REFLECTIONS FROM PAST RETREATANTS
The dark has become my most beloved teacher and a space where I am in an ever-deepening connection with Eternity.
I tend to spend the majority of my time laying down, welcoming all that appears, as I soften and rest into the simplicity of being.
" “Strictly speaking, there are no enlightened people, there is only enlightened activity."
- Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki
The dark retreat itself was a gruelling experience – where you’re bound to find your edge daily. There is a lot of fear wrapped up when you can’t see your environment! I was attracted to the experience to try for a reset, to reduce my addiction to technology. The dark retreat experience coupled with the fresh air, giant cedar trees, waterfalls, fresh soil and beautiful community there felt very healing. This is very appealing to me as a way to live and changed my perspective on what I want in my future!
I quickly found in the experience that once you deprive yourself of light, technology and all those things we are so addicted to in the world around us, you very quickly and easily go inside yourself. I saw myself viewing, feeling and seeing things of the past that I had completely forgotten about using a different set of eyes. I also found my meditations were the brightest they had ever been in my life! I saw so much inner light inside that at times I would question if what I was seeing was actually in the room, which of course it wasn’t. Overall without a doubt this experience was life changing.
This was the most transformative experience of my life. Secluded in wilderness in a comfortable room made of earth made me feel safe while I was able to open at a deep level. Scott provided amazing support by not only dropping food but also by listening as I moved through tough periods. When I came out to the world, I reintegrated in wild nature and met a warm kind community that showed me a happy sustainable way to live. All I have is gratitude for this experience.
Scott’s dark room experience provides the right balance of basic needs and nourishment. The room itself was clean & comfortable, allowing enough space to feel cozy but not cramped. Food was very good. The hot baths were delightful. I enjoy being alone and exploring my inner worlds in safety of the darkness.
I have been to Sky Cave three times for darkness retreats. Initially I was looking for a method of introspection that would allow me to integrate my experiences deeper into my everyday life. I had reached levels of realization through adding substances to my system and following methods but I wanted to find the purest, simplest route possible and this led me to the dark.
There was no high, no ecstasy, no easy mind-blowing revelations. It was a long, slow process of total awareness of myself.
It has been almost a year since my first darkness retreat and it is difficult to explain how it has impacted me in words, it seems too simple. All I can say is that I have stopped searching. I have everything I need, I am everything that I need.
I plan on returning to the dark once a year. The healing that my body undergoes without the pressures of light, sound, movement and time are indispensable. I am extremely grateful to Scott, his family and everyone who helped build the SkyCaves. They have created a space that is safe and comfortable for people to heal themselves.
The Dark Room provides a space where, due to the lack of any external stimulation, I could realize that the whole of my experience occurs within. A grand reminder that this is all there really ever is anyway and that transformation is accessible in one’s own heart.
This experience of the dark room for me presented the opportunity to remove the filters that I have in place in my daily waking life, to open to the immensity of the internal landscape, and to begin the unpacking of the backlogs of unprocessed information that could been seen precisely and addressed effectively within the spaciousness of the dark.
This 8 days was the deepest time I ever had with myself, nowhere to go, yet surprisingly compelling. I got to bear witness to the sheer volume of narratives that I had been running through my mind. There really wasn’t much respite from the work.
In the depths of the unraveling of my identification habits I was given a gift: the supreme power of forgiveness. This resurrected my individuality within my personal narratives.
"We're all just walking each other home."
- Ram Dass
The closest thing I can come up with relating the dark retreat to is being in the process of labor and giving birth to new life. It of course is not the same, but there are many similarities. The challenge of meeting each intense moment is there. The overwhelming waves are there. The unfolding mystery is there. What feels like Grace, is there. What feels like primordial Mother Space holding us all, is there. It’s incredibly profound and hard to relay the experience in words.
This was my first dark retreat experience, and I felt held so well in the container that Scott, Jill, and the land provided. I’d recommend Sky Cave to anyone who feels called to do a solo dark retreat, who has the willingness to blend with discomfort that arises, and who’s ready to witness the unknown and unseen in themselves. My body unwound so much that, a week later, I’m still integrating the spaciousness that the unwinding left behind. It was one of the most spiritual experiences I’ve had so far.
I had an amazing experience in the darkness retreat! My goal going in was to raise my level of awareness, and that it did! I became hyper-aware of how food affects my mind and body, and my thoughts were front-and-center, allowing me to deal with them and move beyond them. I would love to do it again.