My Silent Meditation Retreat
Who am I? What’s my purpose? Why am I here? These questions and more were what came up in my head when I participated in a full day silent mediation retreat.
I first learned about meditation retreats 6 years ago when I had a co-worker who was really into it. At the time, I was a mess – I had just lost my Mom to cancer and I didn’t know how I was going to survive. In between my suicidal thoughts and hopelessness feelings, there was only one thing I seemed able to do.
I found myself easily able to get up and go to my job every day. Work provided the mental and emotional distraction I desperately needed. It gave me a sense of purpose, something to focus on and feel good about.
For in those 8 hours, I was normal again. I wasn’t the woman whose Mom had just died, I was a functioning member of society. I had a job to do, emails to answer, money to make. I was important. I was needed. I could get over the traumatic experience I had just gone through.
The other hours of the day, when I wasn’t getting ready for work, at work, or thinking about work, I was an uncontrollable, incoherent, out of control, sobbing, emotional, train wrecked mess. When the work days ended, when I came home, alone to my apartment and sat with myself, the grief started pouring in. For months on months I spent my nights crying myself to sleep. Once asleep, I would have wonderful, comforting dreams about my Mother that made me think she was still alive. Waking up with the hope that she hadn’t really died and it was all just a nightmare, reality of the situation would set back in.
No one really knew what exactly I was going through. I was too traumatized to talk about it.
So I put a smile on my face and acted like everything was just GREAT!
But I did have one sweet co-worker who had also lost her mother. Without me saying a word, she seemed to understand. She knew what I was feeling. She could sense the pain I was in. She introduced me to the concept of a silent meditation retreat. She was part of a zen wellness organization that held all day retreats and she said she felt it would be good for me to attend.
Desperate and looking for any escape from the pain I was in, I said yes. I had no idea what to expect. I was a practicing yogi, so was somewhat familiar with meditation and was confident that whatever it was, I would be great at it.
I was wrong.
A silent meditation retreat consists of 12 hours…yes 12 HOURS of sitting quietly meditating, walking mindfully in nature, and listening to talks or consulting with a teacher.
Sounds fun and relaxing, right? Yeah, that is what I thought too.
Let me tell you…when you spend 12 hours completely silent, not talking to anyone, away from your smartphone, laptop, TV, books, and any other form of distraction you may use…well, fun is not the first word that comes to mind.
I was in no way ready for the roller coaster ride I was about to get on. It is an interesting experience to say the least. And one I would totally recommend.
Here’s what I realized during the retreat:
And in this space, when you are in this space, all you feel is love.