Darkness Retreat-San Marcos,Guatemala
On Friday night I entered a darkroom to retreat until Monday morning, thanks to Andrew Durham, who is giving me the opportunity to continue the darkness retreat room he constructed here in San Marcos, Lake Atitlan Guatemala, and I am incredibly grateful to be offering this service here to others who would like to enter the darkroom.
This was my first experience in total darkness for this long I realized since the time I was in my mothers womb!
What I experienced was the opportunity to rest and withdraw from the many activities of life that keep one moving, and at moments I felt ecstatic realizing I had no where to go and nothing to do but connect with myself and rest.
My eyes and body became very relaxed, and in that quiet I became more aware of the workings of my mind, sometimes I was bothered by the intensity of my mind continuing to be so active while the rest of my body was finding some peace. I decided to use various meditation & pranayama techniques to help my internal mental activity and this helped immensly, as our body and breath greatly effect the workings of the mind.
I continued a regular yoga practice each morning and felt how the movement of my body released tension and helped me find my center, I became more aware of subtle sensations in my body and in my movements that maybe I had not taken the time to fully connect with.
There were some issues in my life that had gone unresolved for some time and I found on the 2nd day a few solutions arrived at ease within me and I was later able to use this information received from within the depths of myself to resolve these situations when I got out of the darkroom.
I took notes while inside and reflected on them later, taking the opportunity when my conscious mind was surging with amazing thoughts and that creative flow of energy was present to capture them in writing. Its not so easy to write in total darkness but it is possible, my notes were very crooked and it took awhile to sort them out after the retreat.
There is a hammock in the darkroom and an inversion swing so I spent time hanging upside down and enjoying the feeling of lightness in the hammock, my mother is from Brazil and I imagined this is how my ancestors slept in the Amazon forest, at times I curled up in the hammock as if in my mothers womb, which brought me feelings of joy and contentment while I connected with my ancestors.
I realized how important it is to stop moving and to enter a deep state of rest and relaxation, to express in another way without the use of the eyes or talking, wherein one can settle into the layers of what is truly inhabiting the depths of our beings, to get in touch with myself, it was not always so easy and pleasant, yet extremely beneficial to connect with my inner reality, and the darkroom offers the space to do this.
Each time I ate I became very aware of the way in which I eat, sometimes I eat to fast and dont take the time to really be at peace while eating. Since my other senses were resting I realized that my sense of taste was heightened and the simple raw foods that I was eating tasted fantastic! my body felt nourished by these fresh whole foods and I did'nt have a desire to eat more than nessesary, or to eat too fast, I took my time and savoured all the flavous of the earth. Some how the appetite is less in the darkroom and I felt satisfied with the wholesome fresh fruits and vegetables.
Monday morning Andrew came and got me out of the darkroom and helped me walk up a flight of stairs that led to a beautiful view of Lake Atitlan, I watched the first rays of the sun appear over the mountains and soaked in that wonderous life giving sunshine, feeling incredibly grateful for my life and the light of the sun and moon that nourish us all, I did spend some time adjusting my eyes to light at first and everything appeared so fresh and bright, as if I was seeing from another lens from within myself, maybe one that let more light in.
For about three days after leaving the darkroom I had an amazing feeling of lightness and clarity within my head, I had heard that the pinneal gland may be activated in the darkroom and I wondered if this was what was happening with me, it was a very new sensation, I felt peaceful and at ease and was able to focus more clearly, yet I had to try adjust to a faster pace of life that was happening around me, it was as if time had slowed down within me. I spent a few days relaxing and processing the experience and easing back into a faster paced lifestyle and wondering what adjustments I could make in my life to slow down, to a more relaxed way of living.
If one is ready to explore the depths within themselves I think the darkroom is an incredible opportunity and the practice has its roots in ancient Tibetan Buddhism and Ayurveda.
I have shared with you some of my realizations while inside the darkroom and each person will have their very own unique experience with entering total darkness.