This summer most of us will make a retreat or would like to. We are ready for time away from work, kids, or just the busyness of life. If we add the word silent to our retreat we quickly come to realize how much we can use time off, time away, time to simply be. These days, life is so fast, complicated and noisy. The world is pulling our attention in seemingly every direction, pushing our mental life into constant traffic. There are so many thoughts. When adding the word silent to our retreat, we begin to imagine how much lighter we could be without so much thinking!
Silence gives us shelter. It is a shelter of quiet and peace. Most people when they think of making a silent retreat, they become anxious about not speaking. But when we enter a silent retreat it is much more about receiving peace and quiet. Silence and nature are so nourishing, most people are not even thinking about not speaking. Simple peace washes the nerves. The pure quiet calms the busy mind. Silence offers treasure as the unspoken world opens to us and inside of us. There are trees bowing to wind, birds offering conversation,nature's sounds soothing the unquiet. There is so much unquiet to soothe. The presence of silence can be like a giant bath of forgiveness. After soaking for a few days in the stillness, one gets out and has a realization that the vast majority of all thought is no more or less than a nervous reaction to modern life. We don't have to be so nervous. Its just life!
Silent retreat and we begin to understand the mind is just another muscle. No need to keep it going all the time. Like any other muscle we should use it when necessary. Otherwise give it a rest!
In the silence of retreat is the sweet nothing of nothing to do. Time in silence can be a new source of creativity. Some silent retreats keep guests scheduled hour after hour. Deepening our spiritual path might include freeing ourselves from a constant program and enjoying life instead. Many pilgrims of silence grow in the exploration of the freedom in free time. What about relaxing, taking a walk, seeing all the different shades of green, basking in the clear sky of our mind without the clouds of constant thought? Normal life is a boot camp to succeed. A silent retreat can be a path of rediscovery, learning the subtle colors, all the emotions in the art of being. There is an endless list of simple joys found with time in silence. A silent retreat can be time for one cup of tea then another. There is something else, something much more to life then our 24/7 schedule. Silence offers us the beauty of living moment filled moments without needing to manage, control, or doubt whether we are doing everything right.
Before worrying about what will we do when we come back to the normal world, it is good to first receive the gifts of silence. In heartfulness meditation, the silence outside supports us to find the silence in our heart. Here there is a vastness, a great space without borders. As we enter the room of our contemplative self, we find a generosity and patience. We find the part of us without limit. It is the place of innocence, freedom. It is our original self. We each have memories of this reverie of simply being. Our natural awareness before it is filled with so many things is no further then going into our hearts. Meditation can carry us beneath the busyness of life, underneath the thoughts and feelings to the heart inside our heart. Finding the uncomplicated part of ourselves is not so complicated. Silent retreat is taking the time to receive the taste of something sacred, our own heart essence.
Digital detox, work detox, life detox is important for all of us. Giving ourselves some silence, rolling hills, nature in all its faces, helps us to let go of the habits we cling to. Meditation, exploring the vast space inside,untangles the over crowded life. It is the ultimate crowd reliever of so much thought. There is fresh life essence in each breathe. Wholeness and well being come from this place deep within. Suddenly there is much less to think about and much more fun when we have something to think for.
Silence offers a thinning of ego. The outer calm supports the calming of the argument we have with the other group, the other guy, the argument with ourselves. When the mind finds silence, we find ourselves touching the moment of this moment. The outer world makes much more sense when we have a big inner world of silence. Inner quietude is our anchor for a life overcoming the noise. Are we ready to add the word silent to our next retreat?