A retreat with Amoda Maa, June 2019

From Pip Nicholls:  The opportunity to go on retreat with Amoda Maa was serendipitous. I was looking for an annual retreat – one where there were fresh insights and no responsibilities, and then (as it does) the advertisement was in my Inbox…

So I contacted Bev, as we had been sharing books, quotes and You Tubes of Amoda for some years and it was our hope that at some point we may invite her to Australasia. And here was an advertisement for a retreat in San Rafael on the outskirts of San Francisco. Bookings were made and now, Bev and I were in an Uber on the way to the Santa Sabina Centre, a 175 year old Dominican monastery for a five day Sanctuary of Silence retreat.

Dominican copy

There was a deep out-breath of arriving home as I walked into the cloister of Santa Sabina with its garden, fountain and beautiful bouquets of flowers and candles around the walls… My bag was unpacked within minutes because I know that every arrival heralds a departure and I wanted to be here as long as was possible. There was an hour before our first session and I just sat on the bed savouring the warmth, the view from the window with the squirrels running up and down trees, the empty hammock and soaking in the history of the Dominican nuns for whom this property had been their formation ground.

No doubt all of us experience some anticipation five minutes before a retreat starts and I was no different. Amoda always offers intimate retreats and this one was even more so. There was only going to be seven of us on it for five days of teachings, inquiry sessions, sitting together, song, personal reflection and all in a container of silence, nutritious organic food, monastic hospitality and leisure.

The session that first evening was on Silence and we’ve included a YouTube of it here for you all to share in. When you hear it, you’ll get an insight into Amoda’s directness, her simplicity and her gift of uncovering the layers of very broad concepts. The teaching sessions were followed by each of us having the opportunity to ask a question from our experience. Amoda then gave a response that opened the topic up further and naturally included aspects that everyone could resonate with.

After five days there was a deep out-breath as silence was broken by us sharing lunch together under the trees in an outer garden. Everyone else left and Bev and I had another couple of hours at Santa Sabina before an Uber back out to the airport.

There was little to say – all we could do was beam, replete from a retreat of a lifetime. So I sat in savouring mode again after exquisite teachings, nurturing environment and watched a candle flicker in front of a tall stemmed rose… Just this, just this… 

IMG 0787


From Bev Silvester-Clark: My first encounter with Amoda, a few years ago, was in reading her thoughts on spiritual by-passing. That is the use of spiritual practices to seek the transcendent in an effort to escape from the challenge of our raw humanity. It was one of those aha moments for me. Click here if you would like to read this article.

I too was entranced with Santa Sabina; the hummingbirds in the garden, the Bambi deer visiting with it’s mother brought much delight. And so was sitting marinating in the presence of, not only Amoda, but also the retreatants. The penetrating clarity of Amoda’s teaching paradoxically created a field of safety that called us all to places of deep honesty and openness. The was no room for spiritual by-passing, that’s for sure. So refreshing and utterly profound.

There seem to be a growing number of non-dual wisdom teachers in the western world, Amoda being one of them, who are not outwardly aligned to any particular spiritual tradition but also bow with real humility to all paths that have the potential to awaken people to what we would name as Christ consciousness. In Amoda I experience a person who is articulating what Jesus taught.

If you are intrigued to know more there are numerous video recordings of her on You Tube. Visit there, and then, if Amoda sparks something in you, and you would like to discuss her approach or know of further opportunities to experience her teaching email Bev.

Posted on 25/07/2019 by Pip Nicholls, Bev Silvester-Clark