The Spring retreat in Joshua Tree is ending, and 150 meditators are inclining their minds and hearts toward going home. They came seeking some relief from the stress they carry, some looking for forgiveness for themselves or others, some looking for a way to guide their lives from a deeper wisdom and some inspired by enlightenment, liberation, a vision of awakening compassion.
What they found was wild desert weather — scorching heat for some days, whipping winds of a powerful night storm, cold desert mornings and baroque cloud formations — unexpected dramatic weather, all punctuated with the calls of the owls nesting above where we sleep, the early morning voices of the coyotes, songbirds and mourning doves.
This climate was nothing compared to the inner weather — creatures and they sat with their longing, their wisdom, their tears and fears and strong intention — which deepened with every day — all under the vault of the vast desert sky. They came to meet with us, the team of teachers, to recount their triumphs, challenges, the stories of life that pour through. What a privilege to bear witness to these journeys, to watch people open like time-lapse photography of desert flowers.
They leave with shining eyes, softened smiles, radiant faces, knowing deeply that when we steadily incline the heart toward love, kindness, peace and understanding, it works! And once home, we discover that each time we sit quietly with this deep intention, we are together in a vast stillness that is unbroken by all that unfolds in our lives.
Image Credit: T. Goodman