Healthy, Happy and Wise

Written by Cynthia Smith-Faught. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on November 23, 2011 with No Comments

Every year I take a silent retreat during the Thanksgiving holiday. In the past few years it has been just two or three days. This year it will be four glorious days of silence.

Some of you may be thinking that this would be impossible for you to do for a variety of reasons. It has taken many years for me to get to this point. My family has become accustomed to some of my, what appears to them to be, quirky ways; the desire to live in a tree or vacation in a monastery, or better yet being quiet for days on end and only listening to nature.

However this all seems very normal to me and I cannot imagine why most people do not desire these things as I do.

But this is a variety driven world so I adjust, I quickly forgive myself for not following tradition, and move deeply into my Interior Castle (Teresa of Avila). I will then linger in the joy and bliss of silence while experiencing the fullness of peace and a divine conscious connection.

I feel giddy at just the thought of this time I will spend and eagerly anticipate its arrival like a child on Christmas morning.

Maybe you are a little like me and long for a retreat experience around the hectic holidays. You may be thinking how on earth could you ever do this with so many family obligations and commitments?

Well you may not have four days but maybe you have an hour or two, or a day. Maybe instead of shopping on Friday you can find treasure at the inner mall or you can do both.

  I retreat every day when I am in meditation, morning and night. In meditation I take time to let the world settle down around me and within me. Prayer is when I speak to God and meditation is when I listen.

Last June I spent three days at a local retreat center (Lindenwood, in Donaldson) and this was quite refreshing. Whether you are at a retreat center, home or in nature, it is helpful to transition in and out of your experience. It is necessary to prepare space for quiet and minimize interruptions.

I will spend a lot of this time in deeper meditation and reflection, while bringing attention and awareness in gratitude for all of the things I have in my life, and I will ask myself some of these questions: What are the lessons I have learned? How can I be more open to receive the gifts that are offered to me, and how can I give more with unconditional love?

 When love is unconditional and we are living in gratitude, we are boundless, endless and infinite. We are free from all suffering, pain and worldly woes. But as soon as we touch our fears, anger and frustrations, we suffer and the world is painful, our energy is depleted and we are bound, no longer free. This is why I practice.

This month: Practicing Gratitude in Silence

1. Let family, friends know that you will be unavailable for the time you establish to retreat (any time you can arrange will be sufficient even if it is a half hour).

2. Unplug from all of your devices for your time allowed by turning them off (I will even take the battery out the clock on the wall and cover my television, etc.).

3. Whether you are at home, in nature or at a retreat center, prepare your space to just sit in reflection and contemplation.

4. Watch your thoughts without judgment.

5. Allow your thoughts to settle down (journaling can help this process to get things out).

6. Do not get caught up on emptying the mind, just watch what is going on, expand your awareness of thought and everything around you.

7. You may even want to find a gentle activity that does not take a lot of thought and will allow you to be quiet .

8. When we bring intention into our action or inaction, it brings it into a different dimension and experience.

9. Feel gratitude by focusing on the heart and feel the heart expand.

Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy.

 

 

 

Every year I take a silent retreat during the Thanksgiving holiday. In the past few years it has been just two or three days. This year it will be four glorious days of silence.

 

Some of you may be thinking that this would be impossible for you to do for a variety of reasons. It has taken many years for me to get to this point. My family has become accustomed to some of my, what appears to them to be, quirky ways; the desire to live in a tree or vacation in a monastery, or better yet being quiet for days on end and only listening to nature.

 

However this all seems very normal to me and I cannot imagine why most people do not desire these things as I do.

 

But this is a variety driven world so I adjust, I quickly forgive myself for not following tradition, and move deeply into my Interior Castle (Teresa of Avila). I will then linger in the joy and bliss of silence while experiencing the fullness of peace and a divine conscious connection.

 

I feel giddy at just the thought of this time I will spend and eagerly anticipate its arrival like a child on Christmas morning.

 

Maybe you are a little like me and long for a retreat experience around the hectic holidays. You may be thinking how on earth could you ever do this with so many family obligations and commitments?

 

Well you may not have four days but maybe you have an hour or two, or a day. Maybe instead of shopping on Friday you can find treasure at the inner mall or you can do both.

 

  I retreat every day when I am in meditation, morning and night. In meditation I take time to let the world settle down around me and within me. Prayer is when I speak to God and meditation is when I listen.

 

Last June I spent three days at a local retreat center (Lindenwood, in Donaldson) and this was quite refreshing. Whether you are at a retreat center, home or in nature, it is helpful to transition in and out of your experience. It is necessary to prepare space for quiet and minimize interruptions.

 

I will spend a lot of this time in deeper meditation and reflection, while bringing attention and awareness in gratitude for all of the things I have in my life, and I will ask myself some of these questions: What are the lessons I have learned? How can I be more open to receive the gifts that are offered to me, and how can I give more with unconditional love?

 

 When love is unconditional and we are living in gratitude, we are boundless, endless and infinite. We are free from all suffering, pain and worldly woes. But as soon as we touch our fears, anger and frustrations, we suffer and the world is painful, our energy is depleted and we are bound, no longer free. This is why I practice.

 

This month: Practicing Gratitude in Silence

 

1. Let family, friends know that you will be unavailable for the time you establish to retreat (any time you can arrange will be sufficient even if it is a half hour).

 

2. Unplug from all of your devices for your time allowed by turning them off (I will even take the battery out the clock on the wall and cover my television, etc.).

 

3. Whether you are at home, in nature or at a retreat center, prepare your space to just sit in reflection and contemplation.

 

4. Watch your thoughts without judgment.

 

5. Allow your thoughts to settle down (journaling can help this process to get things out).

 

6. Do not get caught up on emptying the mind, just watch what is going on, expand your awareness of thought and everything around you.

 

7. You may even want to find a gentle activity that does not take a lot of thought and will allow you to be quiet .

 

8. When we bring intention into our action or inaction, it brings it into a different dimension and experience.

 

9. Feel gratitude by focusing on the heart and feel the heart expand.

 

Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy.

 

 

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About Cynthia Smith-Faught

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Cynthia Smith-Faught is a certified yoga instructor. She teaches adult classes and workshops through the Portage Parks Dept. She also teaches at the Bonner Senior Center in Portage. To contact Cynthia Smith-Faught email her at editorial@thechroniclenwi.com.

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