Retreat to understand

The natural quiet of Hampshire’s rolling fields of corn and hay, magical woodlands, and green pastures where sheep loll, is the breathtaking setting for The Krishnamurti Centre, where I have just spent four days.

A reader of Krishnamurti books years ago, I was drawn to the Centre for its allure of resounding quiet, peaceful reflection, and study away from daily distractions most of us contend with.

The Centre has to be visited to be understood. The grounds are spacious, yet intimate. My room opened onto sweeping lawns, and a majestic tree – probably oak though it was unimportant to know for sure – and fields beyond. The air was still, and alive at once with squinting birdsong, bleating sheep and the sweetest of breezes before the hot sun baked the land.


There was no agenda or timetable to adhere other than meals – all wholesome and delicious – where we met other kindred spirits, or if preferred, sat in solitude at the ‘silent table’. I sat with others – often different people each meal, and shared serious, intense, light-hearted and generous conversations. With barely any introductions necessary, exchanges of substance ensued. There is an underlying understanding that all of us at the Centre respect each other, the surroundings, the building, the quiet, the thinking, the solitude, the togetherness, Mother Nature and our own.


I love walking by myself amidst Nature’s earthy smells, sumptuous hues and unspoilt spaciousness. Taking notice of the delicate beauty in a wild flower, or in the wondrous panoramic views as far as the eyes reach, fills me with gratitude and purpose. Nourished, my London lungs expanded, and breathed more easily – with a smile on the inside – during each of the three long walks I went on whilst on retreat.


The sheep I met crossing their fields, were variously friendly or scared of my presence. Either way I found it very natural talking to them as I walked by, or in some cases lingered when they appeared interested. To the ones that ran or bleated in panic, I reassured them (out loud) that I was just passing by, and no harm was intended here. I would like to think they understood I was a friend.


The Centre’s library, complete with a video archive of Krishnamurti talks, and dialogue, is open to all guests. I chose to view one video from 1975 that put a face, and voice to the books I had read. Immersive viewing. There is also a Quiet Room, where shoes are left outside, and anyone can sit in silence to meditate, contemplate or reflect. When I visited I was the only one there – it was a rare experience to feel uplifted, grounded, nurtured, and giving all at once in the light-filled circular room.


The Grove is a wooded sanctuary in the grounds where I discovered a very special place to meditate and practise yoga outdoors. In the secluded shade of this gentle, soothing and accepting spot, on one day of my practice, I decided to document some of my postures. Neither through vanity or show-womanship, simply because I wanted a visual witness to capture how connected I felt, to my body, my mind, my yoga practice in these peaceful woods.


Sometimes words and images fall short of the true feeling we have, in any given moment. Sometimes we have to just ‘be there’ to understand ourselves more clearly. Sometimes we have to dialogue with others – we may have just met – to see a quieter truth.

I visited the Krishnamurti Centre to allow my quiet self to breathe, my true nature to understand, my whole being to reconnect to meaning. I am thankful to everyone who works there, guest helpers or just visited like me for your heart-felt welcome, and endless generosity of spirit. Till next.


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© amanda yensa manor 2017





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