The SSIO of USA, Mid-Atlantic Region held a retreat, “Weekend of Sailence” on 18–20 March 2016, at the Great Barn of Claymont Court in Charles Town, West Virginia. The programme, attended by 50 people, featured devotional singing, chanting, and meditation. In an inspiring talk, Dr. Indira Hewlett touched on various meditation techniques on the first day. She led the group through a short practice of each type of meditation and then shared stories from interviews her family had with Sathya Sai Baba in the 1960s and 1970s.  She noted that Swami’s blessings, including manifestations of vibuthi, amrit, pendants and sweets, were intended to draw devotees closer and provide guidance on the spiritual path to liberation. Dr. Hymon Johnson, the Director of the Institute of Sathya Sai Education, USA, gave an insightful talk on the common message of divinity at the core of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and other faiths. During the afternoon, participants had a choice of engaging in silent meditation; colouring mandalas; making garlands or writing the name of God. On Saturday evening, Drs. Hymon and Juanita Johnson gave engaging talks on how they came to Swami and were transformed by His love. A member of the South Bethesda Sathya Sai Centre, and a first time retreat attendee, said, “The retreat taught me to slow down my thoughts and to be more in silence.”

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