Your Mind on a Silent Retreat – Vipassana
People sign up for a silent retreat for many different reasons often because they are going through some sort of crisis and are trying to find answers within themselves. Other people just go for the silence, to meditate and become more focused on their minds or perhaps even to just push themselves back into their daily meditation routine.
Whatever the reason someone partakes on this journey of the mind, it is a good one.The mind is constantly chattering, giving rise to fears, anxieties and negative thoughts. In the silence you have no other choice but to be with your thoughts and work through them.
The mind can bring up things from your childhood that you were unaware of or forgotten about. You can hallucinate and see things that may not be real, normally connected to your fears.
Believe that the group or the teachers are out to get you… etc. It is not your typical retreat its not lazing by the pool and eating fabulous food and wine. It is a test of the mind and body. It can be seen as a reset, clearing out the fear and anxiety and leaving you with the new you and your new journey of thoughts.
In meditation they ask you to focus on body scanning or the breath and to just sit and be in the present. You are asked to not move at all, whatsoever, and deal with all the pains that arise form sitting in a meditative position. The pain sometimes becomes unbearable and you are asked to just sit through it and be with the mind. Depending how long you are going on a silent retreat it is best to have some sort of meditation experience previously. As the student you are sitting for 5 – 10 hours a day in normally 1hr mediation blocks.
Some of the rules given during silent retreats are as follows:
- Silence at all times.
- No phones, books, music or writing in a journal.
- No eye contact.
- Staying on site, not leaving the retreat centre.
There is generally some free time on these silent retreats where you can do movement, yoga, ecstatic dance or walk in silence. The food is often vegan or vegetarian, gluten free, no onions and garlic to help ease in digestion. The food might be your favourite part of the retreat and you may even begin to enjoy sitting and meditating in silence.
You never know what the mind will have for you on a silent retreat you really just have to try it and see what it is like. Are you ready for the challenge? Don’t worry no one really is, just try it! Maybe you will love it! Your mind will definitely enjoy the break.