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Entering the Silence

January 14, 2013 0 Comments


Happy new year, everyone!  It’s so good to be back to writing here again.  As I mentioned in my last entry, I went on a 4 day/3 night silent meditation retreat to bring in the new year.  It was so incredibly powerful that it’s worth spending this entire entry on it.  After the retreat, I gently eased into the new year, and settled in to a level of peace and joy that I have never experienced before.  I also took some time to document all of the breakthroughs and miracles that occurred before, during, and after the retreat.

The retreat was led by Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith, co-founder and Spiritual Leader of the Agape International Spiritual Center in Culver City, CA.  I used to attend Agape when I lived in California, and have frequently “LOVEstreamed” (what Agape affectionately calls live streaming) service from Washington, DC, where I currently reside (For those who are interested, you can check out the archives for free here).  The retreat was held at Joshua Tree Spiritual Retreat Center in Joshua Tree, CA.  It was such a beautiful and peaceful setting.  The photo above is one I pulled over to take while driving there.

This is the first formal meditation retreat I have taken.  As some of you may recall, I went on a personal retreat last January in Yogaville, VA, and also went on a low-key vacation at a yoga and meditation nature retreat in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica in July of 2012.  Neither of those were group trips with a planned agenda.  I had no idea what to expect at the Agape retreat, but had the overwhelming feeling that I was guided there for a reason.  I got my plane ticket just two weeks prior to the retreat because I heard a message in meditation that urged me to go there.

“When we enter meditation, we are removing the layers we perceive between ourselves and God.” ~Michael Bernard Beckwith

The days began at 6:00am with contemplative meditation.  On some days there was a short inspirational reading, like “More Loving in my Heart” by Howard Thurman, before we entered into the silence.  On other days, there was a Peruvian family that blessed us with their incredible native flute music, drums, and native spiritual wisdom before meditation.  Everyone was able to meditate in the position and location that was most comfortable to them.  Some people were seated on cushions on the floor, some were lying down, and others were sitting in chairs.  The meditation sitting ended at 7:00am.

There were optional yoga classes from 7:30-8:30am.  I attended the class led by Naam Yoga.  No exaggeration, it was the most unique and fun yoga class I’ve taken.  I loved the combination of dance, chanting, movement, and stretching.  They even gave us all a drop of ylang ylang essential oil for some aromatherapy before we got started.  From beginning to end, it was designed to activate all of the chakras.  And, that it did.  I left feeling invigorated, and with a strong sense of being cleansed emotionally.  After meditation and yoga the first day, I wrote this in my journal:

“It’s as if the past is just washing off of me bit by bit.  It’s coming off as tears, pain in the body, runny nose, and in other ways I have yet to tune into but can sense.  I am just letting it go.  When the tears come, I let them be.  I don’t try to hide my emotions to look good for others in attendance.  I am just allowing my true Self to rise to the surface in all its purity.  It’s like now that I have the recognition and full awareness that ‘I AM,’ I need to shed anything that can’t live at that level.  I am in awe of what is being revealed to me in the pure stillness…No music. No mantras.  No guided meditation.  Just me, reconnecting to my Higher Self – the God in me.” 

Breakfast was from 8:30-9:30, and was absolutely amazing.  There were vegetarian, vegan, and raw food options that were all gourmet quality.  I seriously had to pace myself in my eating because it was tempting to go back for seconds (and thirds…and :-)).  The flavors, the combinations, the variety…yum!  My mouth is watering while typing about it!

The next session started back up at 10:00am and went until 12:00pm.  The pacing of the sessions was perfect, and infused with singing/chanting led by Rev. Michael’s amazing wife, Rickie Byars Beckwith.  I’ve posted her music multiple times on this blog, but here’s a link to one of the many that I love, “All Fades Into God.”  That song is so fitting for what I experienced at the retreat…all faded into God.  After a few songs, Rev. Michael would share some wisdom, and then lead us into spiritual meditation.

“Spiritual meditation is sitting in stillness with the sole purpose of having an awareness of your oneness with God.” ~Michael Bernard Beckwith

This pattern (music, talks, meditation) continued throughout the day, with meal breaks in between.  The day wrapped up around 10:00pm each day, with the exception of New Year’s Eve.  On this day, we participating in a traditional Peruvian new year ceremony.  We released the past.  We cried.  We lifted one another up.  We prayed.  We healed. We laughed.  We danced.  It was a joyous celebration, and I feel honored to have participated in it.

By the end of the retreat, I felt like a new woman.  Totally cleansed of my attachment to the desires of the ego, and fully shining in the Light of my true Self.  That feeling has not left since that day.  I was given so much guidance and direction by the Spirit while in the silence.  I’m still trying to process it all, and am in awe of all that is unfolding each day by the grace of God.  I am clear that I am a vessel through which the Infinite flows.  Since I have gotten my boulders out of the way, Spirit is flowing seamlessly.  So many demonstrations of the Power within that have taken place just since the retreat.  I can’t fit all of the insights and miracles that have come into this post.  For now, I’ll just say that there is SO much more to come – via this blog, and other ways that I have now been guided to share.  I’m so grateful for the time to pause, reflect, release, and restore my soul.

“Stillness connects us with new territory within ourselves, what was covered up by old habits and patterns.” ~Michael Bernard Beckwith

Agape will be hosting another silent meditation retreat in the Spring of 2013.  I highly, highly recommend it!  It does not matter whether you’re new to meditation or if you’ve been meditating for years – Rev. Michael is a master at making everyone comfortable and explaining all that you need to know in order reach the still space within you.  I will post the details for the upcoming retreat as soon as they become available.  The new year retreat will also be taking place to bring in 2014, and I plan to attend once again.  Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or would like more information about the retreat.  Also, I mentioned the “Living in the Light” blog to Rev. Michael, and he told me to tell all of you “hello!”  Wishing you all many still moments in 2013!  Much love!

“To the individual who can most perfectly practice INaction, all things are possible.” ~Plotinus

Keep shining!


Kandace Jones

About the Author:

I used to live life shackled by fear, doubt, and worry. I put on a happy face while navigating my day-to-day duties, but I was emotionally drained, stressed, and unhappy. When I hit rock bottom, and was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I was determined to live life differently. I knew there had to be another way. Out of that determination, and guidance from Spirit, the "Living in the Light" blog was born. It documents my spiritual journey out of the darkness and into the Light. After nine months of publicly sharing my journey, and consciously releasing my attachment to the ego, I experienced a powerful spiritual awakening. I went from living in fear, doubt, worry, and stress to complete inner peace. My greatest passion has become assisting others on their own journey to inner peace. My spiritual memoir, From Stress to Peace: An Intimate Journal on the Journey from Living in Darkness to Living in the Light, is available now on Amazon and Click the tabs at the top of the page to learn more about the From Stress to Peace 21-Day Challenge, Living in the Light Retreats, 1:1 sessions, and the Living in the Light Community - all of which are designed to support your journey to inner peace. I appreciate you taking the time to visit the blog and look forward to supporting you in any way I can!