I have recently returned from a week-long, intense, teacher-led silent retreat in the beautiful Suffolk countryside.
As a Breathworks mindfulness teacher, attending retreats like this are of course part of my ongoing personal and professional development. However these annual silent retreats mean much more to me than just ticking a box to say I have completed some continuing professional development.
This particular retreat was looking at love and compassion towards self and others. Meditations began at 7 AM with the last one at 8 PM and in between those times we had other meditations, walking meditations, mindful movements and some teaching. We also had to help with the practical running of the retreat centre (for example washing up or chopping vegetables) all in silence.
What I love about being in silence for such a prolonged period of time, is that I can really reconnect with myself in a very deep way without the distractions of work and life. During this week I have sat with very uncomfortable feelings such as sadness and grief, and I have also felt joy bubbling up and overflowing within me. The practice of mindfulness is a real gift to myself, and an act of love for myself.
I witnessed beautiful sights I would have ordinarily missed such as the juice spurting out of an orange as another retreatant was peeling it; and cobwebs in the spaces of a brick wall which were covered in water from the evening mist and lit up by outside lights. There was so much to look at, hear, taste touch and smell my senses were full.
I return feeling rested, calm and reinvigorated. I appreciate that there are things in my life I need to change and I have gained some idea on how I might achieve that. This retreat in particular, has been deeply profound.
If you are interested in attending a retreat and are hesitating-it will be life changing!