So this is an area we have always found interesting. I was aware that Buddhist seem to live a calm and peaceful life leaving a lighter touch on the earth and seeking enlightenment, but that was about it. This is what brought our attention to the retreat the fact it was in silence was also interesting and I knew this would be a challenge for me since I am very vocal.
By the time it started we still didn’t know what to expect except that we will be practising six times a day, but practising what was still unclear. I had so many questions, but stupidly forgot to ask them before the silence started.
It started and everyone suddenly became separate and inward. I found this challenging since I enjoy the company of others hence my craving for community (#batala) not solitude on our return home. This did give me time and space to think on a few points within my life that have been troubling and l now feel clarity and the strength to tackle them in the future.
As far as Buddhism goes I feel this is not a religion I will be converting to as even the dahi lama himself agrees you should follow your own traditional religion. Plus if I was to follow a religion it would be a happy clapping, singing and energetic one. I am not on for being still for that long it just doesn’t seem to do me, my body or my mind any good.
All of the people we attended the retreat with were kind compassionate human beings that I feel privileged to engaged with even in silent surroundings.
The silent part is very interesting as I do fill my time with meaningless and often negative chatter. This is an area I will work on in an attempted to only speak positively. Negative words have such a lasting effect on the humans you inflict them upon so it is everyones responsibility to be thoughtful when speaking in order aid the happiness of others.
Ultimately don’t we all just want to feel lasting happiness free from suffering and so helping others to reach that state is surely ‘our’ life’s aim.
We did feel that the retreat was aimed a bit high for us complete novices as there was little in the was of teaching or explanation at times and although we didn’t last the full 5 days the process was extremely thought provoking and ultimately positive.
In future we would look to go on a retreat with more teaching sessions and not share a tent or cook for ourselves as this made the silence element even more difficult then it already is. Overall though we would highly recommend doing something like this as what you learn about yourself might just change you life’s path forever!
NB: the Mahamudra Centre is a very welcoming and extremely peaceful place and they welcome travellers to stop by for a cuppa of camping so if your heading through Colville in the Coromandel definitely make the time to stop and rest there!