That silence which is the silence of the ending of noise is only a small beginning. It is like going through a small hole to an enormous, wide, expansive ocean, to an immeasurable, timeless state. But this you cannot understand verbally unless you have understood the whole structure of consciousness and the meaning of pleasure, sorrow and despair, and the brain cells themselves have become quiet. Then perhaps you may come upon that mystery which nobody can reveal to you and nothing can destroy.
Casa della Pace silent retreats are inspired by simplicity. Participants will not find detailed directions, more or less complex about what to do or how to concentrate, but an environment which is calm, where nature play an important role and where the very few rules are meant to allow a space without distractions, obligations, useless noises, non-essential occupations. Time moves at a slow pace, measured by the day schedule: meeting for walking, sitting or eating, by the solitary moments and the rhythm of sunlight that grows and then decrease leaving space for the night.
Silence is not an aim to be reached but a condition, simply we decide to spend some days avoiding distractions from observation; silence does not demand faith, nor being part of a group, neither accepting new ideas and behaviours. It is the ground and not the plant. Soil has an important part when we grow a plant, we care after it if we wish to have a strong and beautiful plant. Silence during a retreat have its own quality of care, attention, warmth, gentleness, kindness, quietness, vitality.
In that silent, simple and essential space the natural activity becomes to observe yourself, to be aware of what is. The quality of observation produce the quality of silence. The quality of silence and observation becomes naturally central also in the small, common and essential daily actions: walking, sitting, looking around, resting.
All instructions bring into being their own reactions, in attempting to accomplish them or resisting against them. What happens in observation cannot and must not be organized; it is the world of freedom: only in freedom observation may exist. Observation is a natural activity, an intrinsic capacity of the mind as the senses of sight and taste, but it is so often forgotten, distorted, unused, to the point that it may result as something difficult, faraway and frightening.
In silence, when there are no occupations, distractions or aims to be accomplished, what remains is observation. To observe a leaf bright in the sun, a cloud moving lazily, a thought, an emotion or a memory has an extraordinary value when there is inner space; it reveals things as they are disclosing a spontaneous order, an order that does not depend on control and has, therefore, creativity, depth, freedom and beauty.
Through an observation which is natural, spontaneous, not forced by methods nor directed to some predefined aim, a deep inner change might happen, something that is in relation with ending inner conflict and with the discovery of the sacred in the present moment.
Without doubt a silent retreat may become a powerful mean for a personal change but there is no therapeutic attempt; the change is a sort of by-product. While observing, a clear vision of what is comes into being, confusion ceases and truth appear as a sudden light, the me, with its eternal mumbling upon its problems, remain aside leaving space for the simple and fresh flow of life.
Santi, the writer of this lines and founder of Casa della Pace, is the person responsible for the retreats. He is responsible to provide a human and concrete environment supportive of silence, of facilitating the dialogue and to bring elements of reflection. He met meditation in 1984 continuing since then to deepening the study mainly through the work of J.krishnamurti. During the last fifteen years, he has been facilitating dialogue and silent retreats at Casa della Pace.
What lies beyond can be found only if the mind is still. There may be something or there may be nothing at all. So the only thing that is important is for the mind to be still. Again, if you are concerned with what lies beyond, then you are not looking at what the state of actual stillness is. If stillness to you is only a door to that which lies beyond, then you are not concerned with that door, whereas what is important is the very door itself, the very stillness itself. Therefore you cannot ask what lies beyond. The only thing that is important is for the mind to be still. Then what takes place? That is all we are concerned with, not with what lies beyond silence.