Hawaii Retreat Takeaways

March 2019

The subject of the Spring Hawai’i retreat was shravana, manana, & nididhyasana — hearing the Truth, contemplating the Truth, & realizing the Truth. In doing my own manana on manana, I’ve come to realize just how important it is. Not long into my contemplation process, I began to realize that there are many things that I’ve accepted as truth without really putting in the effort to prove it for myself. Some of these things seemed more trivial than others, like gravity for example. I thought to myself, “Do I really need to contemplate something like gravity until I come to the same conclusions as Newton & Einstein?” My answer is no, but only because I have a firm enough background in physics to be sure of the existence of gravity.

However, there may be people out there whose only understanding of gravity is that it’s the reason why things fall toward the ground when they’re dropped. Then I wondered, “What would happen if you took that person to outer space?” They may be forced to conclude that gravity must not exist in places like outer space, which of course couldn’t be farther than the truth. Gravity — in truth — exists everywhere. I saw that the danger in accepting yet never examining the truths that I hear, is that whatever faith, belief, or understanding of said truths that I claim is about as strong as a straw house in a tornado. Not only that, but a shallow belief may also cause one to come to the wrong conclusions around a certain truth.

Alongside manana, one of the many things that stuck with me this retreat was the idea of practice being a practice of remembrance. It’s easy to lose sight of a teaching like manana; we forget that to hear is more than just to memorize, and that realizing the Truth isn’t a direct result of hearing It. So, when hearing the teachings on retreat, I mustn’t forget to take the time to meditate on each Truth deeply, weigh them up against the testimony of the Seers & the words of the Scriptures, discuss them with my Guru, & ultimately perceive each Truth as the internal voice of the Vak Devi.