benefits of silent retreats abu dhabi hissah ec

Too Much Noise!

The holidays are over and the New Year celebrations have come to an end. We are going back to routines of school and work as we get ready to exit vacation mode. One thing that we have been thinking about recently with all the winter weddings and holiday sales, is just how noisy our lives are.  The constant buzzing and beeping of our phones, the loud whirr of traffic, loud TV’s and louder conversation! There is a constant stream of sound that all of us living in big cities just can’t escape.

We all need a break though, many of us don’t get it, but those who do manage to step out and break free can tell you just how beneficial and refreshing it can be. One such break that you can consider taking is something that is known as a “silent retreat”. Silent retreats offer a rare opportunity to recharge your mind, body, and spirit in a way you never thought possible in this rush-rush world we live in. Holidays used to be about leaving your busy self behind to forget the world and your problems. The new trend for silent retreats offers something even more substantial: the possibility to plunge into yourself, to escape the world by finding your inner world (Aburam, 2017)

 

Benefits of Silent Retreats

Before we delve into the benefits, let’s first better understand what a silent retreat entails. It is a designated amount of time – a few hours to a few days to a few months – in which all distractions are turned off. There is no talking, writing, reading, using electronic devices, or even eye contact. This may sound odd, but let’s look into how this cutting off can actually help us better ourselves.

  1. It silences our “monkey mind”. The monkey mind is the part of your brain most connected to the ego, which insists that you can’t do anything right. It’s also the part of you that stifles creativity and prevents you from moving forward with your passions. The monkey mind insists on being heard, and sometimes it takes a lot of self-control to shut it down. It is also the part of your brain that becomes easily distracted, so if you want to get anything done in life, your challenge will be to shut down the monkey mind (Raab, 2017). When you try not to speak, the monkey mind is automatically activated. It will swing you from thought to thought and fill your head with all kinds of things. It generally takes about 24 hours of silence for the monkey mind to start getting quieter, and for the thoughts to slow down, and once that happens you will start experiencing a peace of mind like never before.

 

  1. It gives us the opportunity to listen to our inner selves. Once the monkeys have stopped chattering away, it allows your thoughts to become clearer and gives you the ability to start focusing more on your inner self. The inner self is probably the most ignored part of our being because we don’t have the time, capacity, or space to truly self-enquire and delve into what makes us who we are. When you are not able to communicate with others, you start to “speak” to yourself. Really listening and paying attention to that inner monologue will give you amazing insight into who you are and how you feel about being who you are.

 

  1. It can work as a cure for boredom. In the world we live in now, we are entirely unable to stay away from distractions and just “do nothing”. We find it even difficult to take a short car ride, wait at the doctor’s office, or even attend a so-called social gathering without pulling out a gadget or device to fiddle with. When you are placed in a situation where you have no devices and no method of communication, you will for sure feel the boredom kick in very soon. However, soon it will allow you to focus more on your emotional state. Emotions and thoughts that you had tucked away begin to resurface and you can start to acknowledge and tackle them and work towards self-healing.

 

  1. It helps us in mindful eating. Meal times also tend to be times where the least amount of attention is paid on what we are eating, while more focus is placed on dinner table conversations, your favourite TV series you watch while you eat, or replying to work emails while you mindlessly fill your belly. Silent retreats give you that opportunity to pay attention to our food – the textures, the sounds, the taste, the colours, the mix of flavours. Your brain is given time to process the act of eating and that not only tells you with more clarity when you are full, but also aids in digestion.

 

  1. It gives our body, especially sensory organs, a rest. The amount of noise we are bombarded with on a daily basis takes its’ toll on our mental and physical health without us even realizing it. It is a form of pollution that we pay the least attention to! Being in a beautiful natural environment, focusing on breathing, eating, and inner clarity, and with the huge added on factor of zero noise, gives our bodies a break especially our vocal chords and ears!

 

  1. It works to provide some clarity in life. Overall, the main focus and outcome of a silent retreat is to gain clarity in yourself as a person, your purpose, the kind of life you want to lead, your goals, and basically – who you are! It allows you to give that time to yourself only without any other distractions.

 

Silent retreats are usually done in naturally beautiful outdoor spaces where there are minimal modern amenities and we can connect back to our human roots of surviving outdoors. If you feel like life is getting too much, if things feel too overwhelming and “loud”, we definitely recommend looking into the option of a silent retreat to help you re-center and re-focus. Wishing you all a 2020, in which you are at ease and peace and find your passion and purpose!

 

References:

Aburam, A. (2017). Amazing benefits silent retreats can bring to your life. Retrieved on January 3, 2020 from https://eluxemagazine.com/travel/benefits-of-silent-retreats/

Raab, D. (2017). Calming the monkey mind. Retrieved January 3, 2020 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/the-empowerment-diary/201709/calming-the-monkey-mind