I’ve just completed more than 2 weeks of silent meditation retreats with a few days of work in the middle.
During the first 10 days of retreat I knew I wanted to write an article about it.
This has been one of the hardest articles for me to write.
Why is that so?
It’s quite easy for me to write about sexuality, personal development, business, etc.
It’s easy for me to share very personal and intimate details about my life.
So why am I finding it hard to write about meditation and spirituality ?
It’s true that some things like spiritual experiences are hard to put into words.
But that’s not the only reason.
Looking back at my life, I went in and out of spirituality many times.
I was born in Israel to secular parents who none the less observed some of the rules of Judaism.
As a child, I perceived god as an old man sitting on the clouds, who sees everything you do.
Then as a young teenager I turned my back on Judaism. I criticized my father for observing some practices and “conveniently” not others.
At 17 i picked up a book about meditation and, following my mom’s recommendation, attended a seminar called “The silva mind control system”, which used meditation as a practical tool to improving our lives.
However, my meditation practice diminished through the army and my early career.
Then at 26, I went traveling in south east Asia for nearly a year, and the whole alternative, occult, magical and spiritual realm opened up like never before. Coincidences turned into meaningful synchronicities.
I had meeting and conversations that I never had before.
I found meaning in the smallest things.
I attended my first 10 days silent meditation retreat at the Vipassana center in Dharamsala, India.
I was inspired, motivated, and deeply resonated with both the theoretical teachings and the actual meditation practice.
Tantra was next on my journey.
I sought Tantra to become a better lover and found a spiritual practice.
As I like to say “I came for the sex and stayed for God”.
At around 2007 I discovered what would become my main spiritual belief and practice.
I attended a 10 days meditation retreat in the Hridaya tradition, led by a teacher called Claudiu or Sahajananda.
Since then I attended many of these 10 and sometimes even 17 days retreats and they were all profound.
My meditation were generally not particularly focused or deep, but i deeply resonated with the teachings and attitudes shared by the teacher, and felt the yearning to keep doing those retreats.
However, throughout all these years, I would get inspired during a retreat, having realizations, insights and a yearning to go deeper, but would then forget about all of it… until the next retreat.
It’s not just that I didn’t keep a daily meditation practice, which is one of my teacher’s strongest advises.
It all seemed so real and meaningful during the retreat, but I didn’t feel the truth of those realizations so strongly in my daily life.
And there were conflicts between how I understood the teachings and between what I valued and how I wanted to live my life.
I sometimes got confused and frustrated.
Two ideas would be contradictory but equally important to me, and I didn’t know which was true, or which one I wanted to live by.
Yes, the spiritual search is the most important thing we can do, but what if I still appreciate and enjoy learning other things, having fun, or making money?
Yes, detachment is important but what about Passion?
Yes, pure being is who we really are, but I also want to do things!
I yearned for a complete theory, a set of rules defining how I should live my life; something that would apply everywhere.
But I couldn’t find that.
Growing up in Israel, being spiritual meant becoming an orthodox Jew, wearing those black cloths and hat and observing the hundreds of rules of Judaism.
I was sometimes afraid that if I acknowledge that I believe in god, I would need to become that.
And there was something else.
In some social circles, I was reluctant to express my “spiritual” side.
As if i was ashamed of it.
When i started holding Tantra workshops, my teaching partner and I decided to tone down the spiritual aspect because she believed people would be put off by it. I actually had a reminder in my presentation notes that read “Don’t mention God”.
It felt like i was a different person in different circumstances.
Either hiding my strong sexual energy, my spiritual beliefs or my business aspirations.
And in the past week, while writing this article, i’m once again faced with these challenges and paradoxes, and, as I’ve mentioned, this article is very hard for me to write and publish.
Maybe it’s about publicly acknowledging and embracing this part of myself and my life.
Perhaps there’s a part of me that is afraid to be judged and ridiculed for my beliefs and practices, as if there’s something wrong with being spiritual.
Another reason might be that i’m still not fully embracing this part of myself, and have some semi-conscious fears that if i embrace my spiritual side, I will lose or have to give up everything else.
But the process of writing this article has helped me see these beliefs and fears.
I still haven’t figured it all out, but that’s exactly the point – I accept that I don’t need to figure it all out, I don’t need to understand everything, it doesn’t have to make sense and be coherent.
I now accept more than ever the spiritual side of me.
I know now that the spiritual journey and practice is the most important aspect of my life, and what gives meaning and depth to everything that I do.
I always knew it on a mind level, but now I actually agree that I don’t have to choose between spirituality, sexuality, personal development, business, material wealth, and other things that I’m interested in.
I recognize the importance of integrating the spiritual practice and spiritual principals in all aspects of my life. As my teacher Sahajananda said: “By knowing who you really are, you will be able to do all these things better and easier”.
So, as I press “publish”, I am choosing to publicly embrace this part of myself, and share it with you.
More on the retreats that i’ve just attended – soon.