As I write this on the terrasse of my quaint Paradiesli chalet – overlooking the green expanse of the Sarner valley framed by the Pilatus massif – the lake I swim in daily glittering in the distance, and the warm wind lazily rustling the leaves on a tall tree – I count my blessings.
To have the privilege to be able to enjoy such a beautiful landscape in peaceful Switzerland wells up deep great gratitude in me. It also calms my mind, slows me down and makes me more attentive to details in anything and everything. It brings peace, contentment and joy to my heart.
Nature has that effect, and it is also what I experienced in the silent meditation retreat that I attended last month. Priorities and focus change; life becomes simple, the rhythm slows down.
It was effortless to be in the presence of sixty others, meditating in silence, ten hours a day for ten days. While we meditated, took our vegetarian meals together and sometimes crossed each other on our daily in-between walks in the spectacular nature setting of the retreat, it was an inward journey for each of us on our own, enhanced by the power of nature. The meadows, forest and mountains; a mother deer with her spotted fawn completely unperturbed by our silent presence; a playful threesome of rabbits shaking off the morning dew; the ant hill with seemingly a zillion ants doing mammoth work, and at night a midnight blue sky with a fulling moon in the backdrop of eons of stars.
We arrived only with ourselves and a little clothing. All else was left behind, including cell phones which we turned in at the entrance and were returned only on the last day. I have a few pictures to show from the last day.
When I returned home, the first thought that crossed my mind was: “My, there is so much STUFF in my house, I want to get rid of it!”
In ten days I had already gotten used to a simple life with only three pairs of pants and five shirts hanging in the closet of my basic room.
Priorities can change at a moment’s notice, usually forced by life. As I’ve experienced, it is also possible to activate the reset button on my own: to pull back from a busy pace and take time to regroup and reflect.
To pause and slow down, to get used to a different rhythm for awhile and then re-enter life from that perspective. To push the re-set button. Spending time in nature and in meditation are becoming more important as I grow older. I welcome it and appreciate it.
I wish you joy and contentment in your life and I hope that my articles contribute toward these qualities in your experience.