Updated: Apr 7, 2018
As part of the Sat Yoga 10-day Imperience Retreat, students are asked to reflect deeply on who they are and how their ego formed and functioned in their lives up to this point. One of the key offerings of the program is a creative expression class. This past November, 2017, Mallory Gerken created this beautiful drawing and shares this short essay on its meaning and impact on her. We share it, with Mallory’s kind permission.
This image came to me while I was out for a walk around Arunachala; it was a beautiful day with a fine cloud-like mist in the air, perfect weather for a walk. As I walked I reflected on my experiences here at Sat Yoga during the Imperience retreat. I had struggled with some aspects of the information in the teachings and classes; it brought up a lot of turmoil and confusion within me, but I also had profound moments of joy, love and clarity. When this image came to me I knew that I wanted to try and recreate it on paper, and as luck would have it an artistic expression class was scheduled for the very next day. I haven’t drawn or painted anything in over ten years so I was quite nervous about the endeavor, but I did my best to let go of my inhibitions and just let the image flow out of my mind and onto the paper.
To me, this image is representative of my experience during this Imperience retreat. The black background represents the darkness of confusion and struggle; the feelings of uncertainty, of not knowing who I truly am and what I am supposed to be doing with my life and the fear that comes with that realization; the pain of feeling unloved, unworthy and just generally not good enough. But even through all of that darkness there is still a nurturing, loving light that is providing sustenance to the flower, which represents my true being. From the flower, light, hope and truth are radiating outwards into the darkness of confusion and despair. Over time the darkness will disappear and love, having triumphed over all, will be the only thing left.
We have to go through the dark to get to the light, and being here for this Imperience retreat has helped me to process through some of my own darkness and find healing clarity. During meditation one night I felt like the walls I had built up around my heart over the years had come down, at least partially, and my heart was opened up to new levels of love and bliss that I had never experienced before, it was beautiful and exquisite. There is still more work to be done, but I am thankful for the opportunity I have had to be able to move further along the path towards bliss.