Shunyo will be facilitating a Vipassana Retreat in Northern Italy, 5-8 December 2014.
Chiavari is a busy seaside town and yet just fifteen minutes driving up a winding mountain road and we are in the countryside. The tree-shaded road brings us to the top where just behind us the mountains are covered in forest and in front stretches before us a vista of mountains and hills that make me think of Tibet. Leivi, the spaciousness is awesome. A wonderful feeling that my own inner space also reaches to the horizon.
This is Osho Leivi. The garden is surrounded by magnificent ancient trees that demand respect by their grandeure and knowing that they have been around a very long time and have witnessed many changes.
Immediately I feel how this atmosphere of Zen simplicity and spaciousness is going to be supportive of meditation. The living space is created with such love and care by Chetana, that I am reminded how Osho’s way of Vipassana is to have a relaxed, loving awareness. And it is all here. Nothing to do except just be here.
And over time I have seen the fruit trees full of blossoms and their branches become heavy with fruit; the rising sun setting on the backdrop of mountains; and the full moon rising and waning. For it is not the first time I am here at Osho Leivi for a Vipassana retreat.
People are arriving for the retreat, people from all walks of life. Many of them are Vipassana ‘addicts’, we joke, and have come for their regular boosts. Some people are coming for the first time, intrigued by what can happen when they sit in silence with no distractions, except the surrounding beauty, and watch. Watching their changing minds, body, and the technique – watching the breath.
It takes courage to sit and do nothing. Our lives are so full and busy and to sit and just be present is like a self-encounter.
We begin by sharing any expectations or fears about Vipassana that we may have. This is a good moment for us to understand that we are not different, whether we have done Vipassana many times or whether it is our first experience. Our mind cannot help but have some expectations. “Will I have the same beautiful experience as last time?” or “Will I die of boredom?”
We don’t know. And that is the beauty of it.
And then we put on our ‘in silence’ badges until the end of the retreat.
We will be sitting for six hourly sessions which will include a walking meditation on the terrace, and although Vipassana is about going ‘in’ – it is impossible not to gaze out at the mountains for inspiration.
I will be available if anyone wants to have a private session to break their silence to ask about the meditation, or to share what is happening to them.
Nothing serious – just a spiritual gossip.
The silence is absolute – only the songs of birds and cicadas, a dog barking, sometimes the sound of voices far below in the valley can be heard. So silent in fact that close to lunch time the sound of rumbling bellies can be heard, preparing for the delicious vegetarian food.
At 7:00 each morning the sounds of Osho Dynamic echo around the mountains. Our Vipassana is supported with Osho Dynamic and Osho Kundalini and Evening Meeting.
During each day we watch our dreams and desires, and our silent moments, and the breath, and the bell rings, and we walk under the ancient pines, and again the bell; and we sit….. held in the security of the structure…. and then the last bell…. and it is time to go home.
Hugs and goodbyes and we go home feeling a relaxed silence enveloping us.
And we take with us the capacity to bring this into our daily life.
I have seen how people who have sat in Vipassana achieve a certain integrity, and self-confidence.
Osho tells us that Vipassana is a meditation for the market place. We are not to become monks and nuns and renounce the world, but to take the quality of meditation into the market place.
Someone asked Osho that she was afraid to lose the meditation space if she goes out towards people and activity.
He says not to create any conflict or any duality.
Being lost is part of the rhythm. The more lost you are, the deeper you will come back to yourself. The space will be more empty, more deep, if you move further away. So go out as far as you can – then you will go in as far as it is possible. […]
“This is one of the basic things I want to contribute. Religions have always created trouble because they think that if you go out too much, you become incapable of going in, or you may be lost. So one becomes afraid and goes on avoiding people, relationships work. One starts condemning all that is extrovert, worldly, this-worldly. One starts keeping oneself in one’s inner space. You can remain there but the inner space will remain very shallow because the pendulum has to swing both ways.”
Osho, The Cypress in the Courtyard, Ch 2
Thank you Osho. Thank you Osho Leivi for this gift.