mind in response to a group activity that was based on one of Bapdada’s murlis of this season, in which Baba asked us to draw our own picture with the pen of elevated thoughts.
An image appears
as pen draws line
of wondrous beauty,
of a being divine.
I Use words as the paint brush
to make the picture real,
to create my own portrait,
my natural nature to reveal.
It shows physical splendor
not known in this day
and spiritual treasures
that enlighten the way.
How happy the features
and playful the game,
as pen paints the picture
of divinity’s name.
Through elevated thought
and action, and word
winning Mahabharat battle
Using virtue as sword
I now paint this portrait
with Baba as guide
becoming just like Him,
filled with His might.
Nonviolent Thinking – Prelude to a Peaceful World
April 4 – 6
During the weekend of April 4 -6th, a retreat was held on ‘Non-violent Thinking – Prelude to a Peaceful World.’ The small gathering of invitees, within the peaceful atmosphere of Peace Village, was perfect for exploring the theme. The intimacy of fewer numbers quickly became a comfortable space for a deep sharing of experiences. The participants were from areas of non-violence work across United States, as far as Eugene, Oregon; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Waco, Texas. Participants included guest speaker Kirit Daftary from the Jain community, who spoke on Ahimsa as well as teachers of non-violent communication, therapists, a social worker and a strong team of yogis to hold the atmosphere. Sr.Gayatri served as a spiritual resource and lifted everyone’s spirit to the highpoint of the retreat.
The workshop was organized with the aim of creating shared spiritual experiences of nonviolence through presentations and dialogue; supported by meditation and silence. A presentation on spiritual nourishment, followed by a guided meditation, brought everyone to a place of inner peace. Inner and outer silence ensued through lunch until tea time, after which we shared thoughts from that inner silence.
The experience of silence allowed everyone to realize the depth of the retreatwhich centered around the experience of inner peace through which one can practice nonviolent thinking. As the weekend continued, we reflected and dialogued on questions such as:
We heard and shared heart warming stories during the Appreciative Inquiry process. Our reflections and realizations led to conversations on the importance of having a spiritual life and practice. Many were touched to deepen their relationship with the Divine as a source of power in the journey towards nonviolent thinking. It became evident that for true nonviolence, our thinking needs to come from a naturally peaceful place. The experience of inner silence allowed participants to uncover their own peacewhich transformed nonviolent thinking into peaceful thinking.
We discovered that it was the silence that held the growth of our seed thoughts. Then we experienced that the flowering of our thoughts from silence produced the sweet fruit of sustained peace. Our shared experiences brought tender feelings of appreciation for each other’s expressions. With such appreciation came a growing understanding of seeing each other with spiritual eyes, nonviolent eyesmore so with the peaceful eyes of inner silence, which lead to clarity of thinking and beyond that, to peaceful communications.
Participants left with a deep urge to continue their work on nonviolence and a deeper commitment to their individual spirituality. It was a great gift to be there. There are plans to have this as an ongoing theme for exploration in retreats and other programs in the coming months.