Do you sometimes long for silence amidst the hubbub of our busy lives?
Previously we wrote about the rise of digital detox retreats. What’s also becoming popular is Vipassana meditation retreats also known as silent retreats, where, essentially, you don’t utter a single word for as long as you’re there. The days are filled with meditation, short breaks for meals and rest, a brisk walk – all in complete silence. Interaction with anybody else is prohibited.
Vipassana means ‘seeing things as they really are’ and is one of India’s most ancient techniques. These silent retreats are designed to help you focus on the connection between mind and body through self-observation, resulting in a balanced mind.
Overall the effect of being surrounded by silence can initially stir thoughts and over-thinking, but soon comes inner peace. We have an overload of information and too many distractions in our lives that we easily feel out of touch with ourselves. Silence can bring you back ‘home’.
Are silent retreats right for you?
While silent retreats are successful experiences for some, they are not necessarily the right thing for everyone. Sitting still in the lotus position may not be the best option for some to start with, and not for several days without speaking a word.
There are different ways to find silence that gradually help you find it easier to sit or move in silence for longer, e.g. from the meditation part of yoga classes like hatha yoga and Kundalini yoga, pranayama breathing practices, or tai chi and qi gong that is practiced in silence, or taking part in silent walks. Ironically, chanting meditations (making your own sound) can assist with finding inner silence.
If you’re looking for silence, you can simply go to a place that is off the beaten track or somewhere that is a technology-free zone. You might be surprised how much peace you find without a phone in your hand.