01 November 2014

It may not be what you think

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by Florence Waters

It took me a long time to pluck up the courage to go on my first week-long silent meditation retreat. I think I was a little embarrassed. Though I loved yoga, the idea of meditating in silence for a full week seemed extreme to me, almost fanatical. I thought I’d have more fun if I took the week to chill out somewhere hot with friends.

A persisting health problem made me cave in. Though the week was not easy, it was a fascinating journey, full of highs and lows. I probably learned as much in a week as I did in a whole term of university. But these are things you can learn only from experiencing them – things no book on earth can teach you.

Something Burgs said at the beginning of the week really struck me: “Some of you have come here because of a health problem, or because you’re working through something. But I think you’re probably not here to fix what you think you’re here to fix.”

I really took issue with that. ‘How can he know my problem?’ I thought. It took me all week, between sitting still and finding peace on that cushion and wrestling with my thoughts in between, to discover and fully admit that he had been right.

Every person I know would benefit from the experience of sitting in silence and regular meditation for a week. And there’s only one easy way to do that – get Burgs to teach you!

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