“I Meditation Artistic Retreat”
The Journey Of My Dreams ... in Thailand with Peace Revolution.
By Tania Sánchez, Spain
From time to time life gives you "gifts" and this one has been a treasure for me...
I had been searching for a long time for scholarships, contests, aids ... a path, a sign telling me "yes, this is it, you‘re not wrong." I've tried in a thousand ways to get out of Spain because here, it seemed impossible to move my painting ... I have fought, I have risked, I ‘ve been desperate ... But I suppose that, despite all the received "No", I have never lost hope.
Last December I was informed that I had been chosen to represent Spain at the first Artistic Meditation Retreat organized by the NGO First Artistic Meditation Retreat organized by the NGO Peace Revolution, a non-religious international initiative that seeks to generate future Peace leaders. Its fundamental principle is the idea that world peace is possible through inner peace.
Thus, I headed to Koh Yao Noi, a precious island that is almost untouched, located in a privileged place in southern Thailand. I spent 15 days there surrounded by beautiful nature, sharing the experience with 19 other artists from very different countries. We were all united by the same pretty cause: to spread a message of peace and tolerance to the world through our art.
Our mission: to relax, learn to enjoy the present moment, and prove the positive effects of meditation on the creative and artistic development.
We spent two weeks completely isolated from the world without phone, Internet, without news ... Meditating, doing yoga, listening and learning from the monks, breathing nature and painting ... Sometimes I missed the warmness of the closest people, to tell them what's happening, how this is, to know how they are ... But at the same time, this allowed me to disconnect from "reality", to reconnect with nature, with myself, with the things that really matter ...
During the daytime, we saw amazing landscapes and beautiful trees. And At night we heard the sounds of animals and saw the stars. Before this moment, I had never seen the stars as they were seen from there.
Together we created an art collection that was exhibited in February in Bangkok: "Samadhi - Santi Collection of Contemporary Art" (Samadhi = Meditation, Santi = Peace).
Personally, I wanted to take this opportunity to make a small tribute to the man that represents all the values that we talked about there: tolerance, respect, generosity, freedom, and most importantly: LOVE. The work is entitled "Love", it is a portrait in charcoal and Conté pencil of Nelson Mandela, and it is accompanied by the following text:
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, his background, or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to LOVE, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."
When I start to think about what this experience has meant to me, I began to smile. The eternal, magical, and valuable feelings are filled inside of me.
It has been four months since I’ve arrived from this adventure and I can say that it has been a dream! I returned home with a suitcase full of good things, Love lessons. The monks taught us the importance of putting ourselves in other people’s place ("putting yourself in other's shoes"), seeing the goodness in oneself and in others, and that worries are absolutely worthless. We should pursue happiness ("don't worry, be happy", "hakuna matata" they repeated ... I never imagined such a laughing monk!). We should live, enjoy, and savor every present moment, as it is a gift that will not return. The monks also taught us of how important it is to cultivate patience, keep a calm mind, be quiet (being "sabai"), being kind, and being respectful. It is also important to forgive and let go of the things that bother us. Only then can we be truly free. The monks also mentioned the importance of gratitude, loving yourself, and irradiating love. You receive what you give.
These are all small pearls of wisdom that I wish were taught in my childhood.
Meditation helps you cultivate inner peace and good feelings. It keeps the mind calm. It allows you to put aside all the problems, worries, and stress in everyday life. Meditation also helps you relax, see the goodness inside yourself, and observe things from other perspectives. "Our happiness depends on the way we think."
This has been a magical and wonderful experience which I am very fortunate to have shared with some very special people. I will never forget this experience. I returned home with the hope that in order to change the world, we need to start changing ourselves. Love, is without a doubt the most powerful feeling that exists and therefore it’s the best tool available to us!
From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU ALL for the wonderful experience!
Note: This article was originally published in Spanish in www.taniasanchezortiz.blogspot.com.es. We are making such material available in our efforts to promote the culture of peace. The original article can be accessed through the following link: