Pictures, statues and other works of art often capture the beauty of the soul as people seek peace and love through different spiritual paths. Omega Institute provided all of that for a group of US veterans at a retreat this past Fall. Below are a few photos that may have captured the spirit of meditation, and that is, “being in the moment.”
I have no idea who this couple was, as I shot them resting on a bench looking at two others in the boat sailing past them. Our PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) group, at the Omega Institute for a 5-day workshop of intense meditation, conducted a ceremony on the shore of the lake when I snuck away and saw the Autumn waterway watchers.
This quilt was one of four hanging from rafters in the dining hall. Each “patch” measured 12-by-12 inches and depicted various spiritual symbols.
I left the group to seek solitude in the “Sanctuary” at the top of the hill overlooking the grounds of the retreat in the Hudson River valley some 100 miles outside of New York City. This bell symbolized the “calling” many of us received and responded to while here. Grateful that some still lingers.
A small pond held many wonders if one simply took time to see. Look at this rock formation. What a balance. You and nature. You and the Self within.
The Rev. Claude AnShin Thomas, an ordained Buddhist monk, sets fire to messages that veterans wrote, hoping to “detach” themselves from an activity that triggers their PTSD. The group met on the shores of the Omega Institute lake, forming a circle around the former infantryman who years later studied Buddhism in Vietnam, and returned to America to help PTSD sufferers world-wide.
Letting go. One attachment by another. Step by step. Day by day. All burning away until possibly reaching “Nirvana,” which literally means “extinguishing” or “blowing out” all the fires of desire.
Meditation started at 7 a.m. and continued through 9 p.m. with silence the entire day, even at meal-time. The silence was most welcome while seated in the hall with 50 veterans, some family members and friends all seeking healing from war and its aftermath.
Idols of all shapes and sizes greeted us at the Omega Institute October 25, 2009. This one of the Elephant diety was one of my favorites. The more than 3-foot tall statue greeted all to the sauna who were seeking relaxation and a little detoxification.
For more photos, see Love found ‘idol-ing’ at Omega Institute