Benefiting from Retreat


It was an extremely enjoyable and refreshing time, going on my annual silent retreat in the Monterey Peninsula with the Chopra Center. Not the huge revelations that I had on my first venture into week long silence, but Deepak was his usual provocative self and it was productive and educational none the less.

Leaving the retreat early in the morning, feeling rested—in balance emotionally, spiritually and physically—I glided through airline glitches and typical aggravations with no internal registering of stress. Until upon boarding, when I found someone in my seat! The flight attendant helped the family who had thought they had everyone’s seats right, correcting the seating. The irritated mother ended up sitting in the seat beside me. Loudly complaining. She will never use this airline again. And how can her children fly 5 hours without a screen for movies? No one told her they needed ear buds and their own devices!

I looked at her with her fire (Pitta) burning hot, and had a dread of sitting beside her for the whole, long flight. But, before the dread became a fixture in my system, I had the presence of mind to remember I had a choice. My reactions are my choice. So I calmed myself—breathe, relax, it’s just a little storm that will pass.

I settled in my chair. She continued to talk. To me, the attendants, the children, and her husband; she ordered Champaign, and began asking me questions. “Are you going home? Have you ever used this airline? Isn’t this awful? First Class, this is not even like it.”

I smiled. I sort of shrugged my shoulders. “Oh well.” I said. And I asked her what she is going to do in Florida. She began telling me of their plans, fun plans, and she started to calm down.

Then the miraculous happened. The more she talked, while I listened, the softer she got, the kinder, happier. She asked me what I was doing in Monterey and I told her. She was fascinated. When the subject turned to what the retreat was about, including balancing life with Ayurveda, yoga and meditation, she seemed intrigued, so I gave her a ‘sampling’. I told her of the mind/body types, and how we all react differently to life’s situations, events and stresses, according to our composition of the three doshas. Then, I told her about herself, her leadership qualities, her desire for the finer things in life, her strength and strong will etc. etc. And how she reacts to stress!

She smiled and acknowledged, Yes, yes!

Then I told her how her daughter has a similar mind/body type and that may cause them to clash sometimes, but it is just because they are so much alike. She is a leader too. I talked of the other girl, who I also thought was her daughter, and told her this one is different, quieter, more self-reflective, and sometimes blames herself for what goes wrong. And she tends to get a bit anxious. Well, the woman was completely amazed. Right on! She smiled. She told me this other girl wasn’t her own, she was her daughter’s best friend. And we went on like this. Her asking me questions and I answering. She told me that this has been a life changing moment for her. She asked me what books to read, where to go….

We had a great time. And then I meditated on the plane while they all figured out how to use their devices to watch movies.