Practical Presence Retreat
A 5-Day All-Inclusive Immersion Into Inner Peace and Authentic Connection
I Was a Young Man When I Disappeared
There was no external demon pursuing me.
My life was going well by any standard of measurement, but no one else could see the internal crisis that was consuming me.
I couldn’t focus my mind for more than a few moments.
My thoughts were fragmented. I felt drained. I lost sight of my purpose. I couldn’t see where my life was going or what all of this was for.
All at once, the momentum that had propelled me in life just vanished, and I was left stranded and lonely, with no idea of what to do next.
The bottom of my life fell out...
I wanted to know why.
Why was I here on earth, and what was life for?
I wanted to know why everyone, including myself, was anxious most of the time.
It seemed that this world held so many uncertainties, so much could go wrong, and we were all afraid.
I could not go ahead with my life until I found the cause of the chronic fear and insecurity I felt in myself and saw in the people around me.
So I threw caution to the wind, left everything I knew, and journeyed to the other side of the world to search for answers.
One of the Monks Showed Me to My Cinder Block Cell
My bed was a thin straw mat over a cement slab.
My journey took me to a remote monastery in Sri Lanka.
In broken English, the monk told me about the monastic schedule.
A bell would ring at 4:00am to wake us up, and a cup of warm rice gruel would be put outside my door.
We would meditate together until 6:00. The rest of the morning was for silent sitting and walking meditation.
After noon, we were to spend the rest of the day in silent meditation.
An older monk was assigned to teach me.
He supplied me with books that described the practice of meditation and the teachings of the Buddha.
The simple instructions were to sit upright but relaxed, and focus on the sensation of the body breathing in and out in its natural rhythm.
The teachings were simply guidelines for a process of inner investigation that would lead to personal insight and revelation.
I began to see how wild and chaotic my internal world was. Which led me to an earth-shattering realization...
Many of Us Feel Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz
Lost and alone in a strange world, we just want to get back home again.
As an adult, I became scared that there was no place where I could fully rest, free from fear and anxiety.
I was looking for this sense of comfort and security in a romantic relationship, family, friends, and achievements.
And I found some sense of peace in each of these because they helped me to feel connected and less alone in the world.
Yet I sensed that all of the things I was investing in would ultimately fail me. They were impermanent, reliant upon unpredictable circumstances outside of my control.
This may seem to be a tragic conclusion that could only lead to depression, however, it’s not the end of the story.
Which brings us to the Wizard…
When the Wizard left in his hot-air balloon, Dorothy had the heartbreaking realization that she might never make it back home to Kansas.
Only then was she able to discover that her ruby slippers, which she had been wearing the whole time, had the power to take her back home in an instant.
And so it is with us.
When we have exhausted all other options, we recognize an innate certainty and peace of mind that was with us all along.
Ironically, in order to find it, all we must do is stop looking frantically for it where it cannot be found.
Then, your resting place will be revealed.
Beyond the rush of the world, nestled in Vermont’s verdant landscape, you’ll find Sky Meadow, a 120-acre organic homestead hidden in the hills.