What It's Like to Go on a Silent Meditation Retreat: The Strange, the Challenging, and the Ahh-MAZE-ing! Start your week mindfully!Join the Left Brain Buddha mailing list and get a mindful update every Monday morning.Plus you'll get 40 Ways to Bring Mindfulness to Your Days and Mindfulness for Kids, two printable pdf's to inspire mindfulness every day!
What It’s Like to Go on a Silent Meditation Retreat: The Strange, the Challenging, and the Ahh-MAZE-ing! I’ve just returned from a weeklong retreat in Northern California that was part silent meditation retreat and part mindfulness education training.
I worried about the silent portion of the retreat {see Exhibit A}, but it ended up being delicious.
It’s a very different way of being in the world when you “go inside.” We were told not to make eye contact with others or do things like holding doors for people. It hadn’t even occurred to me before the retreat how liberating it would be to have permission to not engage in small talk, to not feel like I needed to fill the silence to avoid a sense of awkwardness. It’s amazing to live for a few days with EVERYTHING stripped away — so many of the “things” we do during the day are often strategies to avoid our thoughts and the mess in our heads.
Once we broke silence, I noticed after just a few minutes of speaking and engaging with people again that my heart rate sped up dramatically.
Two days of complete digital and social detox revealed to me just how much energy my engagement with the world requires, and how much stimulation the digital world delivers. We practiced walking meditation sessions of 30-45 minutes each, in which we walked slowly and deliberately, eyes focused just a few feet in front.
With my eyes open, there was a lot more distraction — I wanted to look at the trees, the mountains, the sheep, the sky… It was a powerful taste of the way in which our attention shifts and flows inward and outward, inward and outward.
Remember that time Abby got a tick in her head and we noticed it in the bathtub and we just tried to pull it out and a leg came off and then just the leg was stuck in her head? While the purpose of meditation is to find the moments of awareness, discovering the destinations of my flights away from the present was powerfully instructive. A journey is emotional, perhaps spiritual, an exploration of new part of your identity, your soul.  It moves you inward … yet still possibly away from your known universe. Loved this…especially the part about waiting for the bell to ring…you never fail to make me laugh! My name is Sarah Rudell Beach, and I am a teacher, writer, mother, and mindfulness ambassador! The Hridaya Silent Meditation Retreat is a unique 10-day immersion experience which focuses on accessing our real and essential nature, the supreme and divine Self, atman, through an artful integration of meditation and yoga techniques. Supporting Price is for those who have the resources to support the spiritual work of those with fewer financial resources.
Course fees do not include food or accommodation. Please note that accommodations at our center are fully booked for this course period.
Interest in the Hridaya Silent Meditation Retreat has grown consistently since we started our Meditation and Yoga Center in Mexico in 2012. The silent retreat will be hosted at the retreat center for the Art of Living, the International Center for Meditation and Well-Being. After diving into silence for 10 days, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar emerged with the knowledge of Sudarshan Kriya. The program will include observation of silence, deepened by guided meditations, rejuvenating yoga, being with nature, joyful celebration and ample time for yourself!
To speak with one of our volunteers about the retreat, you can reach us at (877)[masked] ext 4 orA [masked]. The center is committed to awakening the spirit within, strengthening body and cultivating mind through self-exploration and the depths of yoga. This group was created for anyone with the desire to meet other local people who practice meditation. We also offer an interesting variety of self-discovery workshops & gatherings to compliment your spiritual practice. ALSO, please note that if you click the *Files* tab to the left, we have a list of various local meditation links, sitting groups, and centers. We are very open to posting your meditation group or special event on our calendar as a *Note*, as to make this as comprehensive a local meditation calendar as possible. Some of our Zen retreats ('sesshin') follow closely the traditional methods of teaching and practice, and others such as our 'Western Zen Retreat' include adaptations to match the Western mind.
Manchester Chan Group day retreats ("zazenkai") are led by Simon Child Chuan-fa Jing-hong who is a Dharma heir of Chan Master Sheng-yen. Silent Illumination is a profound meditation practice which leads to a mind of great calmness and insight, using ancient Chinese Zen methods which are just as applicable to the modern West.
Fiona Nuttall has very kindly agreed to lead this weekend which is to celebrate 10 years of the South Devon Chan Group here on Dartmoor.
The ancient Chinese Zen practices of investigating Huatou and Gongan (Koan) are best practised in a supportive environment such as this intensive silent retreat. This workshop retreat will encourage everyday awareness as a fundamental Chan life practice. The articles on this website have been submitted by various authors and the views expressed do not necessarily represent the views of the Western Chan Fellowship.
Truth be told, it can be very confronting at first, but it doesn’t take long before your presence within the silence starts to feel like a homecoming. You are forgiven, at this point, for thinking this post today is about attending a silent retreat.

When I think about meditation there are always three words (amongst many) that stand out and shine. The 21 Day Meditation Project: 3 weeks of guided meditation is opening again, for free, on June 2nd. Everyday you’ll receive a 10-15 minute guided meditation from myself or from one of the 10 experts who have shared their beautiful, inspiring and love-soaked meditations.
This is for you – whether you joined us in March for the first round, meditation regularly already or believe meditation is just not possible for you. If you are ready to retreat into yourself, if you are ready for Stillness, Clarity and Connection then babe, you are ready to meditate. Share this with your friends – perhaps consider creating a team of meditators to keep you on track and to share your journey (your silent retreat) with. Create a sacred space at home – a special chair by the window, a cushion in the corner of your living space, an altar and candles in your favourite spot. I want to hear from you, now: Did you join the last round of the 21 Day Meditation Project? If you’ve yet to experience meditation share with me your thoughts – are you keen, nervous, excited, disbelieving? While I know this post cannot possibly convey the full extent of the AMAZINGNESS that I experienced on retreat, I want to share what it was like to take a brief dip into the deep-end of the meditation pool!
It was incredibly powerful to have the gift of time to explore my inner world, to finally have continuous silence in order to listen to myself. Even though no one is speaking, car engines run and air conditioners hum, birds tweet and doors creak. The point is to bring your mindful awareness to walking — to the sensations in the bottom of the feet, in the legs, the torso, and to the feel of the wind and the sun. And all the zombies slowly walked back into the meditation hall, heads down, silent, as if we’d joined some creepy cult and we were all heading in to drink some Kool-Aid. Our instructor told us that when we noticed a thought {or that we had been lost in thought for several minutes!}, we should stop, and allow the thought to pass.
It’s a LONG time to watch the random cognitive vomit that the mind throws up when the body takes a moment to rest. But I do have a clearer understanding of what’s important to me and of the path ahead. At Left Brain Buddha, she writes about her journey to live and parent mindfully, joyfully, and thought-fully in her left-brain analytical life. I have been better about limiting my social media time, and I am committed to changing my habits in that realm. I am passionate about sharing the gift of mindful living with little people AND big people -- children and parents, students and teachers -- so that we all may lead joyful and compassionate lives. During the retreat, we address broad aspects of the Spiritual Heart, from a variety of traditions including esoteric Christian, Sufi, and Kashmir Shaivism. As in some of our retreats we reach the maximum capacity of our halls, there is occasionally the need to close enrollment and place interested students on a waiting list for the next available retreat. The Center is nestled in a quiet forest on top of a mountain in the famous Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. Since then, he has tirelessly shared this around the globe to help alleviate suffering and bring comfort, happiness and enthusiasm to people. For Art of Living graduates who wish to register for the graduate program, the Art of Silence, please visit the Art of Silence page.
We offer Art of Living and Art of Meditation retreats, yoga, uplifting program facilities and pleasant accommodations. I definitely would love to go, but its over a month away I'm not sure with my work schedule. We host meetups for practicing a variety of group meditation forms, and meetups for discussing mediation techniques and resources.
It may be out of date, so please check if the group you're interested in is still practicing. If you desire your event posted, please click "email me" under the "Organized by" heading to your left, and we can have a conversation about your event.
An 'interview' is a private conversation about your meditation practice and any difficulties you are experiencing with it with one of our experienced retreat leaders. Personal interviews are usually available for those who wish to discuss their Dharma practice with Simon. We will undertake this in our daily lives, whether at home or in the workplace, with the silent support of knowing that we are not practising alone. Silent Illumination is the origin of the Japanese Soto practice of Shikantaza but is approached somewhat differently and full instruction will be given. As some of you will know, Fiona recently received Dharma Transmission from the Western Chan Fellowship’s Guiding Teacher Simon Child, his first Dharma Heir.
As one becomes deeply absorbed in the practice, mental constructions drop away and one is confronted by a realisation that one does not know the nature of existence and one's fundamental assumptions of life are groundless. We will offer individual and group work to develop mindfulness allowing time for exploration and understanding of individual experience through the lens of meditation.
Silent Illumination is the origin of the Japanese Soto practice of Shikantaza but is approached somewhat differently and full instruction will be given.This seven-night silent retreat is an opportunity to learn and deepen this practice through intensive meditation, with instruction and personal guidance by individual interviews with an experienced teacher. It becomes so natural; tuning into your inner voice is free of the usual static (monkey mind, ego-chatter, negative self-talk), which usually suffocates the truth that is trying to pour forth.

We are communing with our highest self where all the truth, love, joy, insight and wisdom we crave resides.
These three words truly, to me, encapsulate the reasons why I and so many others are devoted to meditation. In fact the flood of feedback and sharing from the first round blew my mind – hearing about people meditating together in hospital, or groups of teenage girls in high school and even retired women meditating for the first time warms my heart from the inside out. I had a hard time stifling my inner “Minnesota nice” and I really wanted to smile and say “Good Morning!” to everyone I saw. When you live with another person for two days and don’t speak, your natural inclination is to think something is wrong, to think YOU have done something wrong. After a loud and engaging lunch, I went back to my room and took my phone out of “airplane” mode.
In “regular life,” it’s such a part of my day that I’m not aware of the low-grade anxiety and nervous activation that stays with me constantly. Which sounds lovely but we looked like a bunch of zombies practicing really slowly for a field sobriety test. Physically stopping my movement with each observed thought powerfully drove home how frequently my mind wanders! I found myself pondering questions like, “When a bee stings you, does it know it’s going to die?” and “Did the Roman alphabet develop from the Phoenician alphabet?” Seriously, people, we’ve got a lot of random shit in our heads. And we didn’t have matches in the house so we had to hold a paper clip in a lighter to heat it up and then use that to fry the tick and get it out?
This discovery allowed me to glimpse a euphoria similar to the one Billy Crystal’s character in City Slickers experiences, when he found his “one thing” that pointed to the purpose of his one precious life.
Over one week, this retreat gently leads participants to inner discovery through the observation of silence, complemented by guided meditations, breathing techniques and yoga, all set amid beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. At the same time, it is conveniently located just five minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway, fifteen minutes from the town of Boone and two hours from Charlotte airport. Sudarshan Kriya takes you to deep meditation where body, mind and breath become one rhythm, connecting to the source of life within. The focus of the group is to cross the boundaries of religious and philosophical backgrounds, to learn and practice mediation without ego or agenda, and to enjoy the peaceful relaxing feeling meditation brings, knowing it to be a powerful path for opening ourselves to all that life has to offer.
We intend to raise the tempo of our practice for this period, increasing our capacity to be aware in our daily lives. Those of you who have heard her teach before will know that we are all in for a real treat. Staying with and cultivating this 'doubt', it can become all-consuming 'Great doubt' which may 'shatter', giving a direct insight into reality which may be what is known as an Enlightenment experience.
Rising early each day, the retreat will also include teaching, silence, interviews and periods for exercise.Open equally to beginners and established meditators. Whether or not a breakthrough to Enlightenment may occur, establishing a practice gives a firm basis for subsequent ongoing mindfulness and compassion in everyday life.
Clarity and connection with yourself, hearing your soul-speak and flowing through life feels effortless. It might not bring me a state of serenity, but this daily retreat might just offer me up a gentle slap or a lesson learned.
It was a complete “going within,” with the gentle and kind instruction to simply “Do YOU.” {We did have opportunities to ask questions of the teachers during silence}. By spending time in silence I tuned into my nervous system, discovering what truly calms me and what overstimulates me. I discovered not that I have a bajillion thoughts racing around my head {insect meditations aside}, but that I often have the same thoughts over, and over, and over… And in two and a half days of meditating in silence, I could observe where my mind likes to land. We find it when we sit in stillness, allow the mind to rest, and listen to our inner knowing.
To ensure enrollment in a chosen retreat, we recommend booking early as possible—at least one month in advance.
The silent retreat is guided by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, spiritual leader, icon of peace and Art of Living founder. The center combines outer comfort and natural beauty, providing ideal surroundings to turn inward and explore one's own nature.
The silent retreat will include this technique, and participants will learn a version they can take with them to reconnect with themselves at home. This enables you to get the most out of your retreat by ensuring that you are meditating effectively and adjusting your practice according to your individual experience and circumstances. A Mindfulness Bell will be rung at noon every day, when all participants may pause and be joined in the silence that the bell marks. His programs have helped participants from 155 countries find greater inner peace, freedom and lasting joy.
Meditation halls and kitchen face panoramic views of the surrounding valley and mountains, which fade into the distance.
Some sort of weird mind control cult?” Now mindful walking is one of my favorite forms of meditation.

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  1. 17.12.2013 at 11:47:48
    JIN writes:
    And practice mindfulness individually for.
  2. 17.12.2013 at 22:31:24
    Ramiz writes:
    And that's probably and deepen consciousness.
  3. 17.12.2013 at 16:49:18
    lala_ASEF writes:
    Dreaming , meditation might give you.
  4. 17.12.2013 at 17:30:46
    turkan writes:
    Program , which makes use of a singular audio know-how.
  5. 17.12.2013 at 11:46:12
    YUJNI_SEVER writes:
    Disturbance - Flip off your cellphone and.