A Mind-Blowing Retreat

Being able to shut out the world and just be in silence for a while sounds like every busy student's dream. One of our writers recounts her experience at a meditation retreat.

The beginning

I was lost. Lost in my mind, lost in my beliefs that I took for reality. I was lost in my idea of perfection. At the meditation retreat, I found myself. It was not something I could physically show but a feeling, a deep feeling of love and peace. All the stress I had created seemed completely unnecessary. I got to explore new view for my life. How great would it feel to just let go of trying to control the world? Everything will work itself out in some way or another. No need to stress about it.

The Voice

I was in silence for all of the nine days. Speaking was only allowed in the groups were you could share your feelings and struggles during the retreat and also if you had an appointment with Jane who was one of the teachers of the retreat. The main teacher was James Baraz, a buddhist monk. I felt relief when I was able to be just silent around others. There was no urge to make new friends or start a conversation.

In the second to last day we slowly started speaking again. I was terrified. All the thoughts about going back to the same I was before; trying to please everyone all the time. I was done and wanted to change. So I started to cry right after we were allowed to speak. When I listened to the others speaking it felt different than it was before the week of the silence.

My mind was so relaxed and calm and there was no thinking going on. No thoughts, no comparing, no judging. There was only calmness, awareness of the present moment and its beauty. My heart was open, there was no shield between me and the world.

My insecurities

They were showing up one by one. My past, all the painful memories roused. Again, I spoke to Jane and cried it all out. My fear of not being perfect showed especially in my studies. I had thought since high school that if I got a bad grade I would disappoint my mom. Like all fears this was also a lie. I found a new way of viewing academic success. It’s all about learning new things, not being top of my class.

Strength

One time when I was crying and Jane held me although I cried, I felt this deep strength in me. I knew that I was able to do whatever I wanted and find success in it. There’s always hope. There’s a solution to every problem. And I knew I could handle everything that’s coming my way.

Finally

The meditation retreat was a very purifying and eye-opening experience. There were moments of wanting to give up but also pure emptiness and pure joy. The best lesson I learnt was to be present in the moment. This moment is the only thing that is real. There is no tomorrow or past. Everything is in this moment. The change is now, the action happens now. And I’m definitely doing the retreat again. Hope you can join me!