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Sep
01

Creating Your Own Personal Silent Retreat

I was seeking silence and solitude so I spent a few days at Bali Silent Retreat. It was an ascetic vegetarian lifestyle (which was a bit much for me). While I had my moments of revelation, I realized I didn’t have to fly to Indonesia for silence. This blog post will describe how to create your own silent retreat.

The Bali Silent Retreat is not actually silent. Teachers instruct yoga and meditation, guides talk on tours, and you are asked to chant during ceremonies.

The silent part is removing the noise in your life. For most of us, this is our electronic devices including Internet, and social media. We spend a lot of time on our email accounts, Whatsapp, Telegram, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, etc… Noise can also come from family/roommates if you don’t live alone.

The first thing we did at the Silent Retreat is to lock up our electronic devices. There are no electrical outlets in the rooms and there’s no wi-fi signal anywhere.

That’s it! It’s that simple. The secret sauce to a silent retreat:

1) Locking up your electronic devices
2) Avoid excessive talking and stress
3) Spending time alone with your thoughts

If you can do this for a day or two (or even half a day), you’ve created your own silent retreat.

You might be asking: If I can’t go on the Internet or talk to people, what do I do?
The silent retreat had a lot of optional yoga and meditation classes to fill up the day.

Bali Silent Retreat’s Schedule
6-6:45 am Meditation
7-8:30 am Gentle Yoga
8:30-10 am Breakfast
12-2 pm Lunch
2-3:15 pm Yin yoga
3:30-4:30 pm Meditation
4:30 pm-6 pm Dinner

But these classes were optional. You don’t have to meditate or practice yoga — you can do whatever activities that are enjoying and calming to you. Some activities could be:

  • hiking
  • cooking
  • yoga
  • sewing
  • gardening
  • massage
  • taking a bath
  • reading inspirational books

Fill up the day with activities that are familiar, calming, and personally enjoyable, so you can let your mind meander and wander.

Calm your mind first; stillness and insights will come later.

If you feel antsy, write it down for later (using pen and paper), then let it go. This is your time, for you.

You’ll also eat alone in silence and without distraction (no devices nor reading). This helps maintain the silence.

Here’s the reality.

Silence at home
I admit silence is hard to achieve at home because my instinct is to check the Internet every 10 minutes. However, I have still been able to find a 10-hour period of time of silence. I do this when my roommate is travelling so the house is quiet. I work a half-day in the morning so I can check all my emails and get everything out of the way. Because everyone at work knows I’m taking the afternoon off, they won’t expect me to reply until the following day. When my period of silence starts, I make sure nothing is hanging over my head and shut off all devices. And then I fill the rest of the day with activities that I enjoy (see list above)

Silence when travelling
It’s much easier for me to attain ‘enlightenment’ when I travel alone. When I travel, I only use the hotel’s Internet, so I’m unplugged. Importantly, people don’t expect me to respond when I’m travelling. I’ve attain silence similar to what I had in Bali Silent Retreat in a museum in Washington, D.C., soaking in Calistoga baths, or wandering Central Park in New York.

I hope this helps you find your inner self.

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