Extrovert Or Introvert, This Year's Gift: A Silent Retreat
Cover Photo By Werner Sevenster
By Bruce Davis, Ph.D.
People are giving someone they care about the gift of a silent retreat. The more to do, the more on the mind, the more giving is the silence.
Yes, even the type A, your favorite extrovert could love a few days of silence. Before you gulp trying to imagine him or her coming to a quiet stop, remember a silent retreat is really just simple peace and quiet. Every extrovert secretly desires some down time even though they never seem to manage it. Just tell them famous CEOs in Silicon Valley are routinely turning off all their machines for several days just to give their brains some breathing room, clarity and hope. Time to find our own thoughts and the possibility of inspiration.
Meanwhile, introverts including most of us who know what some quiet does for our exhausted days and sleepless nights, have no problem imagining a silent retreat. The problem is actually getting to the retreat. So hard to stop giving to everyone else and give ourselves some days of well deserved bliss.
For the more compulsive, a silent retreat can be eight hours a day of meditation, absolutely no talking, no reading, nothing but trying to discover the joy of an undisturbed mind. For others a silent retreat can be much more gentle including peaceful meditation, walks in nature,time for a guilt free nothing to do day. In other words, there are lots of different types of silent retreats which carry us to the simple peace found in the wonder of stillness and restful gratitude.
It really doesn't matter how rigorous or easy a retreat you make. Don't fret about the not talking part. This is just to save you from having to tell everyone what you do, how many children you have, and why on Earth would you want to come to a silent retreat.
The magic of a silent retreat is the quiet. Here is all the renewal time we usually hope for on vacation but usually find more stress and noise instead. Here is the dream people have about retirement only we don't have to wait. A guided silent retreat brings us to the silence of the heart. Life changes here.
Extroverts actually enjoy a few calm days as they learn to calm their activity driven mind. Introverts meanwhile just smile. Finally they have a place where they can be themselves in their way, their pace, and enjoy the vast territory of their interior life. We are not all yang, forever motivated for external results. We are also yin with an inner garden (or for the tech people an inner lab) to discover and explore.
Some days in the quietude of nature, heartfulness meditation, and the beauty being fully unoccupied in the moment is wordless poetry.Suddenly we realize we have a starving soul.Silence wraps her arms around the introvert while refining the extrovert's voice and message in the world. For everyone silence touches places seldom known in daily life. Silence is the new paradigm in adventure travel.
What is important is that our silent retreat is not just something new to accomplish. We want to receive the peace and quiet in our nerves and bones. As we turn down our mental activity, the calming brings forward an awareness which until now has been stuffed full of everything but serenity.
Clearing mind and we find a vastness, the essence of our heart. This is the silence which a silent retreat is all about. Being-ness, untangling nerves, fresh air at sunrise, and the fruits of silence are lighting up our life.
We live in constricted personalities trying to manage lives seemingly out of our control. Give our self some space. Solitude, simplicity, surrender, there is a power inside of us to not climb every mountain but receive deeply and enjoy the journey instead.
Silence speaks to us of trust, inspiration, and understanding. There is a generous awareness that the inventor, mystic, artist, and writer within us celebrates. Connecting to our heart, purpose and meaning find a path back into our life.
When someone we know has everything and there is nothing they need or can use, it is probably a sure sign, they can use some quietude and the gift of a silent retreat.