Saturday, December 28, 2013

Lessons from the monks

photo from

They wake up at dawn to meditate, they do things in silence, and they have devoted their lives to teach raja yoga.  They are actually volunteers of an international non-government organization (which is in consultative status with the United Nations) and residents of the Center of Spiritual Learning (CSL) but I prefer to call them monks.

I want to be like them (please see I want to be a monk), so for a year I would go up to cool and hilly Tagaytay to stay with them during my weekends.

Meet the residents 

The sisters and the lone brother in CSL rarely give me instructions instead they teach by example.

I usually arrive Saturday afternoon. A motherly Sister Yogini welcomes me with her signature twinkling eyes and the warmest "Hello, hello, hello!".  Before I even put my luggage in my room, I'll be ushered to the kitchen where the center coordinator, Sister Sushila greets me with a wide Cheshire cat grin and a hot bowl of soup.  She usually sits down with me and asks how my week had been.   On the other side of the dining hall, I'll catch a glimpse of Sister Adel sitting by lone self and eating in meditative silence.

Sunday morning breakfast will not be complete with Sister Natalie's freshly baked pandesal and brewed coffee.  She reminds me of my grandmother (though she’s probably only in her late thirties) as she is always in the kitchen- happily concocting and preparing dishes and pastries.  Often, she'll let me taste the new vegetarian recipe she's experimenting with.  After breakfast, Sister Tims orients me about the things I have to do in the next two days.  I love how she gives me the creative freedom to do tasks the best way I know how. Sometimes, she'll remind me, "Karen, it's never about the end-result.  Always check what you're becoming in the process."

Before the day ends, Bro. William who to me looks like a gentle bear because of his big built and very refined manners packs up the kitchen.  If I have time, I help him out but he always insist that I rest earlier than him.

The Secret
Visitors and guests of the Tagaytay retreat center will always comment that they instantly feel at peace as soon as they enter the door.  Let me tell you in on a secret, it is because the "monks" who live there have filled each and every corner of the place with pure, peaceful and loving vibrations in their moments of silence and as they go about their chores.

Don't take my word for it, come see for yourself.  The Center for Spiritual Learning regularly holds retreats and meditation classes.  Drop by and treat yourself to a spa for the soul.  

                                             video from Easy Meditation

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