The Innermost Gem

The first warm weather in weeks has come to the New Dharma Center here in Washoe Valley, Nevada. Weeks and weeks of snow, rain and wind. The weather is now moving into the 70’s. This is perfect timing for the first Silent Weekend Retreat of the summer. We are hosting it in the twenty foot meditation dome here. Without good weather the Dome can be incredibly uncomfortable as it is basically a big tent without insulation or heating. Yet it is a fantastic space. Perfect for spiritual works so we struggle with the weather.

Today, five of us have set aside four days to participate in a Silent Weekend Retreat, leaving behind our lives to enter into a deep dimension of silence and stillness. We started this program after my 2009 stay in India where I realized that the source of all spiritual experience and in fact the source of who we are, lives in silence and stillness.

The inner most being is subtle, like butterfly wings it is delicate and fragile, easily overpowered by strong sensations, feelings, thoughts, desires and ambitions. Learning to know this most subtle quality requires turning our attention away from these outer things, away from the endless, inner turmoil of mind, vital feelings and drives, of distractions and activities, inwards, towards something so subtle it is easily overlooked. In the normal course of life it can only be known through our most inspired, elevated thoughts and feelings. Although it is behind all beauty, art, poetry and perfection, which is what draws us to these things, it can not easily be known directly by these things. They are only its reflections.

Yet for all its subtlety the discovery of this innermost being is the most important event of a human life. It will come through the process of life after one has experienced enough suffering. Or it will come through committed religious or spiritual activity such as studying scriptures and other spiritual teachings, mantra or prayer, self restraint, sacrifice or devotion. This second is a much quicker means of discovery as it is the focus of our attention rather than the normal life most human beings live, which is at best a partially conscious struggle between our lower and higher nature.

So this is the purpose of this Silent Weekend, to introduce or reintroduce our outer self to our inner being. Usually this brings peace and joy and often life changing insights and experiences. Hosting these events brings me profound satisfaction. So a look forward to this intimate time together with those who have joined me for this weekend, manifesting this hidden, exquisite gem that is truly who we are.

Love and blessings,

Sat Shree