“Listen to the wind…”
These were the words I heard inwardly the moment I woke up on the first day of my SIT. I heard them again the second morning, too.
“Listen to the wind…” Then silence. Warm, golden silence.
I wondered at the significance of these words.
Why they would show up in my mind? This is not a typical morning first thought for me. And in fact, I’ve only heard this phrase twice, the first two mornings of my three day silence SIT retreat.
Last week, I talked about how excited I was to try out the SIT adventure of three of days of Silence. In the Master Key Master Mind Alliance we talk often of a practice called the SIT. It’s a practice taught and expanded upon in all the lessons of Charles Haanel’s Master Key. It’s an essential skill to learn when applying the lessons of the Master Key, a daily practice of 15 – 30 minutes. The Silence challenge essentially takes that practice and extends the amount of time. In my case, from 30 minutes to three days.
I’ve given myself some time to process this experience before I published this post. In the beginning, I found myself at a loss for words to give the experience justice. It was a rambling process which took me another 3 days to journal.
Surprisingly, a lot happened during three days of doing nothing. LOL
Here are seven key self discoveries from my three day Sit:
Discovery #1: Talking serves a purpose.
One of the first glitches I stumbled on was the logistics of making breakfast with my husband in the morning. There is a functional aspect to talking that we often take for granted. “Have you salted the eggs, yet?” Yes. No. “Where’s the paper I need for my appointment?” “Here it is.” I hadn’t realized how much of this we do in our daily routine. Daily, practical, taking-care-of-life, talk.
The next aspect of talking that jumped out to me was how we talk to convey affection. We have a tradition in our home where we say “Good Morning, Love” enthusiastically, every morning when we wake up. And we give each other a good long hug. I missed that when I started the silence. In fact, this is one thing I was ecstatic to speak as soon as the silence was ended. “Good Morning, Love!!!” It was awesome to be able to say that again. And gave me greater appreciation for that one small act of daily kindness.
Discovery #2: Around an hour and a half, the quality of the silence changes.
This was so consistent that I became curious about it. I discovered a bit of research into the affect of silence on our brain that I will blog about in a future post. It was fascinating to observe this. It’s as if the brain shifts into a different gear, and the silence deepens. The mind chatter completely disappears. And from some inner well, wisdom rises up. It was very still, and extraordinarily peaceful.
I started getting imagery that built up visualization for my goals and purposes. And fresh ideas related to my personal pivotal needs. At first, I just observed and thought to myself, I’ll remember this and journal on it at the end of my three days. But by the end of the first day, there were so many insights and images, I decided to jot down some highlights on a white board on my frig. It helped jog my memory when it came time to journal.
Discovery #3: The weight of anticipating the future.
For the first few hours on the first day of my SIT, I noticed that I was thinking a lot about writing this blog post. I was aware that I would be writing about my experience and I was observing my experience in anticipation of what I would write about. Eventually I realized that this anticipation of the future was interfering with my experience of the present silence. The result was that I was blocking what wanted to show up, making the experience less than authentic.
I started the process of stopping the thoughts about a potential future blog post. Then a phrase bubbled to the surface of my mind, “I am feeling the weight of anticipating the future.” This was an interesting way to phrase this, to consider how thoughts that anticipate the future carry weight, or feel like a weight to my mind. As I observed this more, I could see how this habit of trying to anticipate the future was like a ball and chain on my mind. I could feel the heaviness of this habit on my mind and in my life. I made a decision to notice more when I do this and to let go of the anticipation. And immediately practised this during the rest of the SIT. I felt that weight lift. I felt lighter.
Discovery #4: The weight of NOT doing.
One of the first thoughts I had when I started the SIT on the first day was a single word, indolent. It was a curious word to me and I made note of it to look up later for more consideration.
On the second day of the SIT, mid-afternoon. I faced an inner crises. I was feeling frustrated with NOT doing. I felt an inner pressure to want to stop the SIT and start doing, to start acting on all the ideas and insights surfacing from the SIT. The silence was not so much a challenge for me, it was the NOT doing.
I was feeling the weight of NOT doing. What surprised me was how emotional I felt when that phrase came to my mind. There was something deeper to this…?
I brought this into the SIT; the emotion connected to the statement. What ensued was an extended period of time where memories from my past surfaced and I could clearly see the thread of a pattern that extended all the way back to my pre-school years. As I stayed with this process, I gained greater and greater clarity into this pattern to the point that I could say the statement, “I feel the weight of NOT doing,” without feeling any emotional energy.
One insight indicated an inner pressure to perform, to do, to act. This related to that first word, indolent, that I got the first morning. To SIT for three days triggered an inner thought that to do nothing for three days was indolent.
The second insight came as I began to see how I have habitually chosen to hold myself back from acting on my potential because I felt I ought to do so to protect other people’s feelings. I could see when I first became aware of making that choice, and how that pattern has led me to where I am today. I released that pattern with understanding and compassion. And felt the weight of this habit lift.
I felt FREEDOM!!! Visceral Freedom!!!! Liberation …
This was a HUGE breakthrough for me. Releasing a major block preventing me from doing my one thing.
Breakthroughs allow a massive release of blocked, or pent up, energy which explains my next discovery.
Discovery #5: Feeling antsy precedes a breakthrough insight.
I almost didn’t make discovery #4. Just prior to that discovery I became so physically agitated that I nearly quit the SIT. I got up and paced. Several times.
Even my husband felt the antsy energy, and broke silence with me, slipped and started talking to me.
This was an energetically and physically uncomfortable time for me. It lasted for about an hour and a half, in the afternoon. At first I thought it was related to pent up physical energy. I skipped my morning walk with the dogs on the second day of the SIT. As the sensation of wanting to bolt, as if I was cornered, intensified, I recognized this as the inner state of oscillation.
(I’ll write a future blog post further explaining oscillation. I feel it’s important and helpful for people to understand what’s happening and why they are feeling what they are feeling, just before a breakthrough. This understanding will help you stay with the process at it’s most challenging and uncomfortable point. What follows is well worth staying with the discomfort.)
The ant-in-my-pants churning sensation of energy came from decades worth of blocked energy pressing against an inner dam (block, or double bind, thought pattern) about to be released.
Discovery #6: Sometime on Day 3, I noticed that I finally felt rested. Genuinely and deeply rested.
Within two hours of the highly intense antsy energy feelings, and the subsequent breakthrough in a SIT, I felt magnificent calmness and inner stillness.
This continued through the third day. At one point I noticed that I felt rested in a way I haven’t felt in a long time. I didn’t even realise that I had not felt rested before. An inner restlessness is often our inner self calling us to our true self. In silence, you become present to your authentic self. I’m a very peaceful person, so I was surprised to experience this deepen to the degree that it did.
When people talk about how an extended Silence feels like a mental vacation, I can relate. This how Day 3 felt, all day long.
Discovery #7: Silence retreats are a great way to regain focus if you’re spinning your wheels.
This is one of the most down-to-earth practical reasons for doing an extended SIT, taking a Silence Retreat. There isn’t a better way to reboot your focus than to step back from the noise of your daily life and do a deep listen within.
I continue to learn from the experience of this extended Sit and highly encourage anyone who feels stuck in their lives to give it a try. This three day Sit is a turning point for me, much cheaper than a fancy vacation and far more beneficial. I came out of it with a plan of action I had not considered before, and at least two major blocks to my forward momentum cleared up and gone!
It’s easy to do. Anyone can do it. You’ll gain gems of self-discovery, wisdom and insight for yourself.
Next week, I’ll give you some tips on how to set yourself up for success for your Silence Retreat.
A few days after the Silence retreat a quote showed up in my life that shows how connected we are at a deeper level and that the universe listens to us as we listen to it. Universal Wisdom.
Listening to your wind …. to your soul … to your Spirit Within. I didn’t hear this inward counsel on the third day, because by that time, I was listening …
Listen to the wind, it talks.
Listen to the silence, it speaks.
Listen to your heart, it knows.
Native American Proverb.