10 Days of Silence

We last left off two years ago when I vowed to make meditation a priority. Since then I have gained a steady meditation practice, I currently teach several meditation classes per week, and I went on that elusive Vipassana meditation retreat that I was wavering on for so long. Let’s discuss…

The lake and the meditation hall.

Several years ago an acupuncturist told me that he thought I could benefit from something called Vipassana meditation. I had no idea what that was, so, naturally, I googled around. (Go ahead, Google away!) I found that it is a type of silent meditation that you learn by going on a 10 day silent retreat at one of the many Vipassana centers around the world. This was back when I was in law school. I could not fathom being able to leave school (and later, job at a law firm) for 10 days without access to phone, computer, or communication with others. But, alas, the thought remained in the back of my head that this sounded intriguing to me.

Fast forward to 2015. I was just coming off of an injury to my cervical spine that had me recovering for 3 months. (More on that later.) This injury certainly wasn’t something that was planned, and it disrupted my ability to work. I realized two important things. Time goes fast, so get out and do the things you’ve been wanting to do. And two, I didn’t think i had the ability to take 10 days off, but then something out of my control put the brakes on my life for 3 months. If I could have an outside force disrupt my life so quickly, and be able to come out of it in one piece, I certainly could schedule 10 days for myself to do something that I’d been wanting to do for quite some time.

So I did. I packed up and went to the closest Vipassana retreat center. The drive out was lovely and gave me time to think about the days ahead. It also gave me the chance to sing loudly as I drove with the windows open. A luxury I wouldn’t be afforded for over a week! The center was serene and situated between farms. There was plenty of land for wildlife and nature. After settling into my sparse dorm room, we met for an introduction and for the dreaded release of cell phones, electronics, books and journals. That’s right, not only was there no communication with others, there was no writing or reading allowed. EEEk. After a light meal we began our silence.

I’ll spare you the details of the minutia of 10 days living in silence. But here’s a brief summary. Days were spent with a strict meditation schedule of waking up early - first meditation around 4:30 - and of course going to bed early. This meant no heinous tablet light to throw my circadian rhythm off! Meditations, around 2 hours at a time, were held throughout the day with breaks for meals, naps and walking around the property. I happened to be there during goose nesting season, so there was plenty of action around the small lake!