Silence. It’s a term we know of but hardly ever experience ourselves. With the improvements in technology and the easy access to endless sources of entertainment, silence is something that a lot of people no longer observe or experience in their lives. This is why silent retreats are starting to gain popularity in a perennially connected society.
What Is A Silent Retreat?
Silent retreats are just like your typical retreats where you are forced to reckon with the things that you have done and reflect on what you can do to make things better. While silent retreats have been done in the past, it is starting to grow a following because of the one thing it does that people feel like they need to do but cannot: give up their mobile phones and other similar gadgets that allows them to stay connected to the outside world.
Silent retreats also discourage attendees from talking to each other. They are made to focus only on themselves and find an awareness about themselves that they may have forgotten or overlooked due to their busy schedules. They are also prohibited from using books or listening to music because this gives them an external source of entertainment that distracts them from what they should be doing in the retreat. Why do they do this? To elicit boredom.
Taking the time to nurture your inner self is very important for your wellbeing
Entertainment And The Lack Of Boredom
So many people today, including young kids, are terrified of the thought of being bored. No one says it that way but you see it in how they react to the lack of stimulation: they fidget, they get irritable, or they develop a general feeling of being uncomfortable. But why is that? It’s because in this day and age, everything you need to keep you busy are just at the tip of your fingers. If you want to order food, to talk to someone, to get something done, all you have to do is to click on a few buttons on your cellphone or on your computer.
In today’s society, you get to avoid conversations just by plugging into your earphones and you will be oblivious to the whole world around you. You don’t have to make eye contact in the subway because you are engrossed by the game that you downloaded into your phone. You live a life that is dictated in part by what is trending on social media. In a world where you can be stimulated by the most mundane and childish app on your cellphone, the idea of being bored is an idea that’s as daunting as learning a language that you have little to no interest in.
The absence of boredom diminishes time for reflection and self-assessment
But what most people fail to realize is that boredom is actually good for you.Studies show that boredom encourages a person to reflect on his life and to look back on things that he might have missed. Boredom also allows you to evaluate the decisions that you are about to make, and it also allows you to create ideas that you wouldn’t have been able to think of if you were in the midst of the activities that you consider as fun. Boredom makes you more aware of what is going on in your immediate surroundings and makes you want to act on them because you have given them a thought.
Boredom has become a taboo of sorts because people see boredom as something that showcases a weakness. It is difficult for people to admit to being genuinely bored because everybody else seems to be doing something important. We have forgotten how important it is to be in touch with ourselves and to reevaluate our goals and paths in life.
Benefits Of Silent Retreat
Self Awarenessbecause silent retreats are focused on the individual, it raises your own self awareness. It reminds you of the things that you may have lost track on and the things that you need to remove from your life. It also allows you to reflect on the decisions that you have made in the past that has led you to where you are in your life right now and if there are any changes that you need to do in order to get to where you would like to be. It is also an opportunity to come to terms with the things that you believe you may have done wrong not just to others but to yourself as well, and to learn from those experiences and build on it to create something even better.
Increase in Productivity because of all the outside stimulations and distractions that we get from always being connected through our cellphones, tablets, and laptops, the chances of us losing our focus on the things that we need to be doing are almost inevitable. The distraction that comes with the constant pressure of our family, peers, and colleagues also distracts us from our own goals because there is a desire to do things the way that most people are doing them. Being away from these gadgets and being away from the influence of other people allows us to recollect our thoughts and realign our focus. You are also able to focus on finding a solution to your problems instead of simply dwelling on them. Going on a silent retreat helps to ingrain a renewed vigor in reaching our goals because we have experienced what it is like to live away from distractions and outside stimulations and we have once again realized the things that we would like to accomplish.
Taking the time to truly focus on yourself helps you grow and improve on areas of your personality or skills that you may have overlooked
Stimulation of Original Ideaswhen you feel bored, your mind finds a way to entertain itself through the creation of ideas. These ideas stem from the innate desire of people to create something and to express themselves. It is during the moments when true boredom is felt that our most original ideas come out from the recesses of our minds. Thelaw of attraction is a powerful way of making our ideas into reality, of allowing them to come to fruition and it is only when we have nothing else to focus on but our inner most desires that we realize our best ideas and when we feel strongly about accomplishing them and seeing them through to completion.
When you are able to breathe, de-stress, and listen to yourself, you feel a renewed source of strength and you are able to better re-align and plan your goals
Stress Reductionwhen we are in constant motion, we forget to breathe. Not the kind of breathing that you are thinking about where oxygen fills our lungs, but the kind where we are able to rest fully. When this feeling of tiredness and burden piles up, our body releases cortisol, our stress hormone, and this compounded stress makes us feel the weight of all the things that we need and want to accomplish given the limited hours in a day that we have. When you are able to pull away from all the things that bring you stress and worry - whether it be social media, work, pressure from family - you are able to revitalize yourself. This revitalization is important in making you more efficient and effective in all the things that you do. When you allow yourself to breathe, you allow yourself to rest and heal from all the hard won battles that you have faced. It also allows you to recharge yourself for the things that you are about to tackle next.
Learning To Listen
Because of the presence of social media, of the more convenient and readily-available modes of communication, it is easy to get lost in the here and now. We have forgotten how to enjoy our own company and to focus on ourselves. We have learned to listen to everybody but ourselves. Silent retreats are meant to detoxify you, even if just for a little while, from the strings that keep you connected to everything else that makes you forget just how important having your own little bubble is. By going on a digital detox, you allow yourself to feel who you are and to reassess how you have been these past few days, months, or years.
Thiswebsite is a great resource for places that you can visit and experience a digital detox in. You can also start your own detox even from your own home through meditation and the practice ofyoga. There are also apps that you can use such asHeadspace andCalm that you can use to guide you in your meditative process if you are just starting out. You can also opt to listen totibetan sound bowls which is a great way of reinvigorating the mind and allowing it to reach a level of peace and calm. When you detoxify yourself from the strings that keep you constantly attached to everything else, you are able to hear yourself again and appreciate who you are as an individual.