4 Days of Silence at a Retreat
I went to Siddhayatan Retreat north of Dallas, TX for a personal, silent retreat for 4 days. I did not talk to anyone once I checked in at the retreat and did not use my cell phone. I journaled each day and read a few passages from the book, Untethered Soul. I meditated outside throughout each day, went on long walks on the 220 acre ranch, did Hatha yoga each morning, mantra chanting before breakfast and dinner each day and ate delicious vegetarian food during my stay.
It was a wonderful, blissful experience. I was quite scared of being silent for so long. I have been alone for 4 days but I had never been silent, with no distractions, for that long. I have always had music, an audiobook, a podcast, or something read to distract me throughout my days. At the retreat, I had to deal with my shit that came up - there was nowhere to escape…
Through meditating, I was able to view my thoughts as exactly what they are - thoughts - and nothing else. Having certain thoughts does not mean that I am a good or a bad person. I just have thoughts and that is all there is to it.
I had a big realization on the first day that I can CHOOSE to have an open heart. I can choose to see things as they are not as I want them to be. I know now that daily meditation is my path and the basis for me staying open.
Silence was not nearly as hard as I thought it would be... It was quite refreshing since I never had to worry about what to say at any given moment! I simply used hand gestures, bowing my head, or writing on a piece of paper what I needed to communicate. It also helped that everyone asked me yes or no questions so it was easy to answer with simple gestures.
At meal times, I would put my fork down after every bite, close my eyes, and be grateful for the delicious food that I was chewing. It was not a race to see how fast I could get food into my stomach. A side benefit was all of my food was pre-digested due to my extensive chewing. The long walks and chewing aided in excellent digestion during my retreat.
Overall, it was a wonderful reset and recommitting to daily meditation. I expect to do more silent retreats in the future.
Going forward, I'm going to:
continue my morning meditation (10-20 minutes)
add one hour group meditation in the evenings
slow down at meals - chew and taste my food!
stop distractions - meditate when repairing my van instead of listening to a podcast
do outdoor walking meditations in nature
be more open-hearted - I close at times and I aim to always have an open heart.
The picture is the tree that I meditated under each day.