this is an account of Liam’s dark retreat i found online … i have reposted extracts from several posts. see the original and full texts here.
orig published SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2010
Darkness Within Darkness
So the time is at hand. 3 days until I begin my dark room retreat @ Sierra Obscura retreat center in Nevada City. The basic structure of the experience is like this: a residential home in the Nevada City area has been converted to a retreat space. The downstairs of the house has 5 individual rooms and one community room, as well as several bathrooms and a massage room. The upstairs of the house is where all the food for the retreat-goers is prepared, and where various servers stay and operate during retreat times. The retreat begins with 2 days acclimating to the space in dim lighting, followed by 14 days darkness, ending with 1 day integration. Here is a blog (ed: the site is no longer transmitting) site run by the center.
So the basic idea is that I will have ample time to go inward, to meditate and contemplate, to observe and attune my awareness, to recalibrate my physiological systems so used to and abused by sensory overload, as well as many other things. I intend to use it as a time to go deep, deep within. To contemplate the years past happenings, and to integrate and embody as many of these powerful teachings that have come through to me in the Tao de Ching. Healing, release, renewal, rebirth.
Rebirth. Going into the darkness, going into the womb to grow and develop and emerge anew.
Though I am excited about the experience, I feel it will be quite a challenge for me! Just the other day I sat down and closed my eyes for 5 minutes, and just watched my breath and meditated, & it seemed like an eternity! But it was only 5 minutes. So I really can’t imagine just what my experience will be like for some 300-something hours in pitch black, but I imagine immersing myself in the dark for such a long time will enhance the light that much more, at the very least.
So, 2 more quick things relating to darkness that have come up for me just recently, and that relate to the retreat @ hand and the postmoderntao blog. One is that I intend to have dark field blood work done before going in and after coming out. Dark field blood work is otherwise known as “live blood work,” and contrary to light field work, examines a complete, living blood cell. Last time I had an analysis done, I saw some pretty incredible stuff. One of my white blood cells looked like Florida, and I said to the Doctor, “say, what’s with this?” And the Doc said, “Well, don’t you have some relationship to Florida?” And I said, “Why yes, I am going to a yoga retreat there this December, and I’ve been trying to arrange my transportation there for the past week.” —-> So me thinking about Florida caused FL to literally show up in my blood. I have other friends who have seen some pretty wild stuff in there relating to their psyche, childhood, life experiences, things they need to heal or address to move forward, etc. One friend of mine had many of her blood cells in the form of yogini ballerinas. Cool huh?
The second thing related to darkness is that I have by chance met a fellow who is opening a sensory deprivation chamber retreat center (really its a “day spa”) in the Nevada City area right before I finish my dark room retreat, and we have arranged for me to be picked up from Sierra Obscura on March 4th to go to one of the Sensory dep. tanks to see what that’s all about! The chambers are basically big water holding tanks that were originally used to transport Dolphins. In this case the water is adjusted to body temperature and is loaded with epsom salts, so one can’t feel the water and can easily float in it. This creates or simulates the very real experience of primordial womb conditions. Some people apparently have floated for as long as 6 hours, but I think a very common time is a 30 min. to 1 hour journey.
So that will put the cherry on the Sunday of the dark field work & dark room retreat. Dolphin tank anyone?
So okay, perhaps the picture I’ve painted of the coming 3 weeks of my life seems rather insane, but I embrace the possibility of deep transformation and realization, and hope whatever happens will be of practical use to me and my reality–all my friends and family, all networks, all my relations!
Much love all!
orig. published MONDAY, APRIL 5, 2010
Spring Light Emerging…
Greetings one & all.
Out of the dark, one month ago today. March 4th.
So much to recount in the darkness, sitting in one little room for 2 weeks. And so much to recount of my last month in the light as well. Where do I begin?
So was the darkness enlightening? Yes, I believe it was on a number of levels. My experience there was quite dynamic, ranging from all sorts of bodily sensations (wild buzzing of pituitary/3rd eye, pineal/crown), to various nightmarish and wild visions and dreams, with plenty of realizations and downloads of things that no longer serve me or anyone for that matter. I had dense, visceral, agonizing feelings of despair and helplessness and solitude. Feelings of pure joy and love and complete contentment. & on & on. I must say it was an amazingly rewarding experience on every level.
I will recount several quick stories, with a general lack of detail to allow you all to fill in your own imaginative details.
One day one I had to pee really bad. I couldn’t hold it. And I got lost on the way to the bathroom. And I couldn’t hold it. And I grabbed for whatever I could, and I grabbed a Tibetan singing bowl. And I didn’t have to hold it anymore. But I had to use a lot of scalding hot water and Dr. Bronner’s soap later to make sure the bowl wasn’t tainted forever.
On another day I walked into the bathroom and stepped on what felt like tiny stones. And I reached for whatever it was, and they had a slimy texture, and they smelled funny. And I found out what the little stones were eventually. My darkroom retreat roommate-neighbor Rigzin had tried to dump rotten soaked almonds in the toilet, and she missed. Completely.
I remember realizing/thinking/feeling that nothing really matters, that my return to source is inevitable, but the glory and gift of being a human being right now is beyond imagination and probability, so I need to take advantage of every moment to its fullest, cultivating awareness more and more every day.
My pre-retreat post-retreat blood work analysis was profound. Before the Dr. said “this is very healthy blood.” After the Dr. said “this blood is exemplary, vital blood.” Wow!
I came out with a blonde strip of hair. How does that happen in the dark?
. . . . . . .
So that’s all for now. Spring emerges here, and I am loving the light more than ever. I’m not going to pretend my body or mind is in some sort of radiant transcendent healthful state, but for some reason I feel more surrender to every moment than I have ever felt.
Come what may–I will do my best to give myself to the righteousness within me.
I love you all!
orig. published TUESDAY, JULY 27, 2010
. . . . . .
I don’t have any more questions about anything. All the big questions that left my mind restless have been answered, and I must say, I don’t believe there is anything worth doing, accomplishing, or creating outside of me, outside of William/Will/Liam. There is no knowledge “out there,” no fulfillment to find, no happiness to pursue. It would seem that through all the people I’ve met, books I’ve read, experiences I’ve had, etc., the only work I feel drawn towards at all is inside. In other words, I would like to devote a great deal of time, energy, &/or effort into focusing my attention inwardly. You know, treat it like a 9-5 type thing, a whole new life style. From what I have read/been told/experienced thus far–a whole lot is possible when we simply sit quietly and close our eyes, and wait. So that’s what I’m going to do. A lot.
Nothing is “out there” but a relative, ever-changing Universe of ups and downs, sorrows & glee, a roller coaster of relativity. So I will go inside and see. See if there is anything more to mere changing forms. See if there is eternity, see if there is changelessness, repeatlessness. I will have to have patience. I will have to wait and see. 🙂
Much love to you all!!! & of course I will continue to communicate with everyone through the dozens of modern communication tools–facebook, email, cellphone, skype, etc. And hopefully in person!