Ok, I admit, it was self-imposed. I chose to do a three day silent retreat after reading a Hafiz poem called For Three Days:
FOR THREE DAYS
Not many teachers in this world
Can give you as much enlightenment
In one year
As sitting all alone, for three days,
In your closet
This means not leaving.
Better get a friend to help with
A few sandwiches
And no reading in there or writing poems,
That would be cheating;
Aim high--for a 360 degree
This sitting alone, though, is
If you are normally
Or have ever been under doctor's
Surveillance because of your
Don't let Hafiz fool you--
A ruby is buried
The poem got me thinking. My deepest desire is to reach my God-given potential. My life's calling is to help others do the same. So, why not give deep silence a try for myself?
I've spent time meditating the past few years and it has always been something incredibly helpful to me. Insights arise from my time in silence and inspiration fills me whenever my mind can quiet down enough to hear Divine whispers.
I was guided to a local retreat center called St. Raphaela's (I'd be happy to share the details if you'd like to go there). It was a simple place, an old mansion, run by a group of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
I was given a room and three meals a day. During my time there I sat in their chapel quietly praying and listening. I laid on the grass experiencing the support of the Earth. I walked in nature. I watched the golden falls leave glisten as the wind blew them to the ground.
Silence is refreshing. It is also valuable because it stirs up the old, un-resolved (often painful) sediment that still needs to be dealt with. In fact, while on a walk I came across an outdoor wedding. I saw the father walking his daughter down the aisle. All of a sudden it him me, "My Dad had never been there...he had not walked me down the aisle. . . " Tears flowed down my cheeks as this pain resurfaced. The release was cleansing. It gave me a moment to further release the past and open more deeply to the Heavenly Father who has always been with me through my life journey.
I bet you are saying, "You are crazy! Three days, that seems so long!" Well, to be honest, it made me crave more--a full week, even a month?
I enter this new year of my life with a desire to find practical ways to incorporate silent moments into my life. And yes, I will definitely get another retreat on the calendar at St. Raphaela's.
Why not open to a moment of silent on a regular basis? Scripture says, " Be Still. KNOW that I am God." All the world's religions teach that silence is an entry to wisdom and Divine revalation. If you need answers, direction, comfort, support, encouragement and insights, time in silence may just be what you need.
True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment. ~William Penn
With my love as I enter a new year! (Thanks for journeying with me.)
Patricia Omoqui, The Thought Dr.