Daily Motivation 198
*I wrote this blog day-by-day while on retreat
It’s been a few years since I did an extended silent practice and thought it would be interesting to journal/blog around the ups and downs. At this point I don’t know how the retreat is going to pan out but I am making a commitment to share whatever comes up with my community; good and/or bad!
The retreat began yesterday (speaking and eating day; one meal at lunchtime only) and consists of around 9 hours each day in the temple saying Buddhist prayers on developing compassion, and fasting (food and water) every other day.
This morning I begin five days of silence and today it will be easy because:
- it is the first day and I am used to one day of silence
- the whole group will be silent today
The challenge for me will really begin tomorrow when the group begin speaking again, and I do not. I’ve done the Chenrezig retreat for the past ten years but never chosen to be more silent than I needed to because the practice is already very challenging.
However this year is different
This year I need to go deeper
This year I am ready for more
Day one was easy as predicted, I welcomed the silence like an old friend that I’ve not seen for a long time; familiar, comfortable in each others company, and catching up on lost ground.
For me this presents itself in a magical way because I talk ALL THE TIME usually!
I talk too much for sure
And this is something that I will be addressing on my return, and one of the reasons I chose to extend the silence this week.
That was undoubtedly the easiest fasting day that I’ve ever done in the 10 years that I’ve been doing this practice, and I know why: my mind is different. I’ve stepped up my meditation over the past year drastically by making a firm commitment to practice everyday, and with my daily Facebook livestream of my own practice this has enabled me to fully step into the larger space that the commitment gave (I will write a whole blog on the subject of the power of commitments).
It was easy not to speak, yet I spoke three times!
Let me explain…
These three times I spoke were ALL in the same context: saying Thank You
As a lifelong ‘people pleaser’ it is extremely difficult for me NOT to try to make a situation ‘better’; by saying thank you; by pretending bad stuff hasn’t happened at all; and/or feeling like I have given the most I possibly can in any given situation. I can tell you it is exhausting and my three ‘thank you’s’ today were very revealing.
However aside from these three slips I have very much enjoyed my chosen silence and found it fascinating listening to the mainly mindless chat we seem to partake in.
Another easy one today as everyone in the group is silent
My next major challenge as the group I am in are talking today and I am not
Will I be able to not say ‘thank you’…..
I am amazed at how much I’ve relished not speaking today plus not found it hard (really) at all. The last time I chose silence when everyone else was talking was on a retreat back in 2009 and I massively struggled, however, I was a very different person eight years ago; still drinking and with bankruptcy looming. Back then there was so much to say and not much of a filter, so it was extremely interesting to watch myself today, because now I don’t actually need to say anything.
Easy peasy today as we were all in silence
I will be speaking for the first time in six days in an hour
Felt great to speak and catch up with the group, and how they have been finding the practice. There was no gradual emerging, it was more like a dam broke and a torrent of words came tumbling out of my mouth!
My last silent day and I can’t wait to go inward again
There are so many huge shifts and insights that I am having on these very powerful silent days, yet can share them with no one, so they become my own private gifts. I am usually such an open, sharing person that I find it strange to NOT share. That in itself is a huge insight.
Perhaps we say too little?
Or do we say too much?
Could we cut down on much of the conversation we have and just keep it to what is important?
Could we have an internal conversation before ‘putting it out there’?
I know that after every time I’ve had a period of abstinence from speaking, I have spoken less. So much of what I would have said is plain unnecessary and I find it each time a fascinating experience.
Could you have one day a week, a fortnight, or one per month even in silence?
Or if that is too much what about mornings / afternoons / evenings?
Could this be a commitment that you make?
And if you really don’t think you could manage that why not take a look at:
WHAT you say
HOW you say it
Is there anything that could be improved upon?
What I find most interesting about this retreat is how the two days differ so drastically; the talking day is very ‘outward’ whilst the silent day is ‘internal’. We bring in our attention to the senses, our feelings and intentions. It is amazing at how opposed the days are because of the silence, and how much MORE I got from my practice and meditation because of it.
I went deeper
I reached further
This is probably the biggest insight of this years compassion retreat and will be something that I will talk about in this afternoons training video for those on the online programme. I will be live at five….
Member Quote Of The Day:
In this section you will read something that has been said by one of the Quantum Sobriety Online Programme members over on the very lively private forum:
J, Online Programme