christmas holidays in Guatemala
- I have just come back from an amazing three weeks Christmas Trip retreat in Guatemala. The Christmas Trip is truly the magical holiday every childlike heart must dream of. It has all the ingredients to thrill both body, mind and soul.
Mornings begin with one's private spiritual disciplines and a beautiful, scenic run through the breathtaking scenery of the Guatemalan outback with its steep hillsides, omnipresent volcanoes and spellbinding lakes. Then a sumptuous breakfast of local delights, all ready on the table as if a magic wand had whipped it up - with gratitude to the hotel ferries.
The ten 'o clock morning function starts with Guru's two most sacred songs, followed by a varying palette of meditations, prayers and songs compiled by daily varying disciples. The sweetest part is saved for the end when Dhanu unearths a treasure from his vast archives and we hear Guru speak, chat, joke and lecture to his disciples. Although the actual recording took place decades ago, time and space bow to the ever-new messages, love and concern of our Guru. When I closed my eyes it was as good as sitting in his physical presence.
The afternoon is an empty canvas to be filled with play-practices, soccer, scenic strolls, lunch and easy talk, filling our senses with the peaceful beauty of our surroundings and the joy of a spiritual family gathering ready for unalloyed and innocent fun.
Evenings are harvest-time, delivering the fruits of our day's adventures, whether it be plays, stories, songs or slide-shows of adventurous volcano hikes.
Each of the three weeks brought us to a new location, from the unrivaled and pristine beauty of Lake Atitlan, to the hustle and bustle city life of the capital and closing with old-colonial, almost pastoral beauty in small town Antigua. And each week was crowned by a soulful concert performed for the public, where different disciple groups presented Guru's music to an appreciative local audience. In the last concert, performed open-air in front of an ornate and almost intact 17th century hermitage to a crowd of some 500 listeners sitting in the amphitheater opposite, it seemed we were performing for the heavens itself, stretched out just beyond the audience against the purple-blue backdrop of the mountains, the dusk and the setting sun. Unforgettable.
I truly envy all those who are still on the Trip or who are going to visit shortly. The joy packed in those few weeks will have to last at least until April. But I'm pretty confident it will.
- Hello Abhinaba!
Yes the time in Lake Atitlan was truly heaven on earth!
The early morning meditations were certainly a highlight for me; watching the sun come up over the lake and illuminating nature's beauty, the meditations felt effortless.
And the morning functions were absolutely soulful, with Guru's presence felt most profoundly. The tapes of Guru speaking are priceless!
I think the fact that there were just over 100 people at that location somehow made it sweeter and more intimate, and I made friends with people I might not have otherwise met.
Afternoon shopping was of course a highlight (at least for the girls), and meeting and talking with the shopkeepers was fun, as the Guatemalan people were all sweetness.
I also enjoyed watching the soccer and basketball games and play practices from my balcony!
Guru always inspired us with innocent joy!
I accidentally erased EVERY last picture from my camera (ack!), so I encourage anyone who was there to post their pictures on the disciple photo site so that I have something to look at and remember:)
And by the way, Shishir just came back, and he was very grateful for the plays and Merlin the Magician:)
- Amen to that!
The Christmas Trip in Guatemala exceeded my expectations in every way (and, having experienced a Christmas Trip before, they were already high to begin with!) I had no idea I was in for such breathtaking views of exquisite nature scenes, wonderful encounters with the sweet and extremely hospitable local Guatemalans and most of all, a daily supply of pure joy and endless spiritual inspiration.
From Panajachel's majestic volcano-surrounded lake to Antigua's colorful, detailed buildings and the picturesque country side, my camera's memory card took very little effort to max out. So I am left with countless pictures to remember the experience by. However, what I think I will remember the most is the very poignant feeling of gratitude I felt throughout the whole trip. Gratitude for the pristine meditations, for Guru's unmistakable presence in all of the functions and for our very special spiritual family- it really did feel like a family, I felt like each person contributed so much to the experience. In each endeavor there was nothing but oneness.
It was as if I was magically transported to a heavenly realm of bliss with the best quesadillas and juices I've ever tasted and some of the most (often unintentionally) hilarious plays I've ever seen.
Wow! Be it celebrations, a simple joy day or the Christmas Trip- every time we gather together in Guru's name amazing things happen both inwardly and outwardly. We are so lucky to have these opportunities.
If you could not make it to the trip this year, I suggest you do everything in your power to make it happen next year. It will blow your mind, guaranteed.
With a smile,