Regular retreat involving 11 participants took place in Lykoshino village on July 10-17th.
Retreat is a spiritual practice aimed to create the atmosphere of seclusion, dipping in oneself and abandonment by Sadhaka of the outer world.
This magnificent quiet place located between Moscow and Saint-Petersburg – Lykoshino Retreat Centre - totally contributed to this aim. We were met by the owner of the house, Hamid, who also helped us with organizational questions.
Retreat was carried out by the Centre Senior Mentor – Catherine.
Retreat consisted of two parts:
First part of retreat (2 days)
- First two days were concentrated devoted to quieting and clearing the mind
- In the morning, outdoors Sadhakas were doing exercises (“Clearing of the Wind” and Falun Dafa), focused on the clearing of the channels (nadi) of subtle body and harmonization of the physical body Energies
- There were held lectures about the nature of the Mind and Ego, based on the writings of such Spiritual Teachers as Sri Aurobindo, Eckhart Tolle and Swami Vishnu Dev
- Participants of the retreat were initiated into basic practical methods focusing on the work with the mind: observation of the breathing , getting into the interval between thoughts and effortless keeping the mind quiet and still. These techniques were carried out 4 times a day during one hour each and were followed alternated by dynamic practice Chankramanam
- Chankramanam is a practice of conscious walking that intends to develop consciousness awareness. During this practice all movements of the body are done naturally, without any efforts, goals and purposes. While walking, one shouldn’t draw his attention away to any thoughts and outer things and keep on concentrating purely on body movements. This practice can be considered as “dynamic meditation” (dhyana). It was conducted several times a day during half an hour.
- During leisure time Sadhakas were studying writings of Sri Aurobindo, namely, section “The foundation of Sadhana” from «Letters on Yoga» during the first two days.
Second part of retreat (5 days)
After partial stilling and clearing of the nature and mind, deeper practices were done during the next 5 days.
- " Every day after morning exercises there was one-hour collective recitation of mantra “Gayatri of Sri Aurobindo”), whereas in the evenings Sadhakas were dipping into The Mother mantra “Om Namo Bhagavate”.
One-hour static meditation included:
- Meditation on four great Personalities of the Mother (Maheshwari, Mahakali, Mahalak?mi, Mahasarasvati). During this dhyana there were read description of each Personality followed by the concentration on Their Energies, Qualities and Their Presence. At the end of the meditation we appealed to the Original Mother , Mahashakti, that emanates these four Personalities.
- There also was meditation with concentration on the “Planes of the Being”. While doing this practice Sadhakas were gradually – plane by plane - trying to open up subtle instrument (Antahkarana) to the Divine energy, Shakti, that is descending from the area above the head.
- Some meditations were conducted through the Mentor’s reading of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s writings. By listening them, Sadhakas were turning on and sinking into Sri Aurobindo’s mantra-language that possesses magnificent Divine Power. The extracts were dedicated to the surrender, spiritual aspiration, uncovering and opening up of the Soul and Psychic being.
- As well Sadhakas were individually studying some key definitions of the Integral yoga such as: Jiva (Soul), Psychic being, Atman, Jivatman, Central being etc.
- During leisure time Sadhakas continued reading works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, studying next chapters of «Letters on Yoga»: “The Object of Integral Yoga” and “Basic Requisites of the Path” etc.
- More subtle inner concentrations and settings were done during dynamic outdoor meditations(Chankramanam):
- Walking focused on realizing and opening-up area above the head
- Walking with a concentration on the heart area followed by the feeling of sincerity, love and total openness to the Divine
- Practice of Pure Vision – walking with a concentration on the main thought that everything around us and what we see is the Divine
- Before going to bed there was yoga-nidra.
During the whole period of retreat Sadhakas were keeping mauna (vow of silence) that is the one of the main retreat rule. This restriction enables massive energy accumulation and an increase of the level of awareness. Free time (2 hours per day) was occupied by the physical exercises (that are necessary for the grounding), reading and walking in the pine forest, where the Sadhakas got the possibility to stay alone with themselves and God.
An essential part of retreat practices is the Spirit of Surrender to the Divine, that is why the first thing Sadhakas did in the morning was prostration to the Murthi of the Masters which are the manifestation of the Divine.
Retreat provides the possibility to feel and experience the Discipline of the Spiritual life thus helping Sadhaka to ease and shorten his way to the Divine.
Meanwhile, currently winter retreat is taking place in Lykoshino village. Let’s support Sadhakas in this Spiritual Work!
There are times when action is unwise or impossible; then go into Tapasya in some physical solitude or in the retreats of thy soul and await whatever divine word or manifestation.