Mindful Monday: 10 Days of Silence Taught Me This...
I’ve returned from my 10 day silent retreat. How was it? Well, AMAZING! And I’d like to share some of my experience with you.
The teacher was S.N. Goenka. He called the 10 days, “a surgery on the mind”. We were going in and doing some deep work, meditating for 10 hours a day with teachings every evening. Our day started at 4:30am and ended at 9:00pm.
I loved being silent for 10 days, that part was easy for me. The longer hours of meditation challenged me in many ways! Being silent and meditating for so many hours heightened all of my senses and awareness incredibly. I became so in tune with my thought patterns and the subtleties of the mind; observing the impermanence of everything, noticing how the mind is always commenting, and practicing not being attached - not having a craving or an aversion to anything. It was fascinating!
Before I left I set a very clear intention of why I was going. This was the game changer. My intention was to deepen my connection to the love within and to the truth of who I am - simple and clear - and I came back to this intention every day (more than once!).
During some meditations, I was so alert and energized. I was on fire. (Later I became aware of how attached I was to this experience, rather than observing it with equanimity). Other meditations, tiredness and irritation crept in and I felt like I couldn't possibly go on. When I met resistance in my meditation and felt like I couldn't go any further I would stop and ask myself this question…
"If this very meditation is the one that will deepen your connection to the love within and the truth of who you are, are you willing to do it?" My answer was always 'yes'. This kept me going. I was very focused and determined and I feel really good about that.
When I noticed my mind focusing on giving up, saying, “You're so tired. You can't do this anymore.” I was ready to react to my thoughts. But something incredible happened, I became aware of how it was just a thought. I then chose to observe the tired sensations nonjudgmentally and kept meditating. And at some point, the tired feeling passed.
At the end of the retreat, when we could finally talk to people, it felt a bit strange. We had only spoken to each other when we first arrived and yet we felt very connected. Silence had proven to be a powerful form of communication. This was so interesting to me considering we live in a world where most people feel uncomfortable in silence and end up talking too much just to fill it. Here, it was the opposite and it was refreshing.
Coming back into the 'real' world was an adjustment too. I am still processing what happened and I'm sure I will be for some time. I am feeling very grateful to have had that time just for me. To deepen my connection to the love within and to the truth of who I am.
I am excited to bring this new experience into work and my life and I look forward to connecting with you again soon!
May you experience the peace, love + contentment within,