I have been ridiculously blessed in my short life with the many incredible experiences I have had, including but not limited to overseas travel, growing up in a beautiful country town, going to an amazing boarding school, having many talented, inspiring and generous friends, and receiving scholarships that have opened doors to my wildest dreams. However, last week I had possibly the most amazing, utterly life changing experience yet – I went on retreat.
As it happens, my mum met John Vasta in February 2014 and in July 2014 they ran the first Vasta Retreat, lead by John. Fast-forward one year and Peta and I finally had the chance to attend a retreat with Mum and John to learn tools and techniques that John has been teaching and mastering over the last 30 years. Even though Mum has been with John through five of these retreats now, I was still very much in the dark as to what it was all about. Vaguely, I knew there was some meditation, brain training and “spiritual stuff” involved, but I had no idea what I was in for…
To explain the transformation that occurred in me in one week would be impossible. To explain how I witnessed other people overcome years and even a lifetime of hurt, pain and grief and then be re-born is equally impossible. The difficulty is that this reflection will be very vague, as there are no words to describe and explain the experience completely. The only you could understand what the power of this retreat is to experience it yourself.
I must admit, going in I thought I might be someone who wouldn’t gain as much from the retreat as others. I thought I already knew a fair bit about spirituality thanks to my yoga practice and I already had a regular meditation practice. How wrong I was… In five short days I learnt more about my brain, meditation and myself that I could ever have imagined.
It was challenging, enlightening, fun and overwhelmingly empowering. By Friday I felt like I was floating on a cloud. I was light and felt freer than I could ever remember feeling. My chest was free from anxiety and my mind clear of hassling thoughts. Everything in my life was running like a very smooth, well-oiled machine. I had released past regrets, hang-ups and relationships that weren’t serving me. The best part? It was all so simple.
The way that John teaches his techniques during the retreat makes them accessible to absolutely anyone. You don’t need a PhD to understand the concepts; in fact you probably don’t even need to have completed high school. John clearly and eloquently explains the beliefs and patterns that don’t serve us and then gives you simple (I mean seriously easy) tools to use to rectify these habits. Each day builds on the previous days, so that by the end of the week you have a metaphorical tool-kit filled with everything you need to create the life of your dreams.
I cannot recommend this retreat enough. Sure, you might think I am biased since it is my mum who helps to run them, but I can tell you that my experience is the basis for all of the praise I have for the retreats. I truly believe, with all of my being, that anyone who wants to change any aspect of their life, who wants to learn to relax and enjoy the journey, who wants to learn an easy and effective meditation technique or who is feeling like they are stuck in a ‘rut’ would love this retreat. Take one week of your life, make an investment in yourself and watch your life transform!
Now that I have returned back home and to ‘normal’ life I have entered the maintenance phase of this journey. Maintenance simply involves regular (but not necessarily lengthy) meditation and use of the techniques John taught us when they are needed. Piece. Of. (GF, SF, DF) Cake.
Keep healthy, keep happy,