A few years ago I went on a week long silent retreat. I’d never been on one so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The brochure said that participants should not expect to make or receive phone calls, text, or use their computers, as that would defeat the whole purpose of the retreat. Participants were further instructed that we were not to speak to other participants. Of course if there was an emergency we could speak and contact family or friends.
The retreat center was in a lovely setting and, much to my surprise, I didn’t have any trouble at all with having no contact with the “outside” world or with my fellow participants.
The first day or two I found myself reading and napping—mostly napping, if truth be told! But then I noticed myself being drawn to watch Mother Nature: the way the clouds floated across the sky, the different shades within the clouds, bees and butterflies hopping from flower to flower, the sounds of the crickets and birds, insects scurrying to and fro….
In the midst of all this busy-ness, there was a pervading peace that seeped into my soul. For the first time in a very long time, I was able to hear myself think. More importantly, I was able to listen.
I heard my thoughts—they didn’t run at a sub-sonic level as they usually did. This allowed me to identify some not-so-helpful thought patterns.
The most exciting part for me was when I listened for, and was able to hear, the Still Small Voice within. I was filled with a quiet, profound joy when this happened.
I haven’t been on a week long retreat in years. Instead, I would periodically take a day—a weekend, if I could manage it—and give myself the gift of a silent retreat at home. While it can be a challenge to do this at home (there are so many projects and things that need doing!), but it’s a challenge worth taking on.
Why not give it a try for yourself today? Even if you can’t devote the whole day to a silent retreat, do part of the day—even an hour.
Things you can do during this silent time are: going for a walk in nature or just sitting in a lovely spot; gazing out your window and letting your mind go; listening to quiet and soothing music; choose a poem, or passage in a book, that is meaningful to you; reading in a holy book; or sitting quietly and being open to what the moment brings.
There is no right or wrong way to do this. It’s about slowing down, creating silence and stillness, then tuning your inner ear to hear.
Let me know how it goes for you in the comments section below!
Please pass this along to a friend. Thanks!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,