My retreat was 5 days long, held in the Buddhist Tradition of Noble Silence at Cloud Mountain which is beautiful. There was no talking unless it was to the teacher in the few spaces when that was possible. I wanted this. I wanted quiet, deep quiet, as I long for more silence in my regular life.
We sat, walked and ate in Silence from 5:45 am until 9:30pm.
My system went into a bit of shock going from my usual very verbal life with listening and talking ALOT to total silence. It brought an unexpected anxiety that I had not felt in a long time.
I did not want to be my own patient, but I was.
The teacher was wonderful.
I was the first person to put my cell phone in the basket to be held by the teacher and then asked for it back in a note 2 days later. I ran down the driveway and called my mother and husband in tears. I felt better. I did not talk to them again but I texted my husband while hiding underneath my sleeping bag at night.
The teachings of the Buddha that were shared by the teacher every night were amazing and helped me so much. The Buddha did not awaken in a day. He traveled many paths, and went through plenty of struggle on his movement to peace.
I accepted what was. I softened into that place beyond struggle that we work with developing in yoga and many other spiritual traditions, the unwavering self that sees and lovingly holds all we go through. I felt the warmth of deep compassion moving in and out of me.
I loved the trees, and singing birds. I liked the frogs too but their croaking reminded me I wasn’t sleeping much.
I trusted I would move through my anxiety and get better. I did, towards the end.
I was so happy to return home to work with my clients and students, to continue to do this work of healing, of practicing acceptance, compassion, joy and deep connection to other beings and mother nature.
I am happy I did this. I may do it again, more prepared, and open to what will be.