Why attend a silent meditation retreat? If you would have asked me 13 years ago, I probably would not have been able to give you a good answer. I knew a lot about meditation retreats, having organized them for decades. And even though short periods of silence have sometimes been part of these programs, I was unfamiliar with a retreat where people remain quiet for the entire time.
Then, in 2010, we began to hold silent meditation retreats and the positive response to these retreats was marvelous. Since then, it has become quite normal to receive feedback from our attendees about the incredible impact that the retreat had on their lives. Here is a short list of some of the benefits that people have mentioned:
- Our silent retreats are device-less, that is, everyone is asked to shut down all of their devices (e.g. cellphones, laptops, smart watches, etc.). Most of the attendees are more than happy to free themselves from the constant pull of screens. It immediately releases them from the continuous flow of info and interchanges that regularly absorb their attention and prevent them from focusing on their deeper needs. For some, this is one of the main attractions of a silent retreat.
- The absence of verbal communication creates the mental space needed to reflect on life, to put things in perspective, and most importantly, to listen better to that inner voice of reason and love. This allows for a type of reset which helps people adopt new and positive habits and directions for their life journey.
- Some attendees come to the retreat during a key moment or turning point in their lives, such as deaths, divorces, break-ups, or job loss. The silence and meditation provides a calm and supportive environment where they can assimilate their situation better and gain inner strength and wisdom to move forward to the next phase of their lives.
- It never ceases to amaze us how much emotional support and companionship people experience from the other silent retreat attendees. Through the collective programs and non-verbal communication, they are able to connect with each other at a deeper level than if they were able to spend time chatting.
- For those interested in a more regular yoga or meditation practice, these retreats offer four yoga classes and six collective meditation sessions which include additional instructions and inspirational guidance. There is also free time for individual practices. Whether new to yoga and meditation or more experienced, attendees have been able to deepen their understanding and of the practices.
These are a few benefits that those attending silent meditation retreats have mentioned. Of course, each individual’s experience is unique and special. So if you just need time to get away from your daily routines and habits, this retreat creates the perfect environment for self-reflection, non-judgmental companionship, and strengthening your yoga and meditation practice. And I must not leave out the amazing food which keeps everyone nourished in so many different ways.
At Prama, we hold silent retreats almost every month so check out our schedule here.