Preparing for a Silent Retreat
Over the next week I am preparing to go on a week-long silent retreat. There are not many places in our culture that encourage silence or stillness. In fact there we are mostly immersed in noise and busy-ness.
I begin this vlog by exploring two places of quiet in my home-town, Victoria B.C. that offer silence. There is Christ Church Cathedral that allows you to come in anytime for quiet prayer or meditation. This is a beautiful place for that is always open for silence in our community. Another place of quiet is our public library.
On Tuesday of this week, I prepared for a week in silence by immersing myself in sensory deprivation for an hour at Float House Victoria. At float house I floated in water that had 1200 pounds of Epsom salts dissolved into it. For me the best part of it was the sensory elimination of light and sound. I thoroughly enjoyed the hour in complete quiet and darkness.
Next week I will be going on a week-long silent retreat. I will be immersing myself in somatic meditation taught by Neil McKinlay through the lineage of Dharma Ocean. The retreat, The Journey Home is designed to connect us with our inner wisdom and be a transformational journey in which we are supported and held.
We have a daily schedule where we meditate from the early morning until mid-evening with meal breaks and an afternoon open period. We alternate 45 minutes of sitting meditation with 15 minutes of walking meditation. During the retreat to enter into Noble Silence. Noble Silence includes taking a break from talking, reading, writing, emailing, and texting. We are asked to take a complete break from all our work and there is no cell reception on the retreat site itself.
What to expect from a silent retreat and what actually happens on a silent retreat are probably two different things. I have spent several days in silence in the past and one of the things that I love and appreciate about them is that the energy that normally goes out from communicating remains inside and so for me it is quite refreshing and energizing in many ways.
In other ways, there is nowhere to hide and no way to distract yourself. You are completely alone with yourself. I have noticed in the days leading up to the retreat an intensity in relationship and emotions. I know that this most likely will be present on the retreat as well.
Let me know in the comments what is your relationship to silence? Do you take time in silence daily? Have you ever been on a silent retreat? If so, what was the experience like for you?
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