Last week I had the absolute joy of experiencing a week on retreat. There was a lot of sharing throughout but when we weren’t in session, we were asked to remain in silence. This included no media at all, not even books to distract ourselves from our purpose in being there. I found it to be a very special opportunity to focus on me and to really be with myself and to mindfully engage in whatever I happened to be doing at the time.
When you think about it, we spend a lot of life making conversation, gossiping about others, distracting ourselves with all manner of things but we are often reluctant to make the time and commitment to just be happily with ourselves. This wasn’t a time when we were meditating but just going about our usual business of eating, clearing our plates after dinner, writing our thoughts, walking in the garden, preparing for bed.
As part of the final process, we discussed ways of implementing into our lives what we had learned and the subject of sharing with families came up. This got me thinking about the ‘Silent Time that I found so refreshing and grounding during my time there and how it could be useful in family life.
I’m not, of course, suggesting this as a permanent arrangement but what a wonderful experience it could be if all the family were to spend one hour a week, or 15 minutes a day, or whatever time-frame works for your own situation, in silence. What can happen with this silence is our senses can become heightened – we can hear that bird singing in the garden, the wind rustling the leaves, the smell of dinner cooking. This happens because distractions are minimal and we can truly focus on the present moment.
If we have an emotional issue this is an opportunity to really be with that feeling if we allow ourselves the time to not be distracted. Healing can take place instead of the common reaction to forget all about it and push it way down onto our sub-conscious by diverting our attention away from it, letting it fester away until it causes real problems in our lives.
‘Silent Time’ can start small and grow, it can have a focus and it can be beautiful and a blessed relief from the constant chatter and distraction that can fill our lives if we choose to let it.