By Jon Terrell
Last week, a participant told me about a profound change she had noticed after her first retreat. After the retreat, her old self-defeating thought patterns were not nearly so believable or powerful. She felt relief at not being ruled by them.
She had a new freedom, and it was not just temporary, it was staying with her.
I’ve heard this from other participants. In my own life, I have found it to be true, although for me it took several retreats to get enough of my “old story” dismantled to make a permanent change in both my outlook and actions.
I’ve taught meditation for over 40 years. My meditation teacher taught “thoughts direct energy, and energy follows thought.” In other words, what we think about we send our energy to, we energize. To use Shalom lingo, our old story gets continually energized by our old, habitual thinking patterns. We energize it and get trapped in it!
Most of us spend a huge amount of our time living in the world of thoughts, ideas and concepts. We see through this lens. At retreats, we move beyond thoughts into more of our beingness…into our hearts, our bodies, into a new openness and freedom in the present moment. Much of this is fueled by the emotional release work we do, freeing awareness and life energy that had been trapped in the old story.
Immediately after my first retreat I found an amazing difference in the way I felt and experienced reality…I felt newborn. Like many of us, it was amazing, thrilling, extraordinary. But after awhile I gradually reentered a lot of (not all by any means) of my old thought patterns and perceptions.
I forgot what that openness and newness felt like. I had memories of the retreat and remembered that I had felt fantastic, but I was in a different place. It was only after that I went to another retreat that I remembered all the way through me again! Does this sound familiar?
And it was only after several retreats (I don’t think there was an exact tipping point so much as a gradual dismantling of the old thought patterns) that my fundamental experience of the world changed. The world felt safer, friendlier, more loving than before. My outlook on life improved dramatically….less a battle, more a playground. I breathed in more deeply, taking more of life in; I exhaled more easily and fully, letting go of what I no longer needed and what I had outgrown.
Back to my conversation with the retreat participant. After she had spoken about her relief, we had a moment of silence together, just being with each other, enjoying our connection. We breathed together, beheld each other, loved each other. What could be better?
If you are ready to start living fully into your life, a Shalom retreat might be the way to jumpstart that process. For more information or to register for a Shalom Retreat (offered every month) call or e-mail Shalom Mountain: 845-482-5421 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Jon Terrell and LJ Wooden will be co-leading a Shalom Retreat March 15-18, 2012.
Jon Terrell is a gifted intuitive, psychotherapist, energy healer, meditation teacher and retreat leader. He is an ordained minister, certified somatic therapist, mental health counselor and licensed massage therapist. Jon was president and training director of the School of Actualism where he started one of the first integral health centers in the US. He is a core faculty member of the Omega Institute and has led Shalom Retreats in California, Massachusetts and New York since 2001. http://www.awakenment-wellness.com/wellness-blog.html