Skip to main content

A Sacred Pause

A Sacred Pause

I would consider Tara Brach to be a sort of spiritual guru for me, and over the last decade I’ve turned to her wisdom as a place of refuge. Since covid, she has rarely led retreats, so when one crossed my radar, I signed on.

I’ve spent the last five days in the presence of Tara, and other wise practitioners, at a silent meditation retreat in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina.

I came looking for deep rest, reflection and wisdom. To unpack the type of soul searching I’ve been doing in the midst of a life full of managing, racing, planning and distraction.

While at first the silence felt awkward and uncomfortable, it soon became a delicious indulgence. The chatter, social norms and colloquial expectations dissolved into an open, spacious realm of less doing, and more being.

Over the course of the week, through dharma talks, inquiry groups and hours upon hours of meditation, I became familiar with a litany of experiences…intense physical discomfort, angst, restlessness, doubt, fear, aversion, panic, boredom, grief, understanding, rest, peace, knowing. And in the finest, most attuned moments, acceptance. Radical acceptance. A sacred pause.

Tara speaks frequently about how, “it all belongs.” Explaining that it’s not our discomfort, but our resistance to the discomfort, that causes suffering.

Being here with myself, without pretense, has allowed me a glimpse into the power of true awareness, the true sense of “oh it’s like this.” And coming back to that again and again.

This has been a reminder of how much I maintain my world from an inner dialogue, and that it’s in fact the biological nature of the mind to do so. Scanning for what’s missing or what’s wrong. Judging what comes up, and then judging the judging. This week, a wise teacher so eloquently shared, “You are not the voice inside your head. You are the one that hears it.”

My hearing got a tune up in silence. As I reenter normal life, I am filled with curiosity, but mostly anxiety, about how the gifts that I received here can be integrated into my day-to-day, moment-to-moment existence.

But, that worry belongs too. It’s like this. And I’m committed to not breaking faith with my awakened heart.