Have you ever consciously chosen not to speak? A few months ago, I wanted to go on silent retreat. I went online, found a retreat, printed and filled out the form. “A silent retreat” my friends would say, "You actually want to go away and not talk, what will you do there?" "Why not hit the spa?" There is a spiritual teacher who reminds us the words SILENT and LISTEN have the exact same letters. My intention was to get silent, listen in the quiet and be with myself. It sounds simple. When I arrived at the center I could already feel my desire to be quiet set in. The daily schedule began at 5:45am sit, eat, morning job, and more sit, walk, sit, walk, sit, eat and in the evening there was a dharma talk. Bedtime was at 9:30 and I was always asleep quickly. As the retreat progressed, the full spectrum of emotions, distractions, and moments of peace moved through me. I realized, meditation is a skill. This practice takes training and dedication. Here I was in a half marathon of stillness and I had barely trained. I did NOT have a daily meditation routine prior to these 5 days, but I had expected to be, "successful" at the task. A lot happened for me at the retreat. Now, I am committed to my training. I wake with 30 minutes of intentional sitting. I time it just as I do when I am physically training my body. When the buzzer goes off, I feel a sense of gratitude for the silent practice. All one has to do is get up, sit still and breathe. It’s incredible what shows up in the silence.
AUTHOR: Bex Urban
img source: Photographer: Lauren Kalman