Silent Mindfulness Meditation Retreat
A few weeks ago, some of our mindful students had the opportunity to join esteemed mindfulness teacher, Heather Prete on a three-day DEN Meditation retreat in Joshua Tree. Everyone arrived, trickling in on the first day. Previously known as the Center of Mental Physics, the retreat-goers stayed in the breathtaking (and camp-like!) Joshua Tree Retreat Center. Although this was primarily a silent mindfulness meditation retreat, the first night was all about understanding the journey they were about to embark on. Before the first sit, instructions were given, phones were turned in and kitchen duties were assigned.
Eager to get to know the people joining them in this process of self-awareness, the students chatted over snacks and desserts. People from all walks of life came together; students from the MAPS program, others who found it by chance, and our very own DENizens who have taken Happiness (a mindfulness meditation based practice taught by Heather)! Included in this eclectic group was nutritional therapist, Emily – an incredible chef who prepared delicious, healthy food throughout the retreat! After dinner, conversation morphed into silence as meditation under the stars began.
“The ensuing silence was beautiful, as were the stars…so bright without the city lights. I saw three shooting stars,” says Laurasia, a retreat-goer and intimacy coach with a background in tantric meditation.
To start off the next morning, mindfulness meditation students did yoga outdoors. At breakfast, the group entered their silence, officially. Many students recall being nervous at the start of the journey because they had never been silent for more than a few hours! “All you could hear was the clanking of the plates and chewing… It was peaceful.” Initially, it was difficult to stay silent and people were tempted to say “Good morning” to their roommates upon waking. However, as the weekend progressed, it became easier to remain silent. The serenity and bliss felt natural throughout the day, with meditations and mindful eating practices becoming the norm.
Each day brought longer and longer sits. By day three, participants were sitting for an hour straight, focusing on their inner consciousness and separating their thoughts from their true self. Overall, the retreat was a huge success. The practitioners came as acquaintances and left as family. And, while it may be difficult to practice mindfulness meditation in Los Angeles, that is exactly what The DEN Meditation offers: a getaway for those who desire one… a step away from the noise and clamor… a safe space to focus on yourself through the practice of mindfulness. Just like the retreat, you can come to The DEN Meditation alone, and leave with new-found friends that last a lifetime.
Bringing Ourselves into the Heart of Compassion
“The most amazing realization for myself and others seems not to be that we are so hard on ourselves, but that there is a space for us in our own circle of caring. It’s as if blinders have been put on a horse. We stay on the course being steered by our inner critic. Once we expand our consciousness through practice, the blinders come off, and we wonder at the fact that we forgot to care for ourselves the way we care for others….”