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Gentle perseverance and its hidden powers.




Ten days ago, on a Thursday morning at 8:55, while preparing for my first call of the day an email arrived, after having read the email I excused myself for the next meeting, jumped up from my office chair quickly packed a bag and drove 300 km to attend a four-day silent retreat in the Black Forest.


But let's rewind to the beginning:


For years, I have dreamed of attending a silent retreat. I repeatedly tried to secure a spot in a "Vipassana retreat," a well-known program, but never succeeded. This made me question whether silent retreats were truly for me.


Already during my time as a global CEO, I explored monasteries offering such programs but at these times wasn't ready to commit. To be honest, with hindsight I do not think that I could have survived even an hour of silence at that time :-) .


Finally, early January, I decided to sign up for a retreat organized by the Self Realization Fellowship of Paramahansa Yogananda. The master I am Following since March 23 whose teachings instilled a sense of calm in me I never encountered before.


It wasn't an easy decision. Even though I study his lessons and exercise his meditation practices diligently, for some weeks already, I had a kind of a lapse in faith in my own commitment in the chosen path.

During my meditation sessions, I sought Paramahansa-ji’s guidance and on a sunny Saturday morning in January, I registered for the retreat.

What happened next? 

As with my earlier Vipassana attempts, this time too, the organizers informed me that the retreat was already booked out, and if I want I can be on the waiting list: at the 6th position!!!


Disappointed but having faith in the guidance of my Guru, I replied, expressing my willingness to be on standby. 

A week before the retreat, my status improved to third on the list. My hopes rose, though I knew three cancellations so close to the event were unlikely.


The day before the retreat, with no change in my status, I sent a last message: I'd be ready to leave until 9 AM the next day if a spot opened. I had no expectations and was fully prepared to not be part of the experience.

I just felt that I need to go the extra mile this time as it resonated so deeply for me on my spiritual path.

Back to Thursday morning, 8:55. 


That's when I received an email about a last-minute cancellation. They offered me the spot because I had made myself memorable. At the checkin the responsible said that they had never had somebody who wanted to be part of the retreat so badly and showed such a gentle perseverance :-).


What did I learn? 

  • First, not to despair when things don't go as planned, like with my Vipassana attempts. Most of the times there is an unknown reason when plans do not work out as we intend them too and there's often something more meaningful to come. 

  • My commitment and persistence, guided by an unseen force, made this experience possible. 

  • Persistence matters when you're convinced it's the right path. Otherwise, there's no point in forcing it.


Ultimately, Paramahansa Yogananda's words, "God helps those who help themselves," gained profound significance for me.


keep inspired Marc0 | linktr.ee/marcohouwen

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