For the past few days I’ve felt subtly directed to clean my house and settle my accounts. You see I write this post on my way up to The Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY where for the next seven days I will live in complete silence amongst 300 fellow students and our teacher Adyashanti. I am excited, anxious and feeling very grateful to have a week to indulge into the depths of my interior being.
I recently discovered that to retreat into silence is an incredible gift that one can give to oneself. To shut down for an hour, a day or ideally a week can open us up to all that is unseen, unheard and unfelt in the busyness of everyday life. Earlier this year I experienced a three-day retreat that in many ways changed my life. It changed me because the prolonged period of stillness settled my mind to a place that I had never experienced before. However, I am not going to lie, it wasn’t easy to get to this place as my mind fought, struggled and resisted letting go for almost two days. But once it did… ahhh… I found myself resting in a wordless place like no other I had ever experienced or one that I could ever attempt to describe. This sense of stillness stayed with me in my everyday life for a few weeks. I can now faintly remember it though I know that it is waiting for me. I look forward to hopefully tapping into that place again.
And so I head north to seven days of silence where there is no talking, no reading, and no writing. There are no phones or computers or not even sign language is allowed. All of these so-called rules are really to benefit the students as we shut down from external stimuli and allow our minds to settle from the constant stream of thinking and discussing that we have conditioned ourselves to think is “normal”.
Seven days is more than twice what I did before and so I have no idea what may happen, where I may go and what I might discover. This is my journey inward through the passageways, over the mountains and into the caves of who I am.
And so I bid you adieu until I re-emerge next Friday. Wish me luck as I walk into what feels like Harry Potter’s Forbidden Forest. I enter without weapons or armor. I enter with a willingness to see what I need to see and hear what I need to hear so that I may become a clearer vessel with a fuller and more compassionate heart, stepping with a lighter footprint back into this world.