It was a present from her. Five days at a silent retreat with Mooji. I cannot begin to describe how beautiful the whole experience was; how enriching and life-changing. All I can do for now is to record in the next few posts what my experience of those days was. This piece is the briefest of summaries, and subsequent posts will go into more detail about specific insights and aspects. Some background might be useful, so if you wish you can read the post, ‘The Conclusion Is Emptiness’, as well as the more recent one, ‘When Mooji Came To Town’.
I arrived having seen Mooji in Haarlem the previous weekend, knowing that something would happen, but not really knowing what, especially as this was my first silent retreat. She drove me there, and we said our goodbyes knowing we would not have contact again until it was all over. I tried to settle but found myself distracted for the whole of the first afternoon. I was distracted by the people. 1500 of them wandering the grounds of the castle, registering, finding their rooms, and settling into their new environment. By lunch on day one, however, that had faded sufficiently for me to realise that everything is a distraction. If it’s not the people, then it’s something else. Always. If I am not empty, then I am distracted.
I woke up early on day two with the realisation that I was attached to who I am. As with the previous day’s insight, this was nothing new or earth-shattering. What was different, however, was that I saw it, rather than merely understood it. In the seeing, integration is instant and enduring; not like the acknowledgement of a fact which can be forgotten. By the end of day two, I saw that each time I experienced the is-ness (pure awareness), it felt like a flat plane to me. An infinite one, sure, but still a plane. Further, it was a vertical one. A wall. Mooji warns against allowing the mind to form images of the is-ness. Yet again, the seeing allowed effortless change and the wall was replaced by an infinite nothingness.
Day three began with doubt. There seemed nothing I could do about it. I sat restlessly through the early-morning audio of the Invitation To Freedom*, and got nowhere. By breakfast the doubt had moved through thoughts of ‘I’m not working hard enough’ and ‘I don’t want this enough’, before finally settling, on ‘I’m not worthy’. In that instant, I was able to observe the unworthiness. Observing it (from the place of the is-ness) I saw that it is not who I am. As Mooji stresses over and over again, we are not the mind; we are not the persona; we are not who we believe ourselves to be.
Every one of these insights was easy. Effortless. Mooji had told us that with each Invitation (there were two each day) we would hear more of his words. At some point I noticed the words effortless and empty as descriptions of the is-ness. They had a profound effect on me, pulling me directly in, embracing and engulfing me. I need no other encouragement than to inhabit a place which is effortless and empty.
At the end of day three, there was contagious laughter as we queued for the evening’s Satsang. 900 people standing silently, except for eruptions of uncontrolled laughter spreading in waves throughout the group. As we filed into the hall, some were instructed to calm down before going in. That says so much about this work. There is room for release, but there is a need for focus.
Day four was easier, insofar as I was able to access the is-ness more readily and more often. It was also a more normal day. It seemed as though I had peaked on days two and three, and now things were settling down somewhat. I felt a little disappointment. The previous feelings had been so good, but that only reminded me of more of Mooji’s wisdom. Regardless of how we feel about our progress – good or bad – we are not those feelings either.
Day five was a short one. One more Satsang in the morning and then she was there waiting to take me home. I ran to meet her. She had given me such a gift. I felt so blessed. We embraced, having had no contact of any kind for the entire duration of my stay. As we hugged, I realised I’d had no physical contact for that whole time either. I didn’t want to let go. I cried into her neck and shoulder. Will she ever know what she has done for me? I like to think she will.