February – March 2011…
It’s late February and I am about to return to the yogi’s cave in Chiang Mai Thailand to hold another darkroom retreat with a group of about 40 people coming from 14 different countries. The pull to return is so strong as I ride a wave of Grace that is calling me to be still and enjoy all that the Darkroom Retreat can offer.
As usual I have recently been steeped in the energy of intense creativity, downloading the Pathways of Peace and getting these ready for release upon the global stage during my tour time this year. Now and then my children mention the word ‘workaholic’ and I get a sense to take time out. The best way for me to do this is to enter the Yogi’s cave, that space where we can sit back, be still, and enjoy deep solitude and silence. It is also a place to be with other like-minded yogi’s who come from all over the world to share in this mutually enhancing experience.
I love stepping into this space. To work with the group to increase their pranic flows, to personally take little or no fluid, to see no external images or light, to move silently and Zen-like through a pitch black space, all of this is strangely rewarding on so many levels, as our body uses it’s energy flows more effectively to tune us deeper within the inner planes.
I also know of no other practice that can take me so deep so fast.
To unhook from technology and the daily manifestation of the creative process is necessary at times. To be able to step back, assess everything with a detached eye; to be able to spend time deepening our mind-body-spirit connections; to be able to have endless time to meditate and listen to sacred music; to be able to enter deeply into the dreaming and find the visions clear, the messages sound and appropriate in both clarity and content; all of this is food for the soul.
To also be able to be Zen-like, then Zen, as our group mixes, melds, blends, merges and opens inner plane doors, to then discover or return to pathways so peaceful, so insightful and so supportive … all of this is such an “aahhh” type of restful journey of surrender … a song for my own soul right now.
With so many now coming back to this darkroom space for the second and even third time, it seems that others also now agree on the benefits of entering that deep yogi cave like space that darkroom can provide. It is also the only in-depth training that we do on pranic nourishment for we have long abandoned the 21 day process initiation that many still hold dear.
As we increase our chi flows, we seem to also increase our creativity levels and while I love the creative process, I also know that it also never ends and so we all soon learn to deal with the constant downloading of creative flows in a more balanced and healthy way. True service from the heart as we fulfil our life purpose can be so intoxicating that it can become too easy to forget about the rest of our life.
For decades we have all been learning, growing, moving on, then learning, growing, and moving on, as there is always something in life to consume us, some paradigm or game in which we can play.
We spend our time and energy in countless ways supporting our growing, learning and the moving on process, yet all of it is designed to expand our consciousness as it teaches us to go beyond external things and identify instead with that which is truth for our soul.
Over the past few months I have found myself magnetizing the teachings of the Dalai Lama as he prepares now to also move on. In his book, Becoming Enlightened, the Dalai Lama wrote that “True happiness and freedom from suffering can only be realized from a broad outlook; it cannot be seen from a narrow perspective.” He also states – “The way to rise to a higher level of spiritual practice is to develop altruism to the point where seeking enlightenment in order to serve others more effectively becomes your inner, spontaneous motivation for everything you do.”
And this is another gift that the silence and solitude of the Yogi’s cave can provide, the time to assess life and to change our perspective. In the dark of the Yogi’s Cave we look beyond, we consolidate, we recognise, we reweave, we blend deeper with the pure essence of our own being, we open and relax more and hence a potentially fruitful time is had by all. I say potentially as our attitude and perceptions always govern our experiences especially in the darkness of yogi’s cave where only the inner light can shine.
With 11 days and 11 nights in absolute darkness, and with many bodies fasting or adjusting to live purely on the pranic flows, time spent in darkroom allows us also to go beyond our personal day to day realities and move into the global paradigms, to assess our service agendas and receive clear guidance, and to develop altruism in a deeper way by combining group energies to work via the inner planes. As usual with all of our retreats we attend to personal, global and universal harmonics as altruism is also food for the soul.
The sage Tsongkhapa said in his work, ‘Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path’:- “Altruism is a source of goodness for yourself and others, medicine alleviating all troubles, the great path travelled by the wise, nourishment for all who see, hear, remember and contact it. Possessing great efficacy for advancing other’s welfare; through it you indirectly achieve your own interests in full.”
Another great sage, Nagarjuna wrote in his work “Precious Garland of Advice”:- “The altruistic stay for a limitless time in the world, for limitless beings they seek the limitless qualities of enlightenment and perform limitless virtuous actions.”
Buddha once said: “If whatever merit there is in altruistic intention to become enlightened had form, it would fill the entire expanse of the sky and then exceed it.
Universal altruism is the path of the Bodhisattva and the only path that holds my personal interest right now, so I find it strange when people try to classify me only as “that woman who says she doesn’t eat.” which is of course a much to narrow path to be labelled with.
In his book, My Spiritual Autobiography, His Holiness the Dalai Lama writes on Living as a bodhisattva …
“As for my personal religious practice, I try to live my life by following what I call the ‘bodhisattva ideal.’ In Buddhist conception, a bodhisattva is a being who is engaged on the path toward Buddhahood and is completely devoted to helping sentient beings liberate themselves from suffering. The word bodhisattva is easier to understand if the two terms that make it up, bodhi and sattva, are translated separately. Bodhi stands for the wisdom that understands the ultimate nature of reality, and sattva is a person motivated by universal compassion. So the bodhisattva ideal amounts to an aspiration to practice infinite compassion with infinite wisdom.”
I love the Yogi’s cave time and after this retreat, I will have enjoyed nearly 80 days of darkroom experience. This is not much time compared to what the Kogi and Arhuaco Mamas (Shaman) of Colombia do as part of their shamanic training. Some spend up to 36 years in the dark only coming out from their cave-like hut at night to enjoy the moonlight. From birth, tuned children are selected to go into special huts where their mothers visit to feed them and bathe them for their first few years. After this they are guided by highly skilled shaman.
Nourished by a simple diet, they are soon trained by older Mamos to read the global and universal energy currents, plus those of people around them. They are also trained to read and finetune the currents within themselves, and to respect and understand the purpose of every living creature in creation.
Many become seers or healers, clairaudient sensitives, managing to maintain their awareness of Source, and the Divine Mother Laws which they cherish and live by, because of their yogi-shaman-cave-like existence. These special Mamos huts are the yogi’s cave, our darkrooms of today and they make a great place for intensive, highly specialized training especially in the breatharian pathways reality.
1st March 2011
I sit in a tiny café-shop in Doi Saket Chiang Mai, writing in my journal and feeling overwhelmed with love and appreciation. To be able to take this time each year and go into my yogi’s cave – as I’ve come to call the darkroom – is such a blessing for me.
The creative flows that I have been working with these last 17 years, since living on prana, have been so consistent in their abundance of insight and information that bringing it all into physical plane manifestation is a full time job. Books, audio, music, poems, art – the flows are intense in their delivery so it is so good to step back, go into deep silence and solitude and enjoy the peace that comes from the darkroom space.
Thailand herself is also a beautiful country to be in, her people are gentle and kind, quick to smile and lovingly accept the constant stream of people who come to enjoy this land. Despite political upheavals, tourism continues as people are drawn to be in the harmonic wave that Thailand offers with its Buddhist beat. While it is true that some also come for the sex-trade, others come instead just to enjoy the spirit of this ancient land.
Most of our people arrived late yesterday and so we will gather this afternoon for orientation and introduction time as we invite all to find the Zen master within. To slow every movement, every breath right down, to shut down external vision and enhance our inner vision, to dream deep and go beyond time, to meditate until our thirst for meditation is complete, no longer bound by the time constrained duties of the outer world, to just BE in silence and solitude, all of this the darkroom offers and in all of this many spirits find a deeper joy.
Day 5 – 6th March 2011
Our group is settling in to a more relaxed rhythm as more surrender into the rhythms that are here. Most are powering along yet a few still struggle with their minds. 264 continual hours – 11 days and 11 nights – of absolute darkness can take their toll as we find ourselves confronted by ourselves. Yet there comes a point in the energy fields, within an individual and a group when a new rhythm emerges as we make friends with the darkness and all that it contains, to really appreciate what can unfold. Break-throughs come with surrender and an open-hearted willingness to go beyond.
- To go beyond potential boredom;
- To go beyond the monkey mind and its desire for entertainment;
- To go beyond our limiting ideas of what a day should hold;
- To go beyond the ‘busy’ness mentality and allow ourselves to be in that space of true Zen via the mastery of mind and perceptions;
- To learn to be fully present in each moment,
- to make friends with the darkness and sense it as the divine mother’s womb of nourishing love and
- to go beyond all that rises to challenge us.
Some people find night-time the hardest as they lose the need to sleep here. With no energy needed for digestion the body begins to get so energised especially with our twice daily meditations which are designed to open all to more nourishing rhythms.
As the days unfold our relationship with time changes drastically and suddenly it feels as if there is not enough time in each day as we take longer periods in meditation and caring for the body temple, via our various exercise routines, and to contemplate life in general.
It can take 6-7 days for a group to come into the one heart one mind space of natural telepathic communion where they know what I will say before I say it in a guided meditation and for them to receive the visions as I do. This is one of my favourite parts as it is confirmation of a group’s harmonics.
11th March 2011
The darkroom retreat is a wonderful teacher as it allows us to find our Zen Master Self and gives people constant opportunities to self correct. For example, if we do not stay focused in the moment it is so easy to disturb the field of silence that others are enjoying. We can drop things, bump into things, open or close doors too loudly and generally be a disruptive presence.
With approximately 40 people all living together in absolute darkness for these 11 days and 11 nights we become so much more aware of communal harmonics. Knowing that people around us may be in deep meditation, we learn to move through space and time here as the silent witness aware of every sound and movement. If we walk too fast – again because we are not fully present in the now moment – then it is easy to bump into an object or person – both which can easily be avoided by walking very slowly with gentle movements and by staying focused and aware. So many people blaze through life completely unconscious of those around or the impact that their energy emanations and movements have on others. Here we cannot do that. Here we have to be fully present especially in the communal space.
Today is our day of complete silence where even I am not speaking. We meet, called by the gong to exercise, meditate, listen to upbeat or very heart opening devotional music, then meditate again. Today at least there is music.
Tomorrow is our last day and so from 9pm tonight till 1.30pm tomorrow there will again be absolute silence and this time there will be no music or movement. These last few days test and stretch the few who have had enough of the darkroom space, making them go deeper again; while giving a gift to those who have fallen in love with this yogic cave by allowing them complete stillness and silence as if we truly are yogis living deep in a cave inside a mountain.
Without the distraction of food to digest, these 11 days give the body a chance to rest and utilize its energy differently as each day people measure the increase in their pranic flow. Some maintain a good weight, losing maybe a kilo, others begin to feel their ribs and so they then expend the energy of worry that they are losing more weight than they hoped. Others love the weight loss and are so happy for the whole cleansing process.
Day by day we have harmonised the group energy field using sound and sacred music, deep meditations, alchemical practices and more; adding to this some interdimensional flavours plus some ancient esoteric blends to create an energy mix for all to bathe in and receive exactly what they need.
Personally I love it and so it seems do many as this retreat is now booked out years in advance. Somehow all around the world people are called to sit in silence and solitude and connect deeper to the essence of life, allowing it to rise and fill them and free them from all hungers.
Once tasted many come back, while a few feel that one experience is definitely enough. Some dream of food, and more food, as their emotional body makes its adjustments to living in this space on a little juice or maybe only water.
Others go deep in the dreaming finding themselves in the presence of great beings of light, undergoing intensive instruction about their life purpose and how to fulfil it.
People come from all walks of life and all religions, pulled by an inner knowing that this darkroom time will somehow transform their lives.
And for those who can surrender, for those who can befriend the dark and relax into each moment, the gifts that await them are endless as they allow their senses to be heightened so that they can read and influence the subtle energy flows within the matrix of creation. Yet darkroom training – like living purely on prana – is not a path for everyone, still for those it calls, the journey is well worth while.
Each year that I am in Darkroom retreat I may go for 5 to 8 days without water, but I always find that at some point over this time, my mouth gets quite dry from constantly leading in-depth meditations and discussions; as such I have decided that if this truly is my path then the not drinking reality needs to occur without any dryness in my mouth.
I am not living the life of a silent yogi in the Himalayas, instead my service agenda requires me to talk and share which helps when there is physical body comfort. The dry mouth reality is obviously something I am still learning to master.
While we relax and enjoy these final days in Thailand, an earthquake brings a Tsunami to Japan to simulate yet another flow of compassion in our world. Again there is so much devastation, so much suffering and loss as people are stripped bare, only to unify later and bond in ways previously unimagined.
Jasmuheen holds these retreats each year in March. Click here for more details.