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A Place I AM

A race to the boat ready to depart into the Unknown. This was the feeling I had when I finally arrived. The launch was made with the last breath of 2014. To arrive on time I had to drop the baggage of the past along the way. My intention to be on this 1 week retreat was with me and pulled me forward. As the boat entered the open sea, despite the noisy storms of the mind, an increasing depth of silence enveloped me...

Over the days as we dived into the silence the body was releasing the accumulated tension of months, maybe years. What a challenge, to stay still for several hours a day, doing "nothing," just relaxing, paying attention, enjoying wonderful meals, enjoying nature in its wintry splendor, contemplating profound keys to understanding our true spiritual nature, meditating. None of this was a free ride, I had to allow myself to let everything be as it is, I had to renounce endless battles between the mind and the part of me that seems to know what is the right thing to do. The heart. We talk so much and it actually seems so difficult to listen to it, to let it guide our steps.

Pete asked us one day to notice if there was any differences in our perception of nature. That afternoon, while walking through the fields, I realized I was simply seeing without judgment. I did not look for bits of beauty to justify the renewal of faith in something mysteriously wonderful for which it is worth fighting, nor did I raise emergency alarms when I saw signs of destruction. Instead, an expansive and sensitive attention allowed me to become aware of both, as parts of the same reality, and to see that it all is a part of me too. I felt the beauty and simultaneously what needed to be cared for and nurtured. All is already complete, nothing is missing. To see and feel this lack of judgment made me realize how strong is the habit of creating preconceived ideas, to constantly judge what was and what will be in my experience, based on fabrications which enclose me against the Unknown, that mystery from which everything comes into being, the infinite potential that palpitates in all things.

Suddenly I was running at 8 am. The cold air seemed to tear the lungs through the mouth, the first rays of sunlight freed vegetation of its cold sleep. Evaporation mingled with the fog and the sky was dressed in shades of blue, orange and lilac. I decided to run forward toward a hill above. But thinkiing it too arduous I gave up and I turned around. No, not this time! Something inside me surged. Turning on my heels I continued to climb the hill, eventually coming to the fork following the long way back to Avidanja. I won! I conquered my small self, overcame my small self and listened to my True Self. The blood throbs all over, the head hurts from so much oxygen and I am flooded with joy.

Held by the care of the Avidanja team and gently guided by the openness, freshness and disarming humour of Peter, we came to fruition. That week was a deep dive into our common home: pure consciousness itself. I felt I could stay on this retreat a few weeks and continue searching the depths that opened beneath my feet. How strange, it is was a deep dive there and now I am here. Yet I wasn't in another dimension, a bubble or a world apart. It seems I got closer to where I always am. There is a world apparently "there" in the past and another "here" but in reality all is always here. 

Paradoxically, I'm in the relative world of time and space, while rooted in an infinite, untouchable and unspeakable poetry that remains vibrant and calm inside me. A place I AM. We ARE.

Sara Rocha, Coimbra


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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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