Now, a year ago, almost a year ago this month, I enjoyed a 12-day silent meditation retreat. It was advertised as 10 days, but as it turns out, it certainly wasn’t. It was actually 12. When I say silent, I’m not just talking about people sitting down not talking to each other.
There was actually a way of what’s called noble silence. What this was is, we got to the retreat center and after you went through the orientation, you were not only no longer allowed to speak to somebody, but you weren’t actually going to communicate in any way. There were no hand gestures, no eye contact, nothing along those lines. In fact, you couldn’t even escort someone or open the door for them. The idea is that you were to be in this environment as if you were a monk, alone. Really an interesting concept. So, that also meant no cell phones, no audio, no music, no books, no paper, no journal, nothing, just you and your thoughts.
What happened was is, you’d get up around four in the morning and you would meditate. You would meditate in this zen-like state, and they teach you through this, until 8 pm at night, and then you’d go through a little bit of a course in a group meditation and you would retire at 10 pm, and it would be lights out. You repeat this over and over again.
Obviously, you’re living a very spartan lifestyle. There are cots. There are bunks where you’re in the room with other men, at least men and women are separated, so in my case, I’m in this bunkhouse if you can imagine with other men. It’s cold and it’s dreary and of course, you’re getting up early and you’re staying up late, and all you’re doing is meditating. Even in this group setting, you can’t look at each other, talk, or communicate in any way. You can’t say, “Oh, I’m sorry I left my shoes by your door,” or “I tracked in dirt,” or “I’m sorry I bumped into you.” Those types of communications just don’t happen.
What I learned from this was the ability to enjoy the silence. I learned that I actually like myself. In fact, I love myself. Now, sure, we all think this, right? But how often are you actually spending time with yourself? How often are you actually spending time with you, getting to know your inner thoughts and who you really are? I thought I had this all done until I actually did the silent meditation retreat.
The one I chose to do is called Vipassana. It’s actually free. It’s based on donations. You can do it all over the world. In fact, I highly recommend it for some people. I don’t recommend it for everybody, but what I do recommend is taking time out in silence. So, here’s what my offer is to you, or my thought and what I hope that you’ll practice yourself. Schedule a day, a day in your calendar where you have nothing but noble silence. That means you’re not reading. You’re not journaling. You’re not exercising or running around or backpacking in the woods. You’re simply sitting in silence. No communication, not with anybody else but completely you, from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed, zero silence.
Put your cell phone away. Let everybody know that you’re doing this, your family, those that depend on you. Let them know that you are taking one day to yourself for noble silence. I think you’re going to get a lot out of this. During this noble silence, of course, you can practice the meditation of your choice, and that’s what I’d recommend. You could also come up with a mantra or maybe there’s a big life question that you’re pondering, and just think about it.
Obviously, in the meditative state, depending on what you’re doing, you’re going to have time, but your subconscious mind is going to be working all the time to answer this question or to help you out with thoughts. Ten days or twelve days, big difference from one, but all I’m going to ask you is just to take one day. Out of the 365 days that you’re given this year, one day to sit in noble silence and be with yourself.
After you do it, the next day, that’s when you journal and that’s when the magic happens. New ideas come out. It’s a new refreshing way to see the world and I highly recommend it to you. In fact, one of our Author of Your Story regular listeners, David Ratchford, is going to his third Vipassana right here this week, and we’re very proud of him. So, David, good luck. Have a great time. It’s definitely a tough experience. If you haven’t done it, like I said, I don’t recommend it for everybody, because it is very difficult.
In fact, there was one person that was in my group that said it was the most difficult thing he did. In fact, he was in solitary confinement, in prison, for a month, and he said he’d rather do that than do this again. That’s how tough it is because you’re in your own thoughts, you’re in your own head, there’s so much to be let loose of the motions but you can’t do it and you can’t exercise. But if you’re looking for a challenge, and a way to better understand yourself, Vipassana or another silent meditation retreat might be good for you. For right now, for those Author of Your Own Story listeners, I’m just going to challenge you to take one day, one day of noble silence and see what comes from you.
That’s it for me today. As always, if you want tips, tricks, and techniques delivered right to your Inbox, go to authorofyourownstory.com. And we’re opening up a second segment of the Author of Your Own Story University, starting February 1st. Make sure you get on that wait list because, like last time, it fills up quickly, and I want you to get a seat. At the Author of Your Own Story University, we take this culmination of knowledge and put it into a systematic format so you can learn, learn from the experiences of others, and learn as we continue to grow. We’re always reading books, hiring coaches, and continuing to grow, and we’d like to pass that knowledge off to you in a way that you can really digest and at an extremely low price point for you. So, go ahead and get on that right away. If you’re somebody looking at taking your game to the next level, in 2018 and beyond.
That’s it for me today. Go out and inspire someone by being the Author of Your Own Story.
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