The good the bad and the ugly!
I was asked by many of you, why a silent retreat?
Most of us spend what we have, and sometimes what we can't afford, to have what we consider enriching experiences. What is it for you? To climb a mountain, travel the four corners of the world, fly first class, taste the most exquisite foods and wines, learn a skill, support a worthy cause... ? We all want something. But it's never about what we say we want. It's about what we believe it gives us. it's about what I believe that doing this thing makes me or who I believe I become because of this experience.
Why silence? Right now, it might change, silence allowed me to taste what I want the most. I believe I've been looking for this all my life. Silence brought the freedom to truly see, taste and remember who I AM! Like climbing a mountain, it had moments that were of excruciating pain and unbearably difficult. At these times the mind turns to self-abuse, I should have prepared more, better, who do I think I am, or I don't need this, this is silly...
As freeing as silence is from distractions, the outside world, obligations, roles to play etc, it is also zooming into the deepest (darkest) of your being, the stuff you don't even want to get in touch with. In silence, there's nowhere to hide. The voices get louder, the fears increase, the logic disappears, anxiety raises up, anger explodes, and what doesn't come clear on your waking hours, don't worry, it will show up in your nightmares.
It intrigues me why isolation and silence are used as punishment in our society and at the same time it is also traditionally used by sages and great masters as a way to connect with inner wisdom...
The more silence showed about me, the more I looked for ways out. Turn outwards is always the easy escape, eating, making stories about what I see, it doesn't matter what, others, birds, walking, organizing my dirty clothes, or engage in the mind's soap operas, so enticing... it went on long enough, until I started to give up! The voices were loud. "Fine, it was a waste of time, money, a disaster, confess it, admite it, pack your bags and leave, Just go!" This was the moment, the giving up, the most decisive moment, the moment that I truly faced myself!
"What's alive here, now?" I remember hearing Matt Licata's voice in my head. This invitation to presence, to acceptance of even this resisting, this gentle sweet allowing. The struggle continued but there was a little more room now. I had space to be here. There was struggle, but all is well. There's room for compassion for myself, for curiosity... these brought some clarity that separated the many voices. What part of me wants to quit? Other voices joined in. It can be a disaster, that is fine, I've got many in my life, but who will I be if I go? I can quit anything as long as I don't give up on mySelf! ...
The more I noticed/see the voices, the more space I got, the more present I became. This was the first true moment of peace. Peace that I could struggle, peace that I don't have to like it or want it, peace that I'm already doing what I wanted. I was finally not abandoning myself. I was there for me, with me, attentive, curious, even understanding and supportive ...
This was the moment I remembered! I remembered what I already know. I remembered who I AM, what I'm made of. I remembered why I came, that I knew this would happen, that's why I didn't drive myself to the place, that's why I didn't want to even bring my phone. I knew this, I know my mind, a most beautiful instrument but it has been programmed for so little ahahah. It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows, it had to rain first 😉
What's different, you ask? What's different when you hike a mountain, take a course, taste a rare wine? Nothing is different, and yes, you know you are not the same!
If I came to remember what I know, couldn't I have done it alone? At home? Why on a retreat setting? Simply because, alone I would not have made it! Too many distractions, it's so easy to have things to do, places to go, people to talk to... It helped me to be literary cut off from the world, have all arranged for me, and of course, it helped me to know that I'm not alone. There's thousands of people from all over the world at least at crazy as I am.
Why 7 days? Because anything less wouldn't have made it. Actually 7 days are not enough.
When is the next? As I said in the beginning it's not about the experience itself, the silent retreat, it's about wanting to be mySelf fully! It looks like all I've done in my life has been for the same reason.
Nevertheless, give me time to really sink into what just happened first! Ask me again at sometime.