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My First Silent Retreat Guided by my Self!

After several years of regular meditation retreats, this year I decided to have the courage to do a silent retreat on my own. Looking around where a good place could be, I remembered the Awakened Life project of Pete and Cynthia, friends from earlier retreats.

I felt inspired by the idea doing a retreat in “pure” nature, with hopefully sunny weather, good vegetarian food and a life, oriented towards the rhythm of nature. I was also looking forward to living in their beautiful yurt. So I decided to start with a two day weekend meditation retreat with Pete and then join five days silent retreat on my own. The week before I left, I felt very much excited about this decision and also doubtful if I really could stand this project of self development.

I arrived on Friday afternoon and at once I fell in love with the nature and was sure this is right place for my intention. Also all the beautiful and supportive people made me feel very safe. The weekend retreat started on Saturday morning with a very nice group and under the experienced guidance of Pete. It took some time until I could deeply let go. But on Sunday afternoon I felt well “prepared” for the next days.

I started meditating on my own on Sunday evening after the weekend group left and right away I became aware of a deep meditation field. This was very much nourished during the next days by the wonderful nature in which I always felt a deep ease of being. I sank naturally into that depth of everything is good and deeply positive. All the plants, flowers, trees, insects and waterfalls, everything felt so fulfilled by its own, so perfect, so nothing missing and all that by doing nothing without following their own inner rhythm…

This “pushed” me to follow my rhythm of meditation which was quite a new experience for me. To be honest before I haven’t thought a lot about this drive in me and so I was pretty surprised how strong the impulse to meditate was. Past meditations often felt more difficult than easy. Therefore this was such an inspiring experience: To feel that there is this deep ease of being in me… and this deep wish to always go further….This didn’t mean that every meditation was easy, there still were all the mind activities, the question "is the meditation going wrong or right", sometimes the falling asleep, but the drive to go deeper was so much in the forefront.

Following this SELF I deeply felt ONE with everything around me and saw profound principles of the TRUTH of LIFE. I never could have imagined this experience of being at HOME, being totally FULFILLED and at EASE…

I am very very thankful for this precious time and deep experience of divineness!!!

I finished my silent retreat on Friday at lunch and we all were very happy to talk together and to share what happened. Doing this, another deep insight happened as we became aware how profound the impact of my doing was to all the others. We felt very much connected because we meditated twice a day together during their regular meditation time and they all felt themselves so deeply influenced by what I did and experienced a much deeper consciousness between them…

I am very thankful to everyone for their beautiful encouragement and for Pete and Cynthia’s perfect awareness for my needs at every time.

Marlene Potthoff, Germany

If you would like to do your own solitary retreat at the Project please contact:

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About the project

The Awakened Life Project is situated in a beautiful and wild ecological reserve in the mountains Central Portugal. We offer volunteer programs, courses, events and retreats to support the liberation of the human spirit in a context of evolutionary emergence and communion with the ecological web of life.


Quinta da Mizarela
3305-031 Benfeita
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