Do you remember the game when you were a kid and you held a competition with your peers who could be silent the longest?
Do you remember how hard it was to stay silent for a while?
Well, you might discover it all over again on the retreats that I’ll be mentioning here! Get ready to immerse yourself into the depths of your thoughts, unravel them and discover what your soul truly needs.
Going into silence might not be the easiest thing to do, but if you are walking the yogi path, you might discover that you’re craving for this silence.
It’s quite hard these days to be completely silent as there are a lot of distractions around you. Your phone that’s always pushing those notifications, the neighbors talking too loud, cars passing your door, etc.
Therefore it might come in handy every once in a while to retreat yourself and get away from all those stimuli that might be interfering with your meditation practice.
What is Silent Meditation?
This one isn’t too hard to explain. It’s a meditation where you’ll be in silence.
Of course, there are all sorts of meditation. You have guided meditation, active meditation, zen meditation, vipassana, and many more.
What’s very typical about silent meditation, like vipassana, is that there is no sound at all. You just focus on your breathing and observe your thoughts, that is at the beginning of course.
This way you’ll be getting insights into how your mind is functioning and what thoughts are frequently coming up in your life. It can go from happy thoughts that function quite well, but also negative thoughts that are holding you back. And, with meditation, the goal is to become completely thoughtless.
You might wonder now why it’s so important to be thoughtless, and there are a couple of explanations. First of all, it has to do with duality. You know, yes and no, black and white, love and hate, they are all opposites of each other.
What meditation tries to do is to center yourself in the middle, where there is no opposite anymore. Where you don’t have good or bad. It’s basically like this, even if you’re having positive thoughts, that means that there is the opposite as well, the negative ones.
Another reason is that thoughts are creating attachment, those again are creating expectations. And expectations are bound to lead to disappointment.
Okay, that might be a bit too cruel. But you get the point. All the above are creating strong emotions, whether they are positive or negative.
Meditation doesn’t mean that you have to be completely emotionless, but it happens to balance your emotions a bit more. Instead of going up and down like a roller coaster, meditation will make sure that you are rather on a merry-go-round.
Challenges going into the Silence
Staying quiet for a while can be challenging for some people. Some might have gotten used to it already and they are loving it completely.
For those who aren’t comfortable with it yet, here are a couple of tips that might be useful when you are going on a silent meditation retreat.
These are a couple of things that I’ve noticed within my own experiences and observations from others. As I’ve said before, I live near a spiritual ashram and I accommodate many people going on silent retreats as well.
#1 Technology Cleanse
One of the biggest challenges these days must be technology detox.
We’re bound to our phones, computers, and whatever is available these days.
I don’t think I have to say that going on a silent retreat also means that you’ll be giving up on your internet privileges.
This will mean that on a lot of retreats you’ll have to turn off your phone. I have to admit that this for me is always the hardest part of the retreat itself (but still the most amazing one).
During a silent retreat, it’s most likely prohibited to use any kind of technology, therefore, you have to turn it off.
And probably by reading this, you’ll be making up excuses not to hand in your phone. “I have kids, what if something happens?”, “My sister is expecting, I need to hear it when she goes into labor!”; and yet, those are all excuses. I’m not saying they’re valid, they are, but they are also keeping you from going deeper into your meditation.
And there is one simple solution for this. Quiet your mind by informing your loved ones where you’ll be, inform the retreat center if something is going on and that you’ll pass on their contact to your family.
Normally this should be standard within any kind of silent retreat, but in case if they don’t ask for it, be sure that you release yourself from that burden already before you enter the retreat.
And besides all of this, if you know you’ll be turning on your phone during the retreat, give it to the retreat leaders. They will keep it safe for you and you won’t have to worry about having enough self-control.
#2 You’ll be very hungry
This might sound a bit weird, but the truth is that you’ll be eating a lot more than you would at home. There is nothing else to do, so during the meals, you will be filling up your plates out of boredom!
Well, not only that but during a retreat there will also be a lot of emotions releasing. Even if you’re are not an emo-eater, you will feel the urge to eat your feelings away as there is no-one there to talk to about them. And truth be told, there is nothing to do about that.
Luckily, during most retreats, you’ll be getting some very nutritious meals, and you won’t have to worry too much about gaining a lot of weight. But yeah, what the body doesn’t process, it stores away in your body of course.
Make sure that after your retreat you don’t have a lot of dinners planned with friends to make sure that you lose those extra pounds after the retreat.
Of course, if you are aware of this tip already, you might do something about it before you go all the way. Make a plan for yourself to prevent yourself from eating too much. For example, if they offer refreshments during the retreat, make sure that you only eat one or two snacks a day.
#3 Mirror, mirror on the wall
If you can walk around in silence during the silent retreat, things might get a bit rough. Emotions will come up, to begin with, but people will also be in their bubble. This means that you might see other people see some things that you are not okay with.
I remember during a silent retreat where I was participating, during lunchtime, we all sat separately. There was only one woman who liked to sit within the company of another person.
That person had chosen the perfect spot for her during lunch to sit with an amazing view. And of course, that other woman came and sit right in front of her view.
She was angry inside, but she couldn’t say anything as she wasn’t supposed to speak.
This is an example and it is one of the hardest parts during a retreat.
You’ll feel a lot of emotions coming up, but please look at those situations as a learning point. Within these situations, you’ll learn why these feelings are coming up, where it came from and best of all, you’ll be getting insight on how to resolve them.
It sounds quite easy, resolve them, but I have to say that the moment you are aware of it, that’s when the change begins.
At that moment, you’ll see where some of your habits and frustrations come from and where it’s your choice if you’d like to resolve them!
Well, those are a couple of tips, there are a lot more, but you’re probably not here to read a lot about how to survive your silent yoga retreat. Therefore, let’s begin with our selection of some great silent meditation retreats!
SILENT MEDITATION RETREAT SPAIN
In the midst of the Valencian mountains, you’ll find this amazing retreat center.
It’s quite remote, but that’s the charm of it as well. Especially during a silent meditation retreat where you don’t want to be disturbed by external noises like cars and construction works.
They’ll also incorporate the body into this silent meditation retreat. Which is nice as your mind will wander off rapidly.
By working with the body, you’ll give your mind some rest and have something to focus on. And this all while remaining in silence.
Your accommodation will be a yurt. If you’ve never slept in one, you’ve got to put it on your bucket list. These structures are definitely something else and it fits right into the category of glamping.