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A Big Open Heart

The Men’s Retreat was such an explosion of joy and liberation to just be together.

Nothing seemed to be excluded whether we were deep in meditation or inquiry or simply going out and having fun, walking in the mountain, eating or going for a dip in the river….

A first look may even have given the impression that we were just a bunch of men with no other agendas than being together and living life, and in some ways that is what it was….nothing special to hold onto about any of it, no special edge to anything….nothing there but life itself and our natural disposition to lose ourselves in it.

The tipping point of the all retreat was the teaching Pete gave on the top of the mountain. Everything that happened up to that point was suddenly realized and understood for what it was. A veil lifted and Light was shed. That ‘nothing’ was ‘It’, and it is always and ever ‘It’. We were, and still are, held together in and as that no-thingness. With that understanding even lightness of Being can be profound, and profundity Light.

But beneath that realization, what really has been revealed was the place that teaching comes from. Thanks to Pete’s commitment, uncompromising dedication and devotion, his courage to stand for the Heart and relentless giving for the sake of what only truly matters, thanks to the depth of his vision and intuition, the ‘Teacher’ shined and guided us. Its transmission was relaxed, strong and unmistakable. And ‘beneath’ the Teacher is Reality Itself longing to be known and loved…

The most moving moment was this collective tacit recognition from all of us. There was no resistance or imposed limitations, just a big empty space ready to receive, a big open Heart, and what followed was the felt knowing that we were all in it together, we were all in it as that big Heart, One, content and Loving. From that place everything became possible in a way it never was before - as committed students of Pete, as a Men’s Group , as a Sangha, as a Collective Emergence, as Pure Response…

The response came the following night, around the fire, in the form of love broken loose. None of us could restrain from expressing love. Love for each other, for the project, and especially love for Pete , for his self-gift to us, for his teaching and guidance, and simply for who he is. 

More than ever I understood than standing for the Heart is all I want, that Love is both the means and the end, the true principle of all our relations and the truth of who we are. And that the Awakened Life Project is the place for me in this life to rightfully embrace that truth and give myself. Thank you.

Joel Baillergeau, France

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About the project

The Awakened Life Project is situated in a beautiful and wild ecological reserve in the mountains Central Portugal. We offer volunteer programs, courses, events and retreats to support the liberation of the human spirit in a context of evolutionary emergence and communion with the ecological web of life.


Quinta da Mizarela
3305-031 Benfeita
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