What my Silent Retreat with a Buddhist Nun taught me
Retreats are wonderful and a wonderful way to reconnect with true self and release some of the excess noise we create and draw into our lives. When I came across a silent retreat by a local Buddhist center for 3 days, I signed right up. Here are some of the highlights of what I learned.
Talking creates a lot of unnecessary noise. Sometimes we talk just for the sake of making noise. I found for me that when I stopped making it, I quickly developed the desire for quiet.
Typically for me, there’s constant opinions and chatter going on about the world around me, myself, my roles, my to-do lists, and so forth. When I became quiet for a prolonged period of time, that stuff started to fade away and I recognized me without those things. I have to tell you, me without the bells and whistles is you. You are me. We are the same, and I like that.
It releases expectations.
When you are not expected to play a role or say something funny or interesting at just the right moment, a great sense of relief and joy can be experienced. I found myself perfectly content, sitting at a table, eating vegetarian meals with complete strangers with us completely ignoring each other (minus a pass the salt gesture or an eyebrow of I need to scoot by). It was peaceful. I smiled the whole time.
Mediating for 4 hours a day has its ups and downs.
There were moments when I experienced pure bliss. The object of our meditations was the emptiness of body and our attachments. There were moments I was transported. I went to some mystic beach and into a postcard I once saw with tall and slender trees surrounded by emerald green leaves. I also dove into my body and released any tension I was holding in my body (very helpful for sitting cross legged for hours). Then on a few occasions I dissolved. I became consciousness, I became love. I loved everyone in that room, across oceans, and all barriers were non-existent. All of my experiences had unfolded exactly the way they were meant to.
On the lower part of the roller coaster, I critiqued myself for forgetting my body is an illusion and everything around me is a projection. Urges to plan my week and multitask arose. I was able to relatively quickly surrender back into my relaxed state, which I’m very grateful for.
I didn’t give a shit what everyone thought of me.
It’s pretty awesome to be surrounded by Buddhists. They do some weird shit (lots of chanting, bowing heads to the floor, making altars, sound familiar yogis?) so I was right at home sprawling my yoga mat out between meditation sessions and bending my body into a pretzel. I even noticed that when I did that some of the other practitioners starting stretching with me. It was pretty cool.
I also learned some other things like enhancing my compassion towards myself, how to draw myself out a negative chatter cycle quicker, and also that I have full capabilities to be accountable for my thinking. All of that said, I HIGHLY recommend a retreat for those who have never been on one.
Also, if you are searching for a RETREAT, check out our Spiritual Yoga Retreat to Peru in July 2016!
Click HERE to see details and get on the list!