I’ve had the pleasure of doing a silent retreat twice now. The first one was more like a few hours in silence by myself. The second one was an all day event. Again silent and again all by myself. How I feel about silence was interesting to explore during both experiences. I learned some new things about myself and I also reconfirmed a few things. It’s definitely an experience that I recommend.
One of the funny things that I learned about myself during the first retreat & reconfirmed during the second is that I talk to myself. I don’t mean just a little bit either. I talk to myself A LOT. The first retreat, I had trouble even being silent. I found myself saying my thoughts out loud no matter how hard I tried not to do so. On the second retreat, I already knew that this was a bit of an issue and I knew to be on the lookout. You see saying so many of my thoughts out loud disrupted the whole idea of silence. I was working against myself in other words.
Luckily, the second time around, the longer I was alone, the better I got at being silent. I was able to tune in to my body, notice what I was feeling and also notice what I wasn’t feeling. I was also able to listen to my thoughts and notice patterns in those thoughts. The more silent I became, the better able I was to observe what was happening both inside and outside of myself. By the end of the day long silent retreat, I actually didn’t feel like breaking my silence just yet. I had found a bit of peace in the listening that I was doing. The first words I said felt odd. That was such a switch from the beginning of the day where it was just plain hard to be quiet.
That’s what a silent retreat is about. It’s about learning to listen both to yourself and to your surroundings. Taking this time of silence gives you the chance to do something that we normally don’t take the time to do. We’re so busy keeping up with our daily lives, that we begin to forget about ourself. At least that’s what happens to me. I get caught up in the daily’ to do list’ and begin to forget to listen to my body. Taking a bit of time in silence can reestablish that connection.
Now, you don’t have to take a day long or week long silent retreat to reap these benefits. You can begin to experience what it’s !like to be in silence in just a short amount of time during your regular day to day life. Just take a few minutes to sit in silence before you start or end your day. Maybe drive around with the radio off. Instead of filling up every moment of your waking day with sound, take a few minutes off from the sound. Seek out silence and notice what you begin to become aware of both inside and outside of yourself.
You might be like me and start talking to yourself. (By the way, I think that was just my mind’s reaction to so much silence in the beginning. My mind was a bit rebellious and showed that it knew how to fill the silence too.) You might find yourself thinking about things that you’ve pushed away for a long time but that you really need to consider. You might just find the silence peaceful and enjoy the quiet around you. Each time you take the chance to enjoy some silence, will be a new chance for discovery and healing. You can process your emotions and thoughts so much better when you don’t have constant outside input coming at you.
Give it a try. Turn off the radio in your car today. What do you notice when you do that? Or maybe take the leap and give yourself the gift of a day long retreat into silence. What you discover might amaze you!
Leave me a comment. Let me know what you think about silence in your life. Join my email list to be notified of when my next retreat is scheduled.