Sunday, 13 January 2008

Beyond the Silence...

HelLLLllLlllLLllllllllOOOoOoooOooOooooOooOooOOOOOOOOOOO :)
...back from the silence now...apologies for the temporary hiatus in communication from either of us – I promise I hadn’t absorbed the Monarch into silence too ;) ...we were just re-integrating life here after my absence...then last night we also spoke here in Byron Bay, which was a bit ‘trippy’ for me, to speak to a room full of people after silence for 4 days ;) In any case...I’m happy to be back from the ‘void’ now and DELIGHTED that you all seemed to enjoy the Monarch musings so much last week :) That’s so lovely :) Perhaps we can persuade him to write more frequently in the future... ;) I think he did a wonderful job...and feel very humbled to have such a loving, open-hearted and generous partner at my side… ;)
Thank you for ALL your messages to both of us during this last week – it’s taking a while to catch up with email, so please be patient if you’re still waiting for a response to smthg... ;)

Here’s what I had for the 4 days while I was away:
Jan 8th I had:

1.5 quarts water
1 papaya with lime juice
1 pint celery/cucumber/mizuna/parsley/apple/carrot/red chicory leaves/radish juice
2 cups water
bowl of mushed banana mixed with chopped basil and garlic, alfalfa sprouts and tahini, served with sunflower greens, cucumber sticks and a piece of macadamia/flax bread
1 mango
3 cups water
1 avocado mushed up with curry Alive Hummus & Himalayan salt, served with fresh salad – lettuce/tomato/cucumber/carrot/zucchini
3 cups water

On Jan the 9th I had:

1.5 quarts water
1 cup celery/cucumber/mizuna/parsley/apple/carrot/red chicory leaves/radish juice
big bowl of fruit salad: papaya/mango/kiwi/orange/apple/banana
1 quart water
½ a cup celery/cucumber/mizuna/parsley/apple/carrot/red chicory leaves/radish juice
¾ avocado mushed with Chilli Alive Hummus & Himalayan salt & lime juice served with cucumber sticks, a simple green salad and sunflower greens
1.5 quarts water
bowl of salad: lettuce, corn, tomatoes, onion, carrot, beetroot, cucumber, zucchini w/ olive oil & apple cider vinegar dressing, plus a little guacamole
10 dried figs dipped in tahini
1.5 quarts water

My silent retreat experience a word – INTENSE...I was in meditation for 11 hours a day, starting at 5.30am and finishing at 9pm daily. I really appreciated the gift of majorly slowing down and getting masses of clear ‘headspace’, with no distractions at all – no books, media, computers, phones – nothing – not even eye contact with others or speech. Vipassana is certainly an INWARDS process. This was not a ‘traditional’ Vipassana retreat though, by any means – those are 10 days long for newbies and apparently involve seated meditation all day long, often with many dozens of people in attendance. This one I attended was a kind ofprivate’ Vipassana with just 12 attendees, private rooms available, a mixture of both seated and walking meditations and the option to go for shorter periods – e.g. 4 days like I was able to go for. I have never done SUCH intensive meditation. I meditate every day in my usual life, for around 15 minutes in the morning, plus also ‘tune in’ throughout the day to re-connect to the Divine. That’s a BIG difference though to being in an almost constant state of meditation for days on end... I found the method of meditation very different to my own path. It was essentially the concept of going into the ‘void’, where the attention is on nothing other than one’s own breathing or walking, for moment after moment, minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day...noting one’s thoughts/feelings etc as they arise in the mind, then always bringing the focus back to the breath or walking feet. I felt a lot of resistance come up in me towards the whole process. While I appreciated the theoretical value of being ‘in the void’ so much as a way of connecting to truth, in my actual experience, I mostly found it...hmmmmm, how to put this...????, I’m very aware that Vipassana is a pathway of examining the self, so I guess we could draw some interesting conclusions then about my self-concept ;) In any case, my prevailing feeling was ‘where is the love in this process?’ It felt so...empty...I am able to go into the ‘void’ as I choose and certainly appreciate the break it offers me when I do – however, I don’t seem to resonate much with being in there hour after hour after feeling is that at the moment I am embodied here as a human and there are things to enjoy, love to share, people to interact with and so on...when I leave here and return to the void, that seems the time to really enjoy THAT reality, rather than being out there now, when I could be playing here instead. I hope that makes sense and that people realise I’m simply relating the truth of my personal experience here. I believe the paths to the Divine are many and the Truth is one. This kind of intense meditation is certainly a path that millions worldwide seem to embrace – it just doesn’t resonate that much for me – there are other paths and practices that speak to me much more – and I trust my feelings about that. My feelings are my guidance system. This kind of meditation also felt very ‘masculine’ to me – that love of the ‘void’. David Deida has a great way of explaining how people with masculine energy love to ‘die’ to everything and blank out into the void (picture the 'typical' scene of a guy coming home at the end of a working day, for example, sitting down and blankly flicking between TV channels). I felt that kind of energy in this process – a blanking out, shutting down…nothingness…empty…which can be great and yes of course at the ultimate level, that’s all there really is – nothing, everything, the grand illusion, the web of interconnectedness, the cosmic giggle…and this stage of my life, passing large amounts of time constantly in that kind of space doesn’t much appeal to me...
I’m back to my own daily meditations here at home and definitely sense how they have deepened as a result of my experience there...and I am also aware that this was my first experience of ‘dipping my toes’ into the deeeeeeeeeeeeeep waters of such intensive meditating and that perhaps in the future I will feel drawn to go there again...we shall see... ;)

On January the 10th I had:

1.5 quarts water
4tbsp chia gel w/ a big bowl of fruit salad: pineapple/plum/apple/kiwi/orange/mango/papaya/passion fruit/banana
1.5 quarts water
big slice of watermelon
salad of lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, zucchini, onion, carrot, beetroot, corn, served with avo mushed with hummus and salt, in romaine wraps
1.5 quarts water
2 tbsp chia gel w/ a bowl of fruit salad: black plum/pear/banana/cherries
little bowl of salad with apple cider vinegar/olive oil dressing and a little piece of macadamia/flax bread
1 quart water

On January the 11th I had:

1 quart water
4tbsp of chia gel with bowl of fruit salad: banana/mango/passion fruit/kiwi/orange/plum/apple/pineapple/pear
1.5 cups rooibus tea
big slice of watermelon
bowl of salad – lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, carrot, beetroot, corn, onion, served with avocado mushed with hummus & salt, served with romaine leaves
1.5 quarts water
3 black plums and a big handful of cherries
1 pint green juice with lemon
1 quart water

I felt extremely blessed in terms of the food I had during this retreat. As a 100% raw foodist, one of the main things that has already held me back from going on Vipassana was the fact that the catering is mostly cooked veggie/vegan dishes. As I said though, this was a more ‘private’ setting and my food choices were willingly embraced. The chef supplied me with some delicious salads, mostly made with produce straight from their organic gardens and with MUCH love ;) I then added in some denser foods and it all worked out fine :) As you can see from the above food lists for that period, I ate salads quite a lot – this was really interesting for me, as I can’t even remember the last time I ate a salad prior to this week – I just don’t eat stuff like that anymore. I drink my veggies far more often than eating them. There was no juicer to use there though, so I was eating salads and found that they were DELICIOUS – it felt really refreshing to eat such simple fare, prepared with a great deal of love and care. Chia and avo with hummus were definitely my saviours though during this event. I made up a batch of chia gel with water, put it in the fridge and would then spoon some out into fruit salads, to help balance my blood sugars and keep me satiated between sessions. Then I would mush up avocado with some of the Alive Hummus and have an instant yummy dip or sauce for salads. I would DEFINITELY recommend travelling with those 3 items... I was also delighted to see on my return to email-world that Mike Adams over at NewsTarget had published my ‘Chia Cheat Sheet’ article to his site in my absence – NICE – masses more people are getting turned on to the magic of chia now :) You can see the article on NewsTarget HERE.
I also noticed that I drank HUGE amounts of water during the retreat…I wasn’t getting my usual juice and the absence of celery and cucumber juice especially makes a big difference, besides which, I think my throat just felt dried out so much from not speaking...I actually didn’t even speak much for the first few hours after Mr Monarch came to collect felt too odd to do so...then as I started to speak...and smile...and LAUGH again, it was SO much fun – I was astounded by the sound of my own laugh – I had not heard it for so many days, it seemed huge and foreign...and I LOVED it :) It felt soooooooooooo good to laugh again and interact and fact, very rapidly, within just half an hour perhaps of leaving the retreat centre, it felt to me as if the whole thing had never even happened – or like it was all a dream – it was SO very far from the reality I was entering back into – watching the trees move past the car windows, holding hands with my beloved and gently, lovingly, joyfully laughing... ;)

All love,
Angela. xxx


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