My First Silent Retreat- The Life Lessons!
Ever since I got back from my first silent retreat, EVERYONE has been full of questions and wanting to know how I survived!! To be honest it really was not that hard to stay silent for 4 days much to my surprise… but firstly let me give you a bit of background info!
So about a bit over a month ago I jumped on a plane and headed to Ubud for my usual yearly ‘down time’ where I just immerse myself in the culture, yoga and the health scene of Bali. After a very crazy last half of 2016, I felt I really needed to utilise this trip to work through some blocks and really slow down… and what better way to do that than to book myself into a silent retreat.
I was picked up from my accommodation in Ubud and driven for an hour and a half up the mindy hills to the retreat, with 3 stops along the way- if you know me, you will be aware I get terrible motion sickness!!! Bali roads (and particularly their hills) have me turn into a wreck!!
Once we arrived I pretty much stepped out of the car and lay on the ground for 5 minutes thinking THANK GOODNESS to be on ‘still’ earth. Im sure my driver was like, ‘has this girl never been in a car before’!!!!!
Anyway back to the retreat! I will skip all the boring details of getting checked in and settled and fast forward to lunch!! Everyday lunch was served from 11.30am and was a spread of fresh salad ingredients, toppings and homemade sourdough. We were each allocated a set of a wooden plate, bowl, tray, cup and cutlery in which we were responsible for.
With a full tummy I then sunk into a bean bag and dug into a book!!! I got so much reading time in while on the silent retreat. It was bliss!
At 2pm I walked along the gorgeous little green path until I met the open air, octagonal tent where we practiced gentle asana’s and then sat for our guided meditation. I must say it took me a good 2 days to really let go and be able to focus without resistance for the 3 hours.
Next I got in an early shower before dinner. We had open air, shared showers (quite the experience).
Dinner was incredible. Buffet style spread of whole food vegetarian goodness straight from the garden. Think veggie soups, lentil hot pots, raw lasagne, salads, sautéed veg, roast veggie chips, red rice dishes + so much more.. and then delicious healthy treats for dessert.
All the food was gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian and produced by amazing whole food chefs. We were so spoilt!!!
After dinner we all got in a bit more reading time and no jokes lights were off by 7.30pm. You had the choice to continue reading with a night light or get straight to the beauty sleep for a 5.30am rise the next morning.
The gong goes off and in the dark we throw on some clothes, with layers (it was surprisingly really really cold at that time in the mountains) and with our torches walk along the little paths to the octagonal tent for our morning meditation and Yin Yoga practice.
3 hours later in a very blissful state we walked back up to the communal lodge for breakfast. A beautiful wholesome spread of fruits, granolas, warm rice porridge, scrambled duck eggs (most nutrient rich eggs) , savoury breakfast muffins, breakfast salad + more!
The rest of the day was much the same as Day 1 – Eat, Read, Eat, Flow, Meditate, Eat and Sleep. Pretty good life I must say!!!
Day 3 & 4:
A repeat of the above with an outing on day 3 to a natural hot spring. The most picture perfect setting, and despite it started pouring with rain about 10 minutes in, the magic was just heightened.
Other than catching some horrible virus going around the retreat at the time, my stay of reflecting inwards left me with more than I anticipated.
I left feeling truely grounded and clear in my thoughts. I found myself craving quite, self time more regularly than normal and having awareness of the energy saved through this.
I was able to be more in-tune with my body, its needs and the energy around me.
The greatest lesson taken from my stay, was the highlighted truth that each individual is truely responsible for themselves and their own happiness.
When we take talking and interaction out of the equation of everyday life, we can feel light in knowing we are not responsible to anyone else’s state of mind. Purely our own. We do not need to seek approval, make a good impression, be concerned about what others may be thinking. We are just in a little bubble of our own pure self. Purely responsible for our own happiness.
While I was amongst the company of others continuously, I had never felt so blissfully alone. So with the realisation that as soon as you take talking and interaction with others out of the equation, you can instantly feel so much more care free and centred… it got me thinking! In daily life we usually are needing to interact continuously with others and as a result we automatically turn more outwards.
So how can we balance this?
How can we live more inwards in our little self love bubble while the rest of the world demands attention?
Simple!!! Always attend to your little bubble first before opening yourself out to the rest of the world. This can be as simple as tapping inwards for a few seconds before responding to any stimulous.
Its is OK to close your bubble on conversations or interactions that cause you to feel anything less than how you want to feel. Remember it your responsibility to control your happiness and a lesson for those around you to learn to be responsible for their own.
Sometimes the greatest gift we can give others is the example of self fulfilment.
Have you been to a silent retreat before?
What were your experiences?