My Silent Meditation Retreat Experience
Recently, my wife Romy and I attended a silent meditation retreat on the island of Koh Samui, Thailand.
We went to the “Dipabhavan Meditation Center” which is a Buddhist meditation center and no, you don't have to be Buddhist nor believe in Buddhism to participate. In fact, everyone that attended the 3 day silent meditation retreat while we were there was a non-Buddhist foreigner.
Both of us found the experience highly valuable, and would recommend that everyone go at least once.
I'll be honest, before going, I was feeling quite anxious in anticipation of the “no talking” and “no technology” (not even a mobile phone) 3 days we were about to experience. I thought that being completely silent for 3 days would be the hardest part. Little did I know, that was going to be the “easy” part.
What I Found Challenging During The Silent Meditation Retreat
It's amazing how simply sitting still and being quiet for long periods of time can result in muscular pain. My back, calves, thighs and feet were aching by the second day, just from sitting if you can believe that!
What does that show?
It shows how much “internal resistance“ (in this case physical resistance) most of us have. Each muscle group “fighting” against each other, resisting each other just to maintain an erect seated position.
It also shows how most of us are so used to constantly “doing” and moving around that our bodies don't even know how to sit with the least energy and effort. It basically takes more energy to sit still than it does to move around constantly because of the internal resistance we carry.
The Real Value To Be Gained From A Silent Meditation Retreat
By sitting still in meditation (doing nothing) and/or by doing super slow “walking meditation” (where you take the smallest of steps forward, placing all your focus on each step), your brain becomes aware of how much energy it is using and wasting in these simple acts.
You also learn to accept that discomfort or pain, and just “be with it”. The “art of being” is something most of us have forgotten.
There's an interesting thing that happens when you begin to accept “what is” and not resist it any further.
You begin to become aware of the rules or conditions you are applying in life. You begin to become aware of the judgements you're making or holding onto with everything and everyone around you.
And if you can just remain still and accept being for a while longer, you may notice your “rules” and “perceptions” of how things should be begin to bend or even dissolve.
It's really interesting how the “art of doing nothing” can actually help you release rules and judgements you are carrying around which are not serving you positively anymore.
The Art of Doing Less
It's easy to believe that we have to “do more” in order to “become more”, and I think that most people believe that.
But what if the opposite is true (or also true) – that in order to evolve and become more, you have to DO LESS?
Sitting silent in meditation is a great way to learn about the balance between push and flow. Understanding when to use effort to make things happen and when to let time make things happen/be created is essential to achieving more in life too.
By sitting still for prolonged periods of time, as in a silent meditation retreat, you hear your mind more clearly, and therefore hear the beliefs that are not serving you positively anymore.
It's only once you become aware that they are there and what they are, that you can choose to get rid of them. Awareness is the first key to unlocking your full potential!
I encourage you to attend a silent meditation retreat. Find one near where you live. And perhaps just like me, begin with a 3 day silent meditation retreat first instead of a 10 day one.
Embrace the challenge of it and be amazed at how you evolve through it!
Share your distinctions or takeaways from this blog post in the comments below please.