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Good News from Israel

The editor received this news from Abraham Oron and Rachel Almog, both active workers and facilitators for the Theosophical Society in Israel.

Meditative Weekend At the Sisters of Zion convent, Ein Karem, Jerusalem
Friday & Saturday, May 10 & 11 2013

The Sisters of Zion convent, Ein Karem

In the beautiful and quiet surroundings of the convent and its gardens, we gathered during two days for a meditation retreat. Nearly 70 people, T.S. members and guests came together for inner listening and attunement to other participants and the surrounding nature. Amidst the beauty and serenity, the flowers, the fragrance of herbs, the sound of water flowing, and the birds singing, we sat quietly focusing on various themes or just moved around in walking meditation.

The central motto of the retreat's program was meditation, both guided and silent, accompanied by short discussions and sharing.


Togetherness in the open air

The program included activities in the meditation hall and the convent’s gardens, having intervals with guitar and flute music played by two of the members. In between the activities we enjoyed free time for relaxation, meeting with our friends.

Sharing and short discussions

Here are some of the topics:
- Meditation – to be simple and simply be
- Being present and open to colors, sounds, fragrances and the beauty of nature
- Looking within– making peace within our self
- Silent meditation and movement circle
- “Meditation comes to you only when your heart is open as a cloudless sky”. Meditating in the spirit of Krishnamurti
- The power of the present moment
- “Walking in Peace” - Meditating in the spirit of the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh
- Buddhist meditation – “May all beings be happy” 
During this weekend we felt blessed and inspired by a spirit of Peace, Harmony and Brotherhood.
The activities were led by Bracha Elron

The project of the quiet room at schools

Rachel Almog

Time, age and life experiences arouse me to ask more and more about the meaning of life. Why was I born, why do suffering and pain exist, and so on. I was agitated and my thoughts were spinning like a washing machine drum. I had no rest until I studied relaxation, meditation and visualization. One day I discovered that there is a lot of quietness in me. I asked myself again, what made me feel so quiet inside, my feelings and thoughts? Understanding that daily meditation was the reason, I felt really sorry for not knowing about it while I was younger. I could have avoided so much suffering, distress and frustration.

I thought about those many wasted years. If only I had known about the bliss of meditation; just taking a break every day, stop for a minute this crazy race of materiality, of all what we think about as important in life: career, money, social-class, trying to keep our youth and weight, to please, to be important and wanted, and so on. So much energy and strength I have invested for nothing, because I felt a huge growing emptiness inside, and although nothing really changed in my life, meditation gave me a new point of view about it.

The quietness I have experienced in 20 minutes of meditation in my room, isolated from outside noise and hustle, made the change and created a miracle. Indeed, this living marvel is but the start of a long way before me, yet it is a miracle. So I asked myself, even if I did not have this quietness in me when I was young, whether children could enjoy this and how. 
Being a teacher and used to educate my natural environment is the school. Although retired, I felt I should go back to school and teach kids the wisdom of meditation.

That is how the idea of "The Quiet Room" was born. I volunteered, and it's over 4 years that I have had a quiet room at school. Children come to the pleasant room I have created: curtains, a carpet from wall to wall, quiet background music, mattresses, cushions, board games and creative games.

All that the kids are asked to do in the room is to keep silent, play, talk and create silently. Talk kindly, no quarreling, no incitement, and no competitiveness. Just to calm down for one hour a week which is regretfully not enough. A child has no commitment in the quiet room. Nothing is demanded from him or her.

A child gets the chance to have a time-out from  a "stormy" life, where adults and friends all the time demand that high social standards are accomplished without checking if the kid is ready for that. Many children experience frustrations, hardships and problems and because of that often reach their adulthood being sore and sad.

I have asked myself: what is my goal? Can I achieve it? What do I want?
I want the world to be a more pleasant place to live in. I want us all to have a quieter mind. The kids that come to my quiet room do behave better to each other. They are more relaxed and quiet in the room. They enjoy attention and get it unconditionally. They feel pleased and repose and sometimes even take a nap. They are accepted with a big smile and a hug, and, according to their teachers, return to class satisfied and calmer.

I am thankful for that.


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