Monday, August 20, 2012

Appreciating Silence

I've just finished a week long visit to Nilambe, a meditation center in the mountains of southern Sri Lanka.  I could not have discovered this place at a more opportunistic time!  My Ashtanga yoga instructor in Bali heard great things about it, but hadn't had the chance to visit yet.  I took her word for it and contacted them.  As some of you may know, Sri Lanka was not originally in my travel plans, but due to complications (and serious overpricing) getting my visa for India while in Indonesia was unrealistic. I needed to make an additional stop somewhere for at least one week to apply.  I was lucky, because it just so happened that there are tons of Hindi holidays and of course, the embassy is closed for all of them.  There were four official holidays in the seven business days following the date I applied, so in reality it almost took two weeks to finally get my visa, but it was well worth it because I saved $250 by avoiding Bali bureaucracy!

My experience at Nilambe could not have been better.  This summer was a major transition, from living and traveling in Asia for more than two years to readjusting to life in North America.  I had plenty of time to relax, rejuvenate, and focus on what my next moves in life would be.  Additionally, it was very convenient to go there immediately following my intensive yoga program as it gave me the much needed time to continue my daily practice.  Developing a daily yoga practice is a challenge, and becomes even more difficult to maintain when you're always on the move.  The schedule at Nilambe included "Mindfulness in Motion" which was time set aside every day for a physical meditation practice.

There are many meditation centers in North America that offer similar retreats.  Although I have not participated in the well known 10 day silent Vipassana retreats, it is something I'm open minded to now after having such a positive experience at Nilambe.  Shambala is another worldwide organization that has many resources for anyone interested in developing a meditation practice.  My advice is just try it, on your own, with a group, or at a retreat. Your only loss might be a few minutes or hours of the day that you might have spent watching TV.

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