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  • Writer's pictureMaiju Vohlonen

"What is so scary about silence?"

My own experience of my first silent retreat was comical to say the least, because I didn't even realize there was anything to be afraid of because I didn't know I was on my way to one. For many, this would certainly not have been possible, but for me, it was - I hadn't had the patience to read the full retreat description properly, and the retreat was not only a hiking retreat, but a SILENT hiking retreat, where six days were spent in complete silence, excluding the speeches of the retreat instructor.

For many of us, the idea of ​​silence for several days can seem scary, and for others, it may even feel completely impossible. If we don't regularly spend longer periods of time alone with ourselves in everyday life, iti simply new for us - and new is always unknown and therefore exciting in itself. Endless "what if" questions may come to mind; what if I can't stand my own thoughts, what if I want to escape my own feelings, what if I get bored, what if I need to get away, what if I feel lonely, what if the things I've managed to avoid in everyday life come to the other words, what if I can't stand being with myself? These are fears and in themselves understandable - we often project the most diverse horror scenarios onto the unknown. By looking and facing our fear, our fear often diminishes and sometimes pops up in the air in an instant, like a soap bubble and we wonder what the hell we were really afraid of – it is excaltly what I had unconsciously yearned for.

At a silent retreat, most of us encounter something uncomfortable during the days. While silence can be relaxing for nervous system and socially relieving, most of us also carry within us material that we have not encountered in our own everyday life; pent-up feelings, bypassed needs, unmourned sorrows or uncomfortable truths that we have not wanted to look at in our lives. This material makes itself known when given space. By facing our feelings, we free ourselves from their burden and hear their wise message, on the basis of which we can make better choices for ourselves in the moment. By hearing our own thoughts, we can be surprised by what we actually think about our life or ourselves. Completely new ideas for our lives also arise in silence and healthy boredom. Avoiding solitude and this material may seem like an easier solution in the short term, but in the longer term, when we close our eyes and ears to our inner messages, we end up deeper in places and spaces in our lives that are not good for us or that we don't want.

We are created to feel all of our feelings and the fear of facing our own feelings, i.e. ourselves, is from an intellectually perspective perhaps the craziest thing we can fear - but still so human. Some wise person said that "the only thing that a person fears in his life is ultimately his own feelings, because experientially, what is our whole life but our own emotional experience...". If we weren't afraid of our emotions, what else would there be to fear in life?

Join us for a 4 or 6 day Silent Digital Detox Retreat in July or August 2024, read more: The retreats include a daily possibility for sharing in peer circle or in 1-to-1 talks.

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