Last week I had the privilege of spending time with 23 students and 7 teenagers in the South of Spain. There was no Wi-Fi, TV or other distractions. It was a good 20-minute uphill hike to the nearest village. We all found the daily meditation and yoga practise a beautiful reminder of how to slow right down and be present.
Many of us seek comfort in distractions such as social media, TV, alcohol or intense physical activity. Seldom do we give ourselves time to be present in silence. In times past, I remember my grandma would come back from the shops and make herself a cup of tea, sit down in front of the window and take a minute of quiet reflection, digesting the day and watching the birds with the dog in her lap.
Maybe it is the comfort of having a loving and supportive community in the warm sunshine and fresh air that made being present easier? Many of the young people commented on how they had never been in such a space, where adults had spoken to them freely without judgment and without needing or wanting anything from them. “you made us feel good inside, letting us be ourselves without having to hide”..
When we are present for ourselves in silence, whether in meditation, reflection or prayer, we can do so for others. Sometimes there is pain and discomfort, which we want to flee from, but often if we focus on our breath or on our inner landscape beyond emotion and thought for a moment, the pain can subside and we find another level of deep peace and joy. I invite you to discover that for yourself in whatever way we can and be part of making the world a better place.