Contemplations from Retreat

by | Jan 27, 2017 | Blog

As many of you know, each year over the past dozen years or so, I have spent a month or more in silent retreat. 2013 was the longest period, a hundred days, and this past autumn I had the good fortune to spend nearly seven weeks in the quiet.

This might seem like a strange thing to do, especially given the strong pull that most of us feel to “get things done” and “be productive”. I too feel the power of those messages, but I can report that my life has not been made worse by my absences. On the contrary, the stepping away from, and returning to, daily commitments and habits has a tremendous clarifying effect. While the duration of a retreat very much depends on a persons’ situation and inclination, I wholeheartedly recommend periods of quietude to anyone who feels interested in turning inward and exploring the rich terrain of the human heart. Here is a poem that arose from this most recent period of dedicated contemplative practice:

Beautiful Offerings

The candles burn low,

but do not waver much,

while we sit,

quiet Now.

Words on a page,

or even on the lips,

cannot say what’s Here.

Let’s hold our hearts gently,

and without wavering much,

up to the soft light,


This year, I will be teaching a few such retreats. (Don’t worry, they aren’t too long – five and seven days!)