The Pursuit of Silence…

Inspiration and Life Coaching, Speaking Comments Off
Copyright remains the property of the artist Toby Latham

Copyright remains the property of the artist Toby Latham

Looking down onto the snowy White Mountains while riding the ski lift in Andorra took my breath away. The feeling of peace as I climbed the mountain was something I had never felt before. There wasn’t a single sound. It was breath taking! If there is a heaven surely this is what it is like. From that moment my search began to keep that peaceful feeling within me.

For the last two years I have been really big on meditation. I dabbled a bit with it in my late twenties, and found beneficial results but never stuck with it, thinking it took up too much time when I had other things to do, like watching TV etc.

I’d heard about silent meditation retreats and wondered what it would be like. A friend showed me a video of what to expect and you could feel the tranquility ooze from the screen. This is what I had been looking for.

A year later a teacher at a yoga class I attended mentioned she visited a silent retreat every year. Now, if you see this woman you will want a little of what ever she has, she oozes peace, confidence, and constantly glows. She mentioned a type of meditation called Vipassana, which also offers a 10-day silent meditation retreat.

Vipassana, which means, “to see things as they really are”, is an ancient Buddhist technique popularized by a SN Goenka. Vipassana is about focusing your attention on sensations of the body and not reacting to them.

Meditation is not all about clearing the mind which is what a lot of people think meditation is all about, which can sound too difficult and put people off.
So off I went for a 10 day silent retreat in Herefordshire. No contact with the outside world is allowed, so no phones, emails, reading or writing just 12 hours of meditation a day. I arrived late but just in time to speak with my roommate a woman called Carolyn Faulkner the Astrologer, www.carolynefaulkner.co.uk

From the moment we started talking we got on like a house on fire, we had 30 minutes of talk time before the silence began and we would start our typical day.
I lay out my bedding, which I brought from home, and realized that Carolyne and I had brought the same bedding, which read the words…”LOVE”.

Not only were we the same age and both worked in TV we had the same bedding how bizarre, as roommates are picked at random we later found out.

This was a typical day:

4.00 am Morning wake up gong
4.30 am Meditation
6.30 am Breakfast
8.00 am Meditation
11.00 am lunch
1.00 pm Meditation
5.00 pm Tea, which you are allowed two pieces of fruit, or if you have attended before you drink only lemon water.

More meditation till 9pm and in between you are encouraged by Goenka via the big screen to “Work hard and accept the sensations as they arise, without attachment or craving”.

I actually thought I would find not talking difficult maybe even frustrating and I actually found it a breeze. With silence I found I could really see what I spent time thinking about and how much junk actually passed through my mind. What I should have said to so and so when they said whatever ten years ago, and if I see them again I’ll say this… (You get the picture) If you believe in thoughts that create your experiences I was in for a load of doom the way that day carried on

I also found myself looking for ways to be more helpful to others. It was simple things like making sure the teapot had hot water in it ready for the next person or leaving the serving spoon handle in a position so the person behind you could take it with ease. You actually had time to think, really take a look at yourself how your actions helped or affected others.

I have to be honest, I did find myself dancing in the toilet cubicle to the Diana Ross classic “I’m coming out” it sounded fantastic sung in my head. I felt blessed to give myself 10 days of pure personal development with no contact with the outside world.

Usually being self-employed especially in the acting world having your phone switched off is a NO NO. What if Spielberg calls your agent and wants you for a last minute casting and you’re not around?

That is when I knew I had changed; my happiness was no longer centered on getting more acting or speaking gigs. My happiness came deep within. The fear had gone. I knew my worth and it definitely didn’t come from whatever six figure sum I can turn over or whatever TV credits my name is/or will be on.

The fact that HAPPINESS IS A STATE OF MIND and can be created without any of that has been the greatest gift I have received.

Meditation is not about clearing your mind, seeing white lights or traveling to another plane. It’s about peace, a time to connect with yourself, your true self. Read, The 10 second philosophy
www.derek-mills.com

There are many different types of meditation so I suggest you give them a try and see what sits right with you. If you are interested in the retreat I attended have a look at www.dipa.dhamma.org

I have to say Meditation has been life changing for me in many ways and if you have not tried it give it a go.

In the spirit of Vipassana…HAPPINESS TO ALL BEINGS XX