Several years ago a friend of mine was telling me about a retreat center in the Catskill Mountains of New York. She said it was called The Peace Village. Now this same friend tells me that she doesn’t remember our conversation and has never been to Peace Village… ironic.
I’m happy to say I’ve been three times now and each time is always life changing.
The Peace Village is located in Tannersville NY – a beautiful little town in the heart of the Catskill Mountain range. The village is a branch of the Brahma Kumaris organization… a spiritual group that was established in the 1930s in India. They are teachers of meditation and very practical and gentle with their teachings. For more information, check out http://www.brahmakumaris.org/.
I didn’t know anything about Brahma Kumaris when I first visited Peace Village back in the summer of 2016. I didn’t need to honestly. I showed up and was humbled by the practices I learned. I had been meditating for 2 years or so but something about the retreat setting was incredibly different. I felt the sensation that comes with group intention. That first retreat was profound. I felt the energy and the love that came from all of the different participants. So many of us coming from so many different walks of life, but all of us connected and eager to learn and embrace meditation and a more powerful spiritual practice.
Peace Village is run by Volunteers, and many teachers who work closely with the Brahma Kumaris organization. These wise souls understand the balance that is required, that we learn when we bring the outside world to the village, and the graceful discipline that comes with meditation. They make it do-able. They talk to you from their place of understanding, from their real life experiences. These teachers are real live people too, and not one of them is exempt from the life lessons we are all learning every day. If anything, it just amplifies their wisdom and knowledge.
A typical retreat starts between 5 and 7pm on Friday evening at check in. I am always matched up with 2 room mates because I attend the retreat alone. If you have 1 or 2 people joining you, you bunk with them. The accommodations are modest, simple, practical. You bring your own toiletries and towels, and maybe an extra pillow or blanket if you’d like. You don’t spend much time in your room because for the most part you are in the lecture hall listening, meditating, learning and meeting others.
The food is amazing. It’s all hand cooked by the volunteers at the center. There is a mild Indian vibe to the pallet, a lot of wonderful spices and seasonings hiding in the food, along with it being a vegetarian line up. There is always hot tea and coffee available and snacks to break up the day.
You spend all day Saturday in classes, guided meditations and group exercises, and depart from the center after class on Sunday morning by 11am.
When I received the itinerary for the 2018 Retreats that were being offered, I was pulled to an all women retreat taking place the weekend of Mother’s Day. I signed up for this wonderful event in late February and knew it was going to be another uniquely wonderful event – just like the others I had attended.
Each time I return from the village, things change drastically in my life. My focus shifts from the external world to my own internal world. I feel connected, calm, prepared. Things may be happening around me, but nothing is happening that I can’t handle. I think of this as hitting the restart button.
The Women’s retreat that I attended – A Time to Shine – as it was appropriately called truly resonated with me. It reminded me of so many things that I have forgotten. Not just recently forgotten, but things that just never really hit home in the past decade or so. It reminded me of how important it is for me to be a woman. It reminded me of my innate wiring to love and nurture, to balance and to listen to the wisdom that is already a part of who I am.
It reminded me to embrace my femininity… to shine.
Your time at The Peace Village will be a priceless experience. When you park on the campus you can feel something in the air. There is a stillness, a slowing – if you will – that radiates from the natural beauty surrounding you and the lesson of peace that is always in session.
We live in such a face paced world, it’s surprising that there aren’t more people flocking to such a wonderful treasure. The village operates on donations. The belief being that you can’t accurately put a price on spirituality. The people running the center are all volunteers, and many understand that what they put in is eventually given back to them.
If you are searching for something, if you are wanting to gain insight about yourself, if you just need a few minutes (hours or days…) to breathe and find some quiet… I suggest you book a stay at Peace Village. I’ve had 3 separate experiences there, and it never ceases to amaze me – the insight that comes from 38 hours of peace, slowing and understanding. I’ve seen tense skeptics and wise spiritual masters all benefit from their time at the village.
I hope you’ll give it a chance.