Nearly all of us unquestionably and whole heartedly accept that ‘I’ am defined by the body/mind and the differing roles that we find ourselves playing in life. For the most part we experience life as if this were true. However for thousands of years, yogis, sages and seers, as well as the yogic texts, have clearly stated that fundamentally this is not the case.
Tutor(s): Swami Satyadaya
Yoga tells us that the ‘I’ is more fundamental than these different expressions of energy (body/mind/emotions etc.) that we assume our self to be. This leads us to an understanding of ‘I’ on a more existential level. This can summarised by reversing Descartes’ statement ‘I think therefore I am’ to ‘I Am, therefore I think.’ This indicates that out of our Being, the ‘I’, comes the possibility to think, to be aware of thought, as well as to feel, intuit and to perceive. The ‘I’ underlies and is primary to these different levels of experience. We can get a taste of this being aspect of the ‘I’ during Meditation, although there is still a sense of identification, albeit tenuous, with the ego-personality.
At the most fundamental level comes the sense of ‘I’ as Consciousness, which can be realised when all mental processes stop, albeit temporarily. At this point there is a re-identification or re-cognition of what we are as conscious Presence. This is the deepest level of ‘I’ and, ultimately, the only real ‘I’. All the other levels of ‘I’, no matter how real they may seem, are illusory and conditioned projections of the mind. At the level of Consciousness, we are able to say ‘I Am’ or to use the Biblical statement, ‘I Am That I Am.’ This is not an egotistical statement, but a realisation that transcends our sense of individuality. At this level of identity we know that we are not really separate from other beings and things – that fundamentally there is only that ‘I’ which then mysteriously experiences through all the myriad forms of life.
This retreat will investigate the nature of the ‘I’ in order to realise and reconnect with what we are on a fundamental level. The aim, through practice, is to gradually clear away the dust that covers our inner, pristine, diamond-like nature to reveal deep peace, joy and fulfillment.
The practices will be very simple, yet profound and radical, mainly centred on contemplation and meditation.Directed by Swamiji, the emphasis of this retreat is on personal experience.