In 17 days many things can happen! And so 17 days sitting with yourself for extended periods of time and meditating in this pure feeling of existence, be sure something will happen indeed!
I came to Mazunte last year carrying myself and a broken heart, and honestly I had no idea of what to do next with my life. For the fist time, I understood the nature of those love songs that said how impossible it would be to live without someone, not that it was exactly my case, but I had experience the highest possible love with someone and the next day it was all gone… And even when I knew that in the end this whole suffering was a whole big play of drama in my mind, to detach from it…,well I needed some help with that.
The only thing I knew was that Mazunte was the place I had to go to. That, somehow, getting back in more depth to the practice I cherish the most in every possible way, either through teaching or taking silent meditation retreats, would help me to get back on track. People around me thought I was escaping the pain, they asked me why I was going in silence. “What you need is to talk!”, they would say. “Express that pain.” Oh yes, I could talk as long as I wanted to, but I knew the source of that suffering was only in my mind, and talking, actually would only amplify the sense of separation that was starting to become more and more obvious.
So I did a 10 day retreat last November which turned out to be an amazing step… But I felt still the process could take longer than that. So allowing nature, the ocean, friends, good food and mainly the fact of being near this beloved community of spiritual seekers, seekers of the heart, was my main medicine, love in all it’s forms. Teaching Hridaya and for those moments just allowing myself to be there for the class, and offer myself as a tool for love to flow freely and forgetting about myself for at least two hours, was a balm that soothed my soul.
An then in February, I signed in for a 17 day retreat, the first of this long retreats I’ve ever had with Sahajananda, our beloved teacher. I made all arrangements so that I could go as deep as possible: taking all meals in the Hridaya headquarters, staying in a little house near the school, and allowing myself to stay longer even if the bell had already rang. Even if it meant to stay there after lunch! The big hall was filled with around 70 people from all over the world, and the atmosphere in the hall was one of peace, birds singing in the morning and ocean waves in the background, all of which made for a beautiful setting. The presence of our teacher, who shares from deep experience along with the lectures and guidance were our anchor, and the teachings of great saints were our inspiration and practice.
Oh, how can I describe the beauty of this fire of the heart? How can I even start to express the magic that resides in your own being? When you get a glimpse of this beauty, of this love… Then there’s no way back, you can stray away and say: “Ah this was just my imagination!” You can try to pretend it’s not there… You might even ignore it, but if your really got at least a glimpse of your own nature, the transformation is done, you will always be seeking to go back to it. As the great Advaita teacher Nisargadatta Maharaj said: “Any real transformation is irreversible”, this is how Hridaya’s teachings touch your soul. So here I was, ready to dive again into the depth of my being, this time with no kind of second thoughts, with a deep yearning to reconnect with this even higher than myself.
Getting immersed in 17 days of continuos and long Hridaya meditations, allowed stillness and bliss to flow more naturally, and as I usually have a very chattery mind, stillness was a place that allowed more and more for God to do his work, if I could put it this way. On day 11, only a little bunch of participants remained. The room and the whole atmosphere became charged with stillness… No sounds, no movements… Only pure existence!
Those additional 7 days allowed me to touch deeper aspects of the meditation which I could not have accessed with just a 10 day retreat. I thought at first we would be pretty much left on our own, but lectures and more inspirations from realized masters continued to flow in our way, words on compassion, devotion and the poetry that characterizes Hridaya were very much present. Most importantly, the way Sahajandanda and the team of teachers lead the lectures was just meant to take us progressively deeper and deeper! I started appreciating every single moment, ever single breath… Feeling gratitude overflowed me, as if the whole universe was supporting me to go through this process, and it was!!! I just knew I was where I belonged, in the heart of hearts.
Not everything was pure bliss and light. I was also experiencing that events from the past were coming back to me, this time I was more detached to be able to witness them… However deep in the core of my being something was still not right. It was only because of this retreat and the pure Grace that Hridaya actually opens you to, that I could heal deep aspects brought from a past relationship, deep things, such as having a miscarriage, then seeing he man I was supposed to make a family with close his heart in pain and therefore end up the relationship. All these events had a huge charge of emotion, so when confronted with the intensity of your own pain there’s no other option than surrender.
So, how else but going into the depth of my own heart could I ever heal, find the truth? Feel it, taste it, not just know it from a book or from believing someone told you; about it. The Truth that you can never lose anything, that you are so loved, and that you are whole, and most importantly, that you can still love, no matter what, you can still love.
Cristina Espinosa, a Mexican yogini, got to know Hridaya Yoga in early 2012, after breaking up from a long-term relationship. Healing and transformation came as true gifts of Grace through this practice and also triggered the need to express this wonderment in writing. She teaches Hridaya Yoga in Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico and aspires for a life in the sacredness and beauty of the Heart.