Even if you’re a quiet person, (which I’m absolutely not) it’s no small feat to spend a few days not speaking. The value of unplugging and getting quiet is vast and really difficult to explain until you’ve gone through it. Vipassana lessons abound and don’t all unfold in front of you at once. It’s an unraveling effect and it will undoubtedly change you.
Whether it sounds like heaven or an impossibility, there are deep healing reasons each of us should consider taking a silent retreat and possibly doing this on a semi-regular basis.
If meditation eludes you, begin there. Start by meditating daily. It allows you the time to get quiet and go inside. Silence is something many of us have to practice to embrace. Once it doesn’t feel so foreign, we can be more open to the gifts and lessons offered.
Vipassana, or “to see things as they truly are” is the Sanskrit term for a 10-day silent retreat. If discovering and unearthing your truths is something you know you want and need to do in this life, it’s one of the many silent retreat lessons you’ll receive.
There is no talking and no external entertainment allowed (phones are turned over upon arriving, no reading materials or music is permitted). The days are spent practicing seated and walking meditations.
Let’s look at some vipassana lessons laying in wait
It’s normal to feel intimidated or even scared about embarking on such an experience. But for those who do it, there are gifts that keep giving long after the experience is over.
You’ll know yourself better.
Now, this might sound like something we all want. Understanding ourselves can only help us navigate the world around us with a deft and simplicity that isn’t available if we really aren’t clear on what our dharma is. Unearthing truths we’ve been hiding from will surface in the quiet. You’ll reaffirm your strengths and the areas that need work may become amplified. If you can apply the principle that all truth is good, you may be able to see your way into confronting your truths and the opportunities they offer.
You will have a greater sense of self-discipline and self-control.
Who couldn’t use a little help in these departments? One of the coolest things about taking a vipassana is that you eat only at mealtime. And, you eat what’s being served. Not only will you experience and taste your food on a completely different level without the distractions of electronics, books, music, magazines, or conversation, but you’ll develop a deeper appreciation for food as sustenance.
Learning to enjoy a portion that’s just enough versus all you can manage to consume is powerful. And feeling both physically and mentally strong propel us into believing that we are so much more capable than we may have previously thought. The confidence that comes with hanging in there during a meditation when you’ve lost count over how many times you were desperate to give up will give you a greater sense of self and appreciation for the present form that is you.
There is no such thing as boredom.
The concept of boredom is yet another invention of our vast and complex mind. There is no counting the stories in our heads. There are too many and they change constantly. We go from thought to thought and often there is no obvious connection between the thoughts other than that they are mostly fabrications.
During a vipassana, we begin to question of all of our thoughts. If I think the thought, “OMG, I can’t meditate for one more nanosecond,” then that’s my truth right that moment and it will change because it was never true in the first place. And here I am, back to meditating. The only moment that’s important is the one that’s happening right this second. Does that mean nothing is true? No, of course not. But wading through our muck and distractions and landing on the inherent deep-seeded values that rise up like a lotus over and over is what deserves our attention and nurture.