The silence calls.
It has called for years.
Since 2005, I have answered by immersion in silence at least once each year,
sometimes more if possible.
This year, visited a retreat center for the first time: Spirit Falls in Pine, AZ.
Pine, AZ ( el. 5500 ft.), a woodsy town of under 2000 people, nestles in the mountainous center of the state.
Factors which inclined to trying a new retreat place:
location, remarkable affordability and a comment on the Spirit Falls website…
November to mid-March is ideal for sabbaticals and silent meditation retreats, when occasional snows blanket the forest with moisture and deepen the joyous silence.
That just about sealed it.
Drove up a few months ago, gawked at the towering Ponderosa pines, breathed deeply of the fresh, crisp air and drove home to reserve a cabin – the Hopi room – for one week.
The retreat host Bodhi Heart brings a wealth of experience and insight in the field of silent retreats. He currently spends lots of time in silence.
Bodhi also finesses a delicate balance as a host of silent retreats; making himself available most of the time while simultaneously appearing very little out on the property.
( above – Bodhi with picture of Mt. Arunachula in background )
Bodhi listened to some of my ” spiritual journey ” with quick, broad smiles and his eyes gently resting closed, as if to hear more keenly.
When he made an occasional comment, it seemed to bubble up from a deep well of silence, as though he had lived a contemplative life long enough so that silence became second nature – first nature, really.
Bodhi shared some of his favorite classics; books from both Robert Adams and Ramana Maharshi, enriching many of the retreat evenings after dark.
Food is on one’s own; the cabin has a little kitchen.
Every morning, deer walked, pranced and darted within 20 ft. of the cabin windows.
Squirrels gnawed and nibbled on pine cones and chased each other.
Hawks flew over the treetops.
The property resounds with silence.
If silence is what you are looking for, here it waits.
The days passed as quickly as the mountain clouds above.
Living as our ancestors did,I followed the sun as a metronome, allowing the sun to dictate the day’s next activity.
I left the retreat with a new, refreshed perspective;
not really wanting to re-immerse in the noise and business of working life,
restored in a way that is hard to describe.
Mind quiet and deeply calm.
Am planning to return to Spirit Falls.
The silence still calls.
Sister Retreat site 2 miles away, still in operation by same manager: https://www.awakeningspiritretreat.com/
How to find retreats : http://www.retreatfinder.com/
Photo of Bodhi Heart and Mt. Arunachula taken by the author on site.
Robert Adams dialogues in paperback.
A blog about Robert Adams : http://advaitarobertadams.blogspot.com/
Photo of Ramana Maharshi from here.
For more info on Ramana Maharshi: