and Cultural Congregation-The 2001 European Five-day Retreat
August is the time of year when most Europeans like to go
on vacation to recover from the year's hard work and bathe in the summer
sun, bringing some of its radiant energy into the chillier autumn and
winter seasons. So, what month could have been better for holding the
fifth annual All-European Retreat and for basking in the radiant warmth
of God's all-embracing love?
12 to 16, about 200 brothers and sisters from 16 European countries
gathered at a campsite near Budapest, Hungary for a five-day meditation
retreat. The event in Hungary was the first European retreat ever held
in Eastern Europe, and more Eastern European disciples than ever before
attended. Among the participants were many initiates from the countries
that Master visited during Her 1999 lecture tour, such as Bulgaria,
Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Portugal, Scotland, Ireland, and Sweden. Even
though the attendees came from many different countries and spoke many
different languages, the atmosphere was very harmonious.
had to travel for several days to reach the retreat site. For example,
a brother from Portugal, who could not afford to pay for transportation,
hitchhiked for four days to reach the site. All during his trip, he
recited the Holy Names, and felt that his journey had been arranged
perfectly by Master. He rode on several trucks, and almost each time
he stepped out of one truck, another turned up that happened to be going
in the right direction. All through his trip he was filled with overwhelming
gratitude to Master for Her care and incredible arrangements.
Master could not join us, She made a point to send us Her special good
wishes for an enjoyable retreat. Her loving energy was strongly felt
from the beginning to the end of the event. Through Her blessings, all
activities proceeded smoothly, as the Master Power arranged everything
perfectly up to the smallest detail. Many practitioners strongly felt
Master's presence, especially during the meditation sessions. One sister
said that each time we watched Master's video, it was as if Master were
sitting there in person. With the support of the group, many of the
new initiates who had never attended a retreat before achieved breakthroughs
in their meditation practice. Some had never been able to sit for such
long periods before, and were amazed at their own progress. The 15 Polish
initiates in attendance were especially grateful, as they are normally
unable to go to international retreats due to financial and visa problems.
days passed all too quickly, and during the retreat's last meditation
session, a particularly strong gust of wind blew up, as if the trees
around us were saying goodbye to the practitioners and bowing to thank
the Master-power for the good vibrations. On the premises of the campsite
were many animals, including horses, geese, goats, donkeys, cats, and
dogs. In the beginning, some of the animals were quite noisy and restless,
but by the end of the retreat, it seemed that they had calmed down a
lot and looked quite serene.
last meditation session, the meditation tent was quickly transformed
into a party venue with colorful balloons and ribbons, and soon the
initiates' happy smiles were transformed into loud laughter when the
entertainment program began. The performance was truly multicultural:
Several sisters performed dances, ranging from a traditional Indian
dance to classical ballet and contemporary dance to a modern disco dance.
The audience also cheerfully joined in the performances of songs from
many different countries. At the end of the performance, some enthusiastic
initiates began to dance spontaneously in the joyous atmosphere.
retreat ended, a peaceful and serene ambiance still could be felt strongly
at the campsite. Most practitioners agreed that it had been a wonderful
and highly uplifting retreat, and looked forward to having more European
Retreats in the future.