Recently we went away on a retreat. We have been before and I love it. But it can be a bit of a shock to the system. It requires you to stop, suddenly. There are no distractions, nothing you have to do, nowhere else to be, no list of jobs that jostle for your attention, no mobile phone, no internet, no distractions, nothing………… how does that make you feel?
For some, reading that, it might sound lovely, whilst for others it may sound a challenge, maybe almost frightening. Just to be alone with your thoughts is a struggle for some. I know friends who turn the TV on as soon as they get home as otherwise they find it too quiet. Some people may have never spent time on their own, been in their house alone or even been in a room on their own. Aloneness and quiet may be alien and unwelcome. It seems that everywhere you go now there is music playing, whether it is the supermarket or out for a meal. Why can’t we just enjoy the silence, it seems almost as if we are not allowed to be quiet. Walking down the street you see people on mobile phones or with headphones listening to music, not really present in their circumstances
But even in the quiet of the retreat, it is never completely silent. I noticed the wind in the trees, birds singing, the hum of insects, the noise of farm machinery in the distance. It makes you aware of how much noise you make yourself and how you crave conversation. But it is possible to shut everything out and let the world turn without you, at least for a while. The couple who live there are lovely and so welcoming. I feel privileged that they allow us to share their space with them. They have a dog, a retired greyhound and even she is silent, never barking or making a fuss.
If the idea of sitting quietly for even a few minutes is new to you, why not try it. You might like it!