It’s been a great couple of weeks. Total silence really did me some good. I realised how much noise I have in my life, even though I live in quite a peaceful, rural location in Crete.
Not talking or communicating in any way for ten days was fascinating. On the first day, my mind was all over the place, and I couldn’t meditate for more than a minute without following some ridiculous train of thought. But gradually, day by day, hour by hour, my mind cleared, and it became natural just to sit and experience the present moment. Well, natural for my mind – my body never quite got used to the idea 😉
It was interesting for me that the ban on reading and writing also had a positive effect in clearing my mind. Reading, after all, is filling your head with someone else’s words – more noise. And writing is an exercise in conceptualising and making intellectual constructs, whereas the emphasis in the mediation course was on developing awareness of simple lived experiences. I won’t be giving up reading or writing, or even cutting back – they are too important to my life, and have too many other benefits. But it was interesting to do without them for a while and see what happened.
There are so many other things I learned, but I don’t want to write a long post. It was a very good experience, though, and I feel better for it.
It appears, also, that I’ve been busy publishing new things since I went away. I’ve got a short story in this new anthology published by Hearst Magazines UK. I had a book review published in the latest issue of Scottish lit mag The Bottle Imp. And my novel is being promoted in Blackwell’s Oxford Alumni Bookshop. I should go meditating more often!
What’s your experience of meditation, retreats, or depriving yourself of ‘noise’? Do you like the idea of ten days of silence, or would it drive you crazy?