It’s been a small eternity since I last blogged, more precisely since my Vipassana (meditation ) retreat in July. These days silence to me comes easy, it’s sweetly seductive and within it’s quiet embrace inner things happen that are very hard to find words for.
It’s an intense experience spending 10 days with nothing but your own thoughts for company. The first time I did this vipassana meditation course (12 years ago) the changes were whizz bang in my face obvious but this time it’s been different; subtler yet deeper, a strange and inner process. A bit like an unravelling but maybe de-ravelling might describe it better.
While I was there this quote popped into my mind:
“‘Sometimes I lie awake at night, and ask, ‘Where have I gone wrong?’ Then a voice says to me, This is going to take more than one night.'” ~ Charles M. Schulz
Well to be honest after much reflection I still don’t have a clue (about anything much really!). And the word “wrong” doesn’t describe how I feel, rather a feeling that there might be more that if not attended to might be missed. This quote reminds me of this ongoing inner search for understanding, learning to integrate experience into tangible skills to navigate through life. The place where I’ve found the most satisfactory answers is in this inner silence.
Now talking/ writing about silence is a strange proposition, and the reason why despite returning with promises of blogging about my retreat, it’s only now I’m willing and able to give it due consideration. As much as I LOVE silence I know there is also value in sharing. I know a lot of sensitive people are going through some tough times right now, and a couple of teachers and friends have shared their difficulties with such honesty and humility it’s inspiring me to be a little bolder in telling my own stories.
My first experience of deep inner silence came as a surprise, I thought I was just dipping my toe in and I found myself in over my head. I was taking a personal retreat, reading the power of Now and trying one of the suggested exercises and BAM ! . Trying to describe it feels impossible, but it was still, it was silent, yet it was alive and oh so very very peaceful. When my mind kicked back in it was pretty freaked, but there was also a deep sweetness. Once you’ve seen the truth you can’t un-see it.
My first thoughts pulling me out of the silence were, “how am I going to convincingly play the role of “me” now I know that theres this deeper sweeter silence just below the surface”? Well I do my best, but I’m not sure I’ve even convinced myself so I could understand if you have your doubts in my character.
My meditation practise satisfies my hunger for truth but my yoga practise balances me out, calling me back to a more embodied wholeness. Yoga instills in me a passion for living, this body this breath. Yoga helps me to notice and feel the beauty of each moment, and awakens the joy of authentic sharing. I Love to teach/Share yoga but I know I am the ‘finger pointing at the moon’, if you want to see the moon you have to look for yourself. Seeing people reflecting back that inner moonlight glow is one of my favourite things in the world.
10 days of silence is a great opportunity to investigate sharing habits; how, what and why, all the way to where and when. In this age of social media sharing it can be hard to hear your inner voice amidst the constant chatter, and even harder to share it rather than what we think will be popular. I didn’t want to write a surface chatter blog, I didn’t want try and sell you my answers, I wanted to make my inner silence into a song that might inspire you to listen for your own music.
I still have my own inner demons and fears that my mind likes to dance with, But I also know that it’s okay, totally madly deeply okay. I know that living in this seemingly complicated world it’s all too easy to forget, so lets remind each other when ever we can; With our words but also with our silences, with our smiles, our bodies, our breathes, and every bit of our being! xo
The Joy Of Not Being Sold Anything by Banksy – Photo by Alex Embleton, London, 2005 (flickr.com/embleton)