The Power of a Silent Retreat

Lotus RockThe heart of our up-coming “Tibetan Path in India” tour is a ten-day silent meditation retreat, held at a Tibetan Buddhist facility near Dharamsala, India.

The tour host, Lisa Tully, offers these comments on the benefits of doing a silent retreat…

Silence is about connection with God.

Silence brings your direct connection with ultimate reality, which you always have, into your conscious awareness. Silence is how you make contact with your real self, your divine nature, your God-ness, if you will.

In Buddhism silence is an essential component on the path to enlightenment. So is regularly retreating from daily life, both individually and in groups.

But perhaps, as you contemplate this quest or whether to book this adventure, you think less about the accomplishment of silence and less about the goals you wish to reach.

Reflect instead on re-establishing your direct connection to The Universe.

It’s not about the day dream on how blissful life would be if you did realize your God-ness on this trip.  It’s about opening yourself, in the moment, to The Divine.

Opening yourself to receive powerful pure love, acceptance, and beauty. This is the real gift of silence; why you sit for fifteen hours a day for ten days.

To remember what it feels like to be touched by God plainly, simply, and lastingly. 

I will also tell you that once you begin planning for this quest, your retreat has already begun. The Universe immediately begins to bring to your life all that you need for this experience.

When you feel the flow of everything effortlessly falling into place to get you to India, this is God preparing to greet you.

When the challenges, obstacles, and doubts arise, this is God showing you what you need to address in your inner and outer life in order to be able to be open enough to remember your connection and relationship.

Each moment of flow and each moment stress is a gentle nudge from God saying, “It’s started. Look within. Do it now.”

My lesson is to remember the need for regular silence in my own life. To remember to wake up each morning with a vow on my lips and a prayer in my heart to feel my God-ness and live my truth. Part of which is that, the real power of silence lies in reconnecting with The Divine most fully.

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Attending Dalai Lama teachings in India

by Lisa Tully

Sitting in the temple the day before the teachings begin. I have come to claim a spot to sit for the duration of the three days. I have come to take pictures since I won’t be able to later.

I have come to find where the bathrooms are!

What I unexpectedly find is a sense of contentment and calm just being there.

It’s the energy coming from the sacred space itself. I find I’m in a meditative state just sitting on the bench that I’ve found. It’s off to the right of the main teaching hall.

I’ve claimed a piece of it with my name on a scrap piece of paper and some tape offered to me by a kind stranger.

It feels good here.

There are a lot of logistical things that need to happen to attend a teaching (getting yourself to Dharamsala, registering at the security office, reading up on the etiquette, learning what can and can’t go through security), but none of that matters once you arrive.

Because “arrive” is exactly what you do.

You arrive to the present moment. You arrive to an open heart and mind. You arrive to a state of centeredness that you seem to share with the thousands of other people in the room.

It just happens. The first morning I arrive with my radio for the translation and my bowl and mug for the butter tea and lunch of rice and dal. I’m flooded with a sense of happiness.

There is no where I’d rather be.

I arrive early and the people watching is deeply moving. Many do their prostrations and recite the common mantra of “Om Mani Padme Hum” while doing kora around the inner temple.

There is a shift in the crowd as His Holiness begins to make his way through the hall and into the main temple.

Everyone stands, everyone is silent, and everyone gets happier.

He comes around the corner into view. My first glimpse of him he is reaching out to take someone’s hand in greeting.

Tears instantly well up in my eyes. I have no thoughts.

I feel only gratitude and happiness. I remember what a friend once told me: just to see him is to be blessed. I make eye contact with the monk standing beside me. He sees my tears and simply nods as if to say, “Yes, I know.”

I take notes during the teaching. Even though the text is a basic one, some parts feel like advanced Buddhist philosophy to me.

But there is so much patience in his teaching. So much humility as well. At one point he talks about how previous Dalai Lama’s were known to have prophetic visions but that he himself had never had any.

He then jokes:

“I like to say that maybe I don’t have visions like the others, but I’m the most famous Dalai Lama!”

And as he laughs his joy spreads through the crowd like a ripple in a pond for his laughter is so infectious.

Each day as the teaching ends I sit and talk with one of the monks sitting near me. At first I try to process with him, clarify points from the teaching.

He stops me saying:

“Let what comes, come. Don’t force it. You will take away what you were meant to take away.”

After that reminder, we just sit on our bench each day, silently watching everyone file downstairs for lunch. No words are needed beyond “Good-bye” and “See you in the morning.”

Our joint meditation is the perfect end to a profound experience.

Would like to experience this magic yourself? Join us on our next spiritual trip to Dharamsala, India. We will make sure you have a wonderful, safe and profound time in India with the Dalai Lama and his community. Click here for information.

 

Photos sourced on Pinterest from Xaron White, Wendie Berry and Sema64.

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Impressions of India

outsideOur most recent “Tibetan Path in India” tour ended a few weeks ago, and it was interesting to hear what some of the people who were on the journey had to say about it. Tour host Lisa Tully may be a bit red in the face from all the glowing praise she received. Here are some highlights:

Words cannot begin to describe how grateful I am to you for opening my eyes to this spiritual path and the lovely Tibetan people & culture. This trip has blown me away in every way and I truly was the happiest I have ever been in my life!

Every time I thought I had just had the most unique experience of my life, another new experience was already topping the previous one! Your unencumbered love and compassion Lisa shone through in the thoughtfulness and thoroughness you put into every small detail!

I was a little wary coming into such a different and foreign country, but it didn’t take long for me to have complete faith that all of my concerns and worries were baseless because we had such great leaders in you, Lama, Tenzin and Lobsang. This was a life changing life altering experience that I feel everyone needs to experience in their lifetime.

I felt VERY comfortable with the group and the tour leaders. I felt like every small detail had been thought through and at no point was I concerned about my well being or the details of the tour. With that said, I think it is important to stay flexible and roll with the punches. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for everything!
-Kristin, USA

The Tibetan quarter of Delhi is a great little place to explore. There are many restaurants, which Lisa will point out to you! She even showed us where to get a wonderful pedicure for super cheap, which was welcomed after a long journey.

The journey to Dharmsala is long but totally worth it! You will really enjoy it! That town is amazing! The streets are narrow, and buzzing with people which we are told is only when the Dalai Lama is in town! Lisa plans out the days wonderfully allowing for plenty of free time to explore.

Have no fear on this spiritual journey for if you let yourself be open India will embrace you!
-Nisha, Canada

If you have been thinking about going on one of Lisa’s Tibetan Path tours but had some concerns, perhaps hearing about the experience from others will ease your mind.

There will be another similar program coming up November 16 – December 6, 2013. It also features a Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat as well as attending teachings by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. To get more information please click here.

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Two New India Tours Announced

Body Mind Spirit Journeys has announced two new tours to India.

The first is another Tibetan Path in India tour that includes attending three days of teachings by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It also includes a 10-day Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat at the world renowned Tushita center in McLeod Ganj, a suburb of Dharamsala in the Himalayan foothills. The meditation program is an introductory course, suitable for beginners as well as more advanced practitioners. There is also a cultural exchange program, enabling you to visit the homes and meet family members and make friends in the Tibetan refugee community. Dates are November 16 through December 6, 2013. For more details of the Dalai Lama and meditation retreat program please go to http://bodymindspiritjourneys.com/dharamsala-tour.html

The second is a rare opportunity to explore the ancient traditions of Tibetan shamans and oracles. The “Mystics of Ladakh” tour is primarily focused in and around Leh, the largest town in Ladakh. Tour host Lisa Tully promises an authentic experience, eating and praying in the homes of local people, both monastic and lay, Tibetan and Ladakhi, yogi and shaman. Lisa says that the people of Ladakh encompass the mystical in everything they do in their daily lives. Dates of the program are March 6 – 19, 2014. There will also be an option to visit the Taj Mahal as well as experiencing sufi music in Delhi. The tour also focuses on the Tibetan goddess Green Tara. We will learn her mantra to assist in healing and granting other requests.

To learn more about the Mystics of Ladakh tour, click on: http://bodymindspiritjourneys.com/ladakh-tour.html

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Insights on the Dharamsala Buddhist Meditation Retreat

One of the greatest challenges of going on a spiritual journey in a strange land is facing the unknown. And when that journey includes a ten-day silent meditation retreat, even the most fearless pilgrim may need some reassurances of what the experience will be like. For anyone who has been thinking about going on the Tibetan Path in India Tour and Retreat May 30 – June 17, 2013, it may be useful to hear from someone who has already had the experience.

Lee Ann went on the trip in June 2012. Here is what she had to say afterwards:

lee-ann“I am very glad to have had the opportunity to join in this journey. Still yet, almost a year later, the trip is on my mind every day. I have a new perspective on life that I believe I will carry all through my life.

New and different always is unsettling; however, with greater risks there are greater rewards. The first night upon arriving there are doubts & fears. That said, even from the start at the airport pick up gate, an English speaking person was provided, as I only speak English; which was very helpful. During the trip Lisa was personally on hand as well as the monks; which gave me confidence & comfort. She provided the necessary information to stay safe and healthy and guided us all through the maneuvers to new locations; which gave me freedom without worries.

The trip was the most profound trip I have ever taken and I would not trade it for any other trip. I am so grateful to have the experience as well as for such great causes; spiritual development, & education regarding the plight of the Tibetan people. I have grown and am a different person for having made the trip and for jumping in with both feet ready.

The land is very different from my home. However, by the end of the trip and even after having left, I have the sense that I could easy have remained there and would even consider living there. The land and people have my heart.”

Lisa Tully is the tour leader for the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhist meditation tours that Body Mind Spirit Journeys offers. Here is what she had to say about Lee Ann:

For us it was obvious that Lee Ann was serious about her spiritual growth from day one. She embraced the land that is India like a true spiritual warrior. With grace and acceptance. So to know a dedicated person like her got all of this from our tour, tells us we are hitting the mark with the kind of people we want to hit it with.

Are you an authentic seeker who would enjoy a similar experience? For details on our next tour to Dharamsala click here.

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