The pine leaves crunched as I stepped off the sun filled path. I was acutely tuned to the sounds around me. It’s day three of our silent retreat, no speaking, just being present. With less distractions I watched as my mind blended into its surroundings.

There was no conversation to get distracted in just sometimes the conversation in my head but even those I noticed were less. A thought would grab my attention and I played with it for a while but found I didn’t want that either. A conscious clearing formed in my mind and I was taken by how I could be with it. I took notice of it as it seldom occurred in my constantly full brain. I found myself so much more relaxed and my mind felt crystal clear as the day itself.

I stopped suddenly. Something within me told me to stop. I looked up and found myself in front of very large cobweb and there in the middle was an enormous cunning looking spider. If I had taken another step my nose would have met with his. How instinctive, had I been distracted in thought or conversation I would have easily missed this subtle sense and walked right into him. I carefully observed this deep innate connection within and how grateful I felt being fully present in this moment, not giving myself nor the spider a shock.

I was eager to share this story with my fellow retreaters but of course not possible, there were another couple of days of silence to follow. When we met for dinner later, I was taken by how effortless and in flow it was to be together, share a meal to ask, acknowledge and show gratitude all in silence. There was a natural calm, a presence and respect for everyone’s space in silence.

We continued with our daily yoga practice and the various meditations throughout the day. My reflections became a lot deeper anything of concern seemed to dissipate or I would find an answer with my greater clarity of mind. My sense of appreciation and gratitude was stronger towards myself and others. I felt profoundly closer to my emotions during this time and if I felt sadness, anger or upset I would watch the emotion, be present with it without judgement and it would find its way to the surface and then just dissolve.

The more I relaxed the easier this process became. It reminded me of the birth and death cycles explained in yoga texts many of our experiences exist in such cycles all at varying stages some continuing, others coming to an end and some just beginning. There remain remnants of those, often the more painful ones, lingering not completely closed, the feelings of which are still fully felt.

The essence of mindfulness, of being present without judgment and just observing is so effortless to do here so difficult at home with the daily demands and distractions.

I turn the page, Ouspensky writes In Search of the Miraculous, that of Gurdjieffs teachings, the inner work is essential if we are to really get to know ourselves, we must awaken from our sleep.