Be in silence

Posted on November 4, 2015

campion center

I just got back from a 3 day prayer and meditation retreat. Cell phones were not allowed and nor was there computer access.

The retreat was held in a leafy suburb of Boston. The grounds were magnificent! Even though the Boston suburbs are built up, once you were on the property, you felt as though you were deep in the country side. The picture below doesn’t do it justice.

campion center grounds

And the silence; no traffic noise; no sirens. Quiet in the retreat house. Complete silence. The rooms were very basic, but you know what? I didn’t even notice that. It was just so peaceful and beautiful, nothing else mattered.

Our retreat started on Thursday night. We were to maintain complete silence until Friday morning. I did not have an auspicious start to the weekend. I get back to my room and go to pull the shades down and the entire window treatment, shades, curtains, and curtain rods, comes crashing down. The retreat house is a lovely old building with huge windows; the windows were about twice as big as normal windows. So there was a very big noise when everything came crashing down.

Since we were in silent mode, I couldn’t even ask for help in putting everything back. With my curtainless window, I enjoyed a magnificent view of the clear, starry sky. What a wonderful way to calm my mind and help me sleep.

I learned some very valuable and surprising lessons this weekend.

With silence, you have to face what is really going on in your mind. You can’t distract yourself by mindlessly browsing the Internet or mindless TV watching. I thought I would feel anxious since I was away from all my comforts. Just the opposite happened. I have never felt such a sense of calmness and peace.

Silence teaches you what is important. Of course there was a contact number so we could be reached in case of an emergency. That certainly put my mind at ease and I didn’t have to worry about something happening to my dear 93 year old mother. Other than that, I didn’t need a phone.

Silence helps you prioritize. Knowing that I would be going off-line, I got lots done in the days leading to the retreat. I am in the midst of a rather challenging project and I have a lot of pieces to juggle. But you know what?  Things ran smoothly in my absence, thanks to my preparation and an awesome team. Now if only I could be that productive all of the time.

Something magical starts to happen when you are in silence. Your mind and heart are opened and you feel more alive.

Even returning back to the real world on Sunday wasn’t a shock. Several days later, I still feel the calmness of the retreat.

Have you ever gone on a retreat? If so, what was your experience?