All-Consuming SilenceAug 14, 2023
A few months ago, we remodeled Ananda LA’s desert retreat home in 29 Palms. If you’ve ever visited the desert, you’re probably familiar with, what can only be described as, the all-consuming silence. The moment you step out of the car, it’s like someone hit the mute button on the world.
Many people experience an immediate sigh of relief from the city noise or the busyness of life. Alas, no honking! But for some, it can be an entirely new and unnerving experience.
Throughout the remodel, it was interesting to observe how different people who were working on the home reacted to staying in silence for long stretches at a time. Most were eager to leave, never quite acknowledging the silence, while a few mentioned that they enjoyed the peace away from the noise.
Our experience of silence can be colored with both of these feelings, and everything in between. But, if it’s so uncomfortable, why do yogis do it? Are there more benefits to silence than just some immediate relief from the noise?
Here are some reasons why you might consider hitting the mute button on the world for a few days:
1. Get Unstuck
Have you ever watched a friend stuck in a rut and you can more easily see a solution (or at least the first step) because you’re not involved? Taking extended periods of silence, especially in a different environment, helps us untie the emotional knots that don’t allow us to see ourselves, and our lives. When all of our emotions and the noise have settled, suddenly we realize that the solutions to life’s daily challenges were right in front of us all along (and they were probably quite simple). We just needed to quiet the heart and mind to hear them.
2. Release Emotional Baggage
Just like some of the workers in the desert remodel, you might start to feel a little restless. At first, you may have no idea why. But, if you stick it through (and practice some of the techniques you’ll learn in the silent retreat, for example), you’ll realize it’s just stuck energy trying to move through the body. It’s like clearing out old clothes (fears/limitations/beliefs) that no longer fit and making room for a new wardrobe. However, we may have held onto a pair of old jeans for so long that it can feel a little sad or scary to let go. But, as many yogis will assure you, you’ll feel great in the new pants! You just have to stay the course.
3. Get Truly Nourished
We spend most of our lives trying to feel nourished by artificial means. We try sleep hacks, organic food, vitamins, vacations, etc. But nothing truly nourishes the soul like deep meditation. As we pierce through the layers of the mind and heart, in silence, we reconnect with an infinite source of energy, joy, and love. It’s much like a cleansing shower after a long day, or getting the body battery charged back to 100% just from one moment of true contact with our divinity.
Paramhansa Yogananda said, "Remember the best shelter is in the silence of your soul, and if you can develop that silence nothing in the world can touch you ..."!
We invite you to explore the depths of your own being at our first guided silent retreat this month. Click here to explore.