My spiritual journey that started this summer led me to Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health all the way in Massachusetts. I have never heard of it before, but also I was never looking before. In the last few months I’ve been listening to Krishna Das’ music and Metta Hour podcast by Sharon Salzberg. The two are my favorite teachers. Krishna Das being so matter of fact when he talks, giving you the best advice that perhaps you probably knew but weren’t ready to hear. And Sharon with her kind voice, and lovely laugh infuses everything with kindness. I wished they were my best friends.
I wanted to see Krishna Das live and in the last minute I was able to actually see both of them on a 3 day retreat in Kripalu in Stockbridge, MA. And I was sooo lucky that it was last week, because folks currently we are under an ‘unofficial’ quarantine in this country due to corona virus and so many places have closed, and many events have cancelled. In fact Kripalu is closed through mid April.
I went alone, which aside from being relaxing and not having to worry about anyone else but me, was beneficial to get me out of my comfort zone and actually talk to people.
The kitchen at Kripalu also features ‘silent breakfast’ and devices of any kind are not allowed during other meals. You have no choice but to sit next to somebody and connect. The way we used to connect in the past, long time ago, before cell phones.
The workshop was great, full of wisdom, kind words, truth. In a room full of people, all seeking the same thing: happiness – safety – comfort, all going through the same thing: suffering which life inevitably brings in different quantities all the time, to all of us.
Here are some highlights:
Learning to bring my focus on the breath: in, out, in out. Thoughts entering, gently dismiss them, come to realization that I was thinking and then breathe again.
Practicing loving kindness meditation which is sending love and kindness to yourself, a benefactor, a neutral person, a difficult person and then all beings. It goes something like this: May I be happy, may I be healthy, may I feel safe, may I live with ease.
Then do the same for a benefactor (a friend, a pet, someone that makes you smile), a neutral person (the mailman-woman, barista, grocery clerk), a difficult person (someone you really don’t want to be around, and you don’t have to start with your worst enemy, you can practice with a smaller nemesis and gradually move to your #1 enemy), and then to all beings.
Chanting with Krishna Das. The vibration of the voices, the energy in the room was like a warm blanket, feeling safe and relaxed. When you sing there is nothing else to do, you don’t need to think of anything else, so you just let go of all the garbage that is going on in your head.
Below are some photos of my experience.