This is the finale in a journal chronicling my silent journey during Silent Awakenings.
This week has gone by much faster than I expected, and being silent was far easier than I expected. I think my body and mind was craving silence.
Sunrise Meditation – Our final time together was sunrise meditation on the beach instead of under the trees. I brought a blanket from the second Lilliputian bed in my room to make myself a womb on the sand. I snuggled next to my friends and meditated to the primordial sound of the waves on the shore. It was a perfect way to end the silent retreat. When we opened our eyes to the sun in the sky, a row of seagulls was quietly standing there, just staring at us. (They’ll never understand what us hoomans do.) Or maybe they were meditating too.
My Souvenirs – So what am I taking home with me other than a lot of dirty clothes that stink like seaweed and super fine white sand? Read on to discover…
Silence is Golden – I do have a new appreciation not only for silence, but for the spoken word. Each word is precious and valuable, and I’ll pay more attention to how I speak and what I speak. The break from speaking and from technology filled me up with what I can only describe as a quiet, calm energy. I want to continue that and am going to choose one day per month to spend in silence with no technology.
You can experience this too, and you don’t need to jump into a one-week retreat to do it. Perhaps try to spend an hour in silence once a week, working up to a few hours or a sunrise to sunset silent retreat. One of the definitions of retreat is “a quiet or secluded place where one can rest or relax.” Don’t we all need that? Our minds and bodies need time and space to rest, relax, and rejuvenate.
Mind Tool – A mantra is just a tool for your mind during meditation. Use the mantra if you want, or simply focus on your breath. It is astonishing what a difference this made for me during the week. I suppose it comes from being a rule-follower and always wanting to do the best that I can in any situation. “You have a personal mantra. Use it all the time, every time. You should be in love with your personal mantra,” said no one ever but me. Giving myself permission to not use my mantra was freeing.
I Think I Am – I am not my thoughts. It was like Deepak smacked me upside the head and said, “The only way to stop judging yourself is to shut up!” Well, he did actually say that to all of us, not just to me, and there was no physical smacking upside the head, just metaphorical. The shift from identifying with the thought to witnessing or observing the thought is key.
Work Less – I had been very focused on determining exactly what my dharma should be. Review my intentions. Make it happen. My life should be spent in pursuit of my dharma. Oh, geez, just give it a break. Our culture and conditioning states that we should always be doing something, or else we’re lazy AF. Well, this week I accepted the fact that just being is OK. Moving intentions from the unmanifest to the manifest is a subtle process. The more we are self-referred, meaning we self-reflect, we practice gratitude, we are an observer or witness, the more our intentions spontaneously manifest. Intentions aren’t forced.
The Silent Witness – The biggest shift for me during the week was the concept of The Silent Witness. My ability to be able to observe what is happening in life – thoughts, actions, experiences – completely changes the way I interact with everything. It is also completely freeing. Some schools of thought suggest that you have to “do the work” in order to reach true happiness. Practice yoga, practice meditation, educate yourselves with books, take trainings, and on and on and on. If you work hard enough, you can be happy, be enlightened, be whatever the word is that you want. This week I realized that I if I start being The Silent Witness, if I am the observer, everything else will fall into place. My meditation and yoga practices will happen naturally, my dharma will unfold naturally, my love for myself and others will happen naturally. I will be free.
I am grateful that you’ve joined me on this journey and pleased if you were able to take anything away from this experience as well. I’m going to continue with my regular silence. Let me know if you give it a try.
About the Author
Rochelle Barcellona is an animal-loving, family-and-friends-embracing, yoga-nidra-meditation-and-ayurveda-teaching, happy red-headed yogi who owns Nourish Mind Body & Spirit in Northern California. You may learn more about Rochelle here. Rochelle may be reached directly at email@example.com and 916-353-5200.