Several months ago I sat at my computer reading over a list of possible retreat options. Usually once a year, if not twice, I visit The Peace Village… a meditation and learning center located in the Catskill Mountains, about 90 minutes from my home in upstate New York.
I have been to several different themed retreats in the past 3 years, and was deciding on whether to visit Peace Village again in the fall, for my 5th experience.
I scrolled through the list of options and stumbled upon a retreat that was focused on tying together the concepts of science and spirituality.
In my house, this is a daily concept that needs constant clarification.
I am the “spiritual” one in our home. I meditate, my office is full of astrology books, Tarot decks, Buddhas, gemstones and even a crystal ball. I lean more in the direction of an energetic power helping us live our lives. A higher consciousness that is not fully understandable and not prove-able but is still present at all times.
My husband – is a logic minded thinker. He likes proof. He is more black and white and is comfortable with what he can see. He won’t take a Tarot reading from me, but he will be the first to acknowledge that it may be helpful for others. However, his mind won’t let him go there. He is concrete and believes in what he can see, trace and analyze.
So I sat with my registration complete for this particular retreat, Science of the Soul… and contemplated whether I should bring my husband along. I thought to myself ‘it’s better to ask for forgiveness than it is for permission’ – and so I registered him too.
Within a few minutes, I got my confirmation email from the center… followed up by a text from Jeramie… asking if I had signed him up for a retreat.
“It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission” I responded to his text.
As I packed our clothes on Friday afternoon, I was still a bit surprised that he wasn’t trying to get out of going. We made it up to the center around 6:30 pm and when we did introductions to the group, answering the question “What brought you here?” Jeramie answered honestly.
Along the lines of ‘my wife made me’.
But I didn’t MAKE him. He chose to come. He made a choice to have this experience with me, keeping a relatively open mind that it would help us as a couple and that’s what brought him out.
Then there was me.
In my head… honestly, there was a lot of ‘maybe this will help him’ going on. I really had to be honest with myself and say that as much as I was telling him, this weekend is what you make it; have your own experiences, draw your own conclusions, you’ll get out of it what you most need – I had to tell myself THAT too. I wasn’t there for him. If he hadn’t come with me, I would’ve gone alone. I had my own healing that needed to take place and thankfully I got humble enough within the first few hours of arriving to realize this.
The Peace Village is an amazing place. I’ve written about it once before, but I always recommend that people experience it first hand. For the past 3 years of my life, it has been a major component of my growth and learning as a person. The facility is owned by the Brahma Kumaris – a spiritually based group out of India that teaches major principles around meditation and inner peace. They welcome everyone with open arms, teach what they have practiced, and send you on your way to use what is most helpful to you.
This particular weekend was focused on tying together some of the principles of science, experimentation and the question of consciousness.
It was perfect.
It represented a major question in my own life, and that of my husband.
The facilitators were all men (a first for me… usually it’s men and women – or only women – presenting). But the participants were mostly women with maybe 6 out of 30 being men.
All three men presenting had their own unique style. They did an impeccable job of prompting questions in your mind, and allowing you to contemplate where your answers were going to come from. They shared their theories, and they shared the science of what society actually knows.
I looked over to my husband often and saw him nodding in agreement. In fact, most of the group spent the weekend nodding as theories and relationships were presented to us. The things that may not have necessarily been proven “truths” were still open for contemplation.
It was clear that to be scientific about the sensitive topic of spirituality, there was going to need to be experimentation on a personal level for every person in the room. We discovered that to change and learn we would need to be experimenting with our powerful thoughts, with meditation, with the ideas and concepts that were presented. The scientific theory applied to the topic of spirituality.
Test and discover your own results.
At the end of the retreat – there was no definitive answer of what was right and what was wrong. There is no way to prove that science has it right and spirituality has it wrong, or vice versa.
It was clear though… that we are all very different. We as humans come from different places and our thoughts are as individual as we are. We build our truths based on the lives we’ve lived and the awareness in our mind. We can change our mind at any time, playing with the choice to accept or deny an idea that is presented to us.
My husband and I both learned over the weekend; which was the main goal. We learned that we can come from different places, with different ideas and perspectives and still come together. Probably one of my biggest fears is growing apart from my partner, and I expressed that to him ((in tears)) as we drove home yesterday. I want us to be able to collaborate, to integrate his science principles, his proof and experimentation, with my spiritual beliefs. There are things we may never know – and that’s okay.
That’s where faith comes in.
Up until Saturday, faith was a word with a major religious connotation to it, and a word that honestly triggered some guarded feelings in my home. However, we learned something new about faith. Faith is believing in something that you have no real reason to necessarily believe. You have confidence that if a home is wired properly, the lights will turn on when you flip a switch. That’s not faith though. Faith is a belief (the two are synonyms) that even though two partners may be on opposite ends of the science/spirituality spectrum, there is deep love there and the ability to come together. Faith is believing in something that may not be obvious on the physical level, but can be felt and intuited. Faith is a knowing that with love, practice and understanding that this thing that is not always obvious and present – can move into a true knowing and into existence.
So again, I find myself on the other side of a Peace Village experience.
I feel faith in my marriage and my understanding of what is going on around me. I took away so much in the course of 41 hours, including a partner who understands a bit more about his wife and his own belief systems.
I am peaceful today. I am wiser. I understand things that were buried in me 2 days ago, and now I move forward to apply this knowledge in my own life – and hopefully share it with those who are asking.
I am peace.