The Silent Treatment
"Silence is golden" as the saying goes but silence can also be an unwelcome guest when it's imposed upon us through periods of isolation.
Since Lockdown, many people have struggled with the silence that comes with being confined at home for lengthy periods and especially when alone.
When we do leave our homes we’re forced to wear masks that cover our mouths - the most visual symbol of silence I can think of. What could life be trying to tell us?
Silence however, can be golden. For example, meditation or 'sitting in silence' as a daily ritual is now a mainstream practice with meditation spaces popping up around us like mushrooms.
The many positive results are well documented. Meditation reduces stress, improves brain function (actually grows grey matter), reduces anxiety and depression, boosts the immune system, reverses ageing and the list goes.
Alternatively, for those who want to take silence further, there's the 10 day silent retreat, a practice that has become so popular that retreats worldwide are now booked out for months in advance.
One of the first things you will learn during a 10 day silent retreat is to surrender - no easy feat. In life we spend much of our time either resisting what is in front of us or trying to conquer it like a Viking.
At first, to surrender seems an unnatural act but quite the contrary is true. Learning to acquiesce puts you back into the flow of life and can be an ally in difficult times.
With silent retreats, one of the challenges is lasting the 10 days and generally about 6% - 10% don’t complete the full term but nothing ventured nothing gained.
I did my first 10 day silent retreat 12 years ago and fell in love with the practice. For me, silence is the great unchartered cosmic mystery box. It’s my sacred space, my very own piece of paradise and entry is free.