Bench seat at the beach

A three-day, personal, part-time retreat towards higher consciousness

In Insight and Experience by Allan HarveyLeave a Comment

Late one afternoon in mid spring I sat by the bay to reflect; for some time now I had felt a calling to initiate a further shift in my journey towards higher consciousness, but to take myself off to a mountain hideaway for ten days was just not feasible due to work and other commitments. I longed for some dedicated solitude and spiritual growth, but where and how could I achieve this amidst the requirements of a busy life? The peace of the moment provided the answer. I realised that not only was it possible but I was already there, and not far from home… I could visit this place for one or two hours a day over a few consecutive days.


It was only a short drive down a narrow single lane spit that emptied out onto a large circular point with boat ramps and a jetty, a shop and small picnic shelters, and large fig trees, which, together with tall Norfolk pines, dominated the scene. The area was pristine and beautiful. I sat at a wooden bench table, placed my little dark green Buddha before me, and had mediative music playing from my iPhone. The sea was calm with a slight ripple across the surface and it was near full tide. I could just make out the very slight curvature of the horizon that marked the shape of the greater Earth. Above, the white seagulls stood out against azure blue as they glided with the breeze. Here, began a wonderful revelation. Within the peace of this clear moment, the enormous mass of slow moving water met the stillness of the sky; the horizon became the division of the perennial earth and the ethereal heaven. At that moment without any thought, the sea was like my material body and the endless sky my spirit. I could touch the warm water, I could taste the salty brine, I could feel the sea moving with the tide. Like my spirit, the sky was elusive. I could see clouds and the colour of the atmosphere, but I could neither feel nor hear it – I knew it was there. The horizon was the present moment; the connection needed for my body and spirit to grow. Only a few hours had passed.

On the second day of my introspective pilgrimage, I had chosen the western side, which put the sun behind me and the mainland in front of me, and there is nothing quite like meditating while at one with nature on the birth of a new day as the receding tide continues its never-ending waltz with the moon.

The water was calm and the only movement was a small band of tiny sparrows wheeling and diving with amazing, synchronised acrobatic skill. Occasionally one, two or three of them would land right in front of me on a rock wall and preen themselves quickly and then off again. Up close these wonderful little creatures of creation quite simply took my breath away. Their dark purpled black wings, soft light grey breasts and rusty little faces were stunning little examples of nature. I thought to myself, ‘How could anyone observe these tiny pearls of the universe, and doubt the wisdom, depth and godliness of a higher source?’

At the same time an erratic white-winged butterfly fluttered past me and headed out across the clear water, only to land on the surface of the sea and disappear. Its short life at an end, too tired to flutter any more, the petite butterfly returned to the source, as indeed all and everything material must in time. My retreat towards higher self was providing answers to questions not asked, borne of the peace and attunement with nature.

The third and last visit in my trilogy of visits to this small reserve was early as the sun rose. It was a Sunday morning and there was a sharp coolness in the air. I faced the East and meditated with warmth on my face. This morning, however, I would not have the little reserve to myself. Before long I was surrounded by a small army of recreational boat owners, parking their cars and boat trailers, and then outward to the bay. Still, despite the clatter of boat engines, cars and the din of a garbage truck emptying the bins, nature went about its business as usual. This observation of nature quietly evolving had lulled me into a defined presence, a sharpness that enabled me to not only rise above the busyness of the material world, but to attune fully and in fact be part of the whole wonderful process.

On the third day and at that moment I felt like I was the sea, I was the sky, I was flying with the little swallows and I was the warmth of the sun. I guess I also realised at that moment that higher consciousness was not a plane to ascend to – it is within us all the time. The universe, the planet and every living and inanimate thing on this earth were all created from the same source and would eventually return to that same source. I also learned in my short visits that time and place, though nice to get right, is not paramount to our spiritual journey. Connection and attunement are possible at any time and at any place – we just need to want it. We all have or know of a special semi-secluded spot that we can visit from time to time, a place where we can reflect and meditate on our spirituality. So why not make it your own retreat to higher consciousness? Time or money need not be an issue.

Mathew wrote, “Ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you”. Well I believe I did just that. My three-day part-time retreat in the midst of suburbia had provided a moving and unexpected experience. Indeed I had tapped into and connected with my higher self, and, with my trust in the universe, I was given so much more.

About the author

Allan Harvey

Allan Harvey is 66 and Australian born and lives in the Redlands in Queensland. His main literary interests over the years have been with poetry, having been commissioned to write for many people through his business at the time, ‘Personal Poetry’. As well, Allan has been published on TV, in books and magazines; he has also won a number of awards and competitions.

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