If you've never done a silent retreat before, read this!
Hello friend! 👋
As part of the 8-week MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) program, participants get a chance to partake in a full-day silent retreat.
Yesterday was the all-day retreat for the current MBSR cohort I’m having the honor to teach.
(registration, with an early bird discount, is now open for the upcoming cohort starting in Jan’2024. Click here to check it out)
This day spent in silence is pivotal to the learning of the students. We are putting all the learnings from the previous 6 weeks into practice. And it is usually experienced as transformational.
1. We’re living in a world of distractions
When the mind is allowed a chance to settle, it is capable of much more than generally imagined.
It’s hard for us to see that because our attention is constantly being pulled away by all the bells and whistles of our modern connected and deeply stimulated life.
However, in the spaciousness created by silence, things start to be clearer.
There is clarity when the dust (thinking, worrying, judging) settles.
That’s when true insight is experienced.
Insight that allows decisions to be faster (and more accurate), one that stems from the deepest values and feels personal and effortless.
But how often do we offer ourselves the opporutnity to let the mind settle and rest?
Rarely. Very rarely.
2. Chance to live a day truly in the moment-to-moment experience
While meditation is already powerful, it is usually done amid an extremely busy and demanding environment of day-to-day life.
A day in silence (and practice) allows for the mindfulness to be truly compounded as the day goes by.
Knowing that for this day, just for these hours, there is nowhere to go, no one to be, and nothing to do can be extremely liberating.
Allowing all the expectations, assumptions, shoulds, and musts to fade away slowly. And bringing to the surface the true joy of being fully present with oneself.
This directly creates space for courage, compassion, commitment, confidence and curiosity.
We become better versions of ourselves.
3. Prioritizing self-care
Nowadays it’s very rare for people to get a chance to do something truly just for themselves.
Knowing that we are constantly distracted, it is always an uphill battle to carve out time for self-care.
And no, self-care and love is not a selfish act. It is the most beneficial thing you can do for those around you.
You already know it, when you are at your best you treat people much differently than when you are at your worst. Investing in yourself is equally an investment in the relationships you care about most.
Dedicating a day to fully be with, and discover yourself, is the ultimate form of self-care.
So, how is it done?
We start the day in silence and break the silence by the end of it. Throughout the day everyone is engaged in guided meditations alternating between sitting and moving practice. Samples of the meditations include 5-points of focused attention, loving-kindness meditation, mindful walking, and mindful yoga.
Is it possible to live your entire life exactly as the retreat?
Does it have any value in participating in one then?
We are so far out in the extreme of distraction and constant planning, doing, and worrying, that it is only logical for us to experience the other extreme of absolute silence, being, and welcoming, so that we can find our right middle point.
Each one of us will find harmony and balance between both extremes.
But it is only possible after going to the other side and experiencing it firsthand.
With that, I wish you a Super Sunday!
With much joy,
PS. If interested in attending a future silent retreat, you can do so by joining the next cohort of the MBSR program starting next month in January.
Seats are limited to ensure effective learning. Sign up here to reserve your place.