“Silence is an internal state of being where life is met with no resistance. All is embraced as part of the greater journey.”—Panache Desai
I recently returned from a weeklong retreat in Costa Rica, where spiritual catalyst Panache Desai guided us through the process of accessing and anchoring inner silence. In choosing this retreat, I was strongly drawn to the idea of experiencing extended inner silence. Exterior silence, especially in nature, has long been a refuge for me because my mind tends to be very busy, even though I have practiced both yoga and meditation for many years. I treasure the times of silent spaciousness that I have experienced, but I’ve always hoped for a deeper immersion….
Initially, in addition to periods of silent meditation, Panache had us work together to express and release emotional blocks and triggers. In small groups of two or three, and then in the larger group of sixteen, we processed whatever was keeping us stuck in resistance to the flow of life through us. “At any given moment, you are either in complete acceptance of what is or in resistance to what is,” according to Panache. “That creates your experience. Letting go and allowing opens the flow of energy.” Sounds good, but how exactly does that happen?
Well, with Panache, it is never really about words or language, though what he says is both inspiring and heart-opening. It is the experience of vibrational transformation, however, that creates radical inner/outer shifts in people. The profound, loving energy of Spirit, or the Divine, that Panache embodies—through his voice, his touch, his presence—transforms individuals at the deepest levels. If you’re around him, you’re gonna get shifted, guaranteed. And the shift opens the door to your own divinity and authenticity. He sees himself as a “catalyst,” not a guru or teacher. As the week progressed, we meditated for increasingly longer periods of time, either in complete silence or with music in the background. And each day, the inner journeys and group interactions were deeper and more powerful, the effects spilling over into all parts of our lives.
For me, Panache’s directive—to breathe deeply and “allow and receive”—became a miracle mantra. I came to Costa Rica not only with a busy mind but also with a long history of neck pain and migraine headaches that woke me at 3 a.m. During my week there, on four consecutive nights, I awoke at 3 a.m. with the familiar pain. In the past, fear always gripped me, and I often ended up taking strong medication to stop the pain from getting out of control. In Costa Rica, I got up, drank a full bottle of water, stretched, and then sat in silence in the dark, palms open, breathing deeply, just “allowing and receiving.” It took two to three hours, but each night I got rid of the headache. And it did not return during the day. This was beyond anything I had ever imagined myself capable of. Resistance to what is and all the accompanying fear had fallen away—and with them went the pain. I had let go on a very deep level and allowed the energy to flow unimpeded through me.
During group meditations, I relaxed into the silence and breathed long deep breaths of gratitude and peace. My mind, too, was quieter; it was if the mental chatter had been trying desperately to cover up my own resistance and fear. Now, I felt a slowing down and relaxation on an energetic level, allowing experiences to pass through me without judgment or clutching. It was a completely different way of being in the world.
(See http://panachedesai.com/ for gatherings and webcasts with Panache Desai.)