In 2008 I decided to go on a trip from New Delhi to South India and met on a flight a wonderful woman called Roshni.
She was sitting next to me on the plane and we were chatting all the way until we landed.
We were both traveling by ourselves just our backpacks and us and had a lot of fun talking about our lives, goals and our future visions.
I didn’t know back then that our conversation would shape my life forever.
She was on her way to a yoga retreat and we kept in touch via social media long after we met on the plane.
2 years later we were chatting with each other over Facebook about meditation and she told me about a technique I should try.
10 months later I did!
It was a 10 days silent meditation retreat in New Zealand and it changed my life forever for the better.
While I was into personal development at that time for 10 years already, practiced yoga, loved listening to monks on youtube, read the power of now, sang along to mantras and practiced progressive muscle relaxation after Jacobson, I had never experienced anything close to that before.
Ever since I’ve done 2 more 10-day silent retreats so in total I’ve been in silence for 30 days meditating.
In this post, I want to share with you 9 insights I gained through my 30 days in silent meditation.
I also want to give a warning that these retreats are no wellness retreats at all and not suitable for everyone.
This is not suitable for people who are suffering from depression, have any kind of traumas or any type of addictions.
You live like a monk for 10days without any contact to the outside world in total silence. It’s basically just you and your thoughts.
TABLE OF CONTENT
- We have the power over our minds
- We have everything within us
- Awareness is the greatest gift we have in life
- Nature = Love + Peace
- We influence how we think
- We have the power to make anything happen
- Success starts in our heads
- We have all the answers within us
- We are our worst enemies
1. WE HAVE THE POWER OVER OUR MINDS
One profound realization I had during the silent meditation retreat was that we have the power over our own minds.
I realized that I can decide what I think and my thoughts ultimately influence how I feel.
According to the saying where focus goes, energy flows.
It’s up to us whether we’re focusing on grateful, bright, happy thoughts or on destructive, sad things.
The way I think will determine how I see the world around me and how I perceive the circumstances currently I’m in.
And while we have around 60.000 mostly uncontrolled thoughts popping up in our heads each day I can decide whether I accept the thought or replace it with something else.
Not only can I choose any thought over another and influence with this action how I feel, but so can you do it as well.
When you start paying attention to your thoughts you can decide which thoughts you want to keep thinking and which ones you want to replace.
This alone will ultimately have an effect on your overall well-being.
2. WE HAVE EVERYTHING WITHIN US
Another deep realization I had while being in silence for so many days is that we have all the emotions within us.
Joy, sadness, anger, fear, excitement, shame, guilt, happiness, trust and love.
We do not need anyone or anything to make us feel guilty, happy, ashamed, loved, angry, joyful or excited.
These emotions are deep within us and we can tap into them anytime we want to.
One day while I was sitting in silence I suddenly had a tight feeling around my neck.
Almost as if someone would choke me. Instantly I had thoughts popping up in my head of someone attacking and choking me.
Of course, no one did that, in reality, I was sitting there with my eyes closed and these were just my thoughts about the sensations I felt in my body at that moment.
What it did though was that these sensations triggered negative thoughts within me which immediately released the feeling of fear.
Another time I had sensations which felt like some sort of magic electric current running through my entire body which felt like pure love, deep peace and bliss all at once.
It was truly mindblowing.
In both situations, I was just sitting there with my eye closed.
It was all an internal game and had nothing to do with what’s going on at the outside.
3. AWARENESS IS THE GREATEST GIFT WE HAVE IN LIFE
Being aware of what’s going on around us and being able to be present at the moment is the greatest gift we have in life.
However rarely anyone of us (myself included) is truly engaging with being present at the moment.
Most of the times we are more focused on thinking about our pasts or about our future.
But what life is really all about is being aware of our thoughts, feelings, actions and honoring the present moment we are in right now.
Because we can’t change our past and can’t shape our future all we can do is to take action right now.
A great book to get started with practicing being present is the power of now by Eckhart Tolle.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in this. It was the book I read before I went on my first retreat and helped me a lot to understand what’s going on within us.
4. NATURE = LOVE + PEACE
Now I’m certainly not talking about the earthquakes and tsunamis here although these things are part of nature as well.
What I mean by nature = love + peace is that just by being in nature we can experience the love and peace within us and around us in full scope.
- Have you ever played with the morning dew on a blade of grass?
- Or watched the water drops running down the stones in a little creek?
It seems like nothing special but can be truly soothing and relaxing for your body, mind, and soul.
We should more often step back from our busy lives and enjoy the little things in nature.
Even more, I think we should care for it and honor it for what it is = the basis for our lives.
5. WE INFLUENCE HOW WE THINK
We influence how we think by the information we feed our mind with.
While I loved to watch horror movies and dramas in the past and never missed the news on the tv today it’s completely different.
I don’t own a tv, never watch the news, avoid negative people and pay attention to what I feed my mind with.
I know that my thoughts influence my feelings.
So why on earth would I want to generate negative feelings within myself on purpose?
It doesn’t make sense to me anymore.
I don’t mean to seal off yourself from reality but more to pay attention to what you want to feed your mind with.
While I still live in a big city and see all sorts of things happening around me which includes also negative things, today I’m more aware of what information I feed my mind with.
Whenever I see or hear something negative happening I’m more focused on the solution than indulging in the problem.
6. WE HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE ANYTHING HAPPEN
Whether you acknowledge it or not our mind is our asset.
It’s worth investing in it and cultivating it like a beautiful garden.
Whenever we want to we can make a thought check and either strengthen the thoughts which move us towards our goals or replace hindering thoughts instantly.
Just with the power of your thoughts, you can tap into alignment with your long term goals and visions.
No animal on this planet has the ability to do so.
We are the only ones with the capability to plan with our mind and to think about what we want.
7. SUCCESS STARTS IN OUR HEADS
Whether we reach our goals or not it all starts with the thoughts we are thinking about ourselves and our abilities to make it happen.
You will never reach your goal if you are constantly thinking negative thoughts about your circumstances, yourself and about your actions.
Being successful starts in our heads.
How we think, plan and act to make our vision come true.
8. WE HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS WITHIN US
While in the past I was constantly looking for answers outside of myself, in the last 10 days of my 30 days in silence I realized that I have all the answers within myself always.
I remember going into the retreat totally confused about the fact whether I should accept the job offer in a trend agency in Paris or not.
While I dreamed and worked for this opportunity for years to come once it was there I wasn’t sure about it whether I should do it or not.
After quietening my mind I was able to hear the answer very clearly.
It was a clear no.
Since then I know whenever I need an answer all I have to do is to quiet my mind to hear it.
Try it out for yourself!
Whenever you feel confused and are looking for answers, switch off the outside noise and tune in and connect with your inner wisdom.
You have all the answers you need within yourself.
9. WE ARE OUR WORST ENEMIES
Did you know that limiting beliefs are just negative thoughts we kept on thinking about ourselves over and over again?
For so long that the thoughts turned into beliefs about our selves and about our abilities.
Sometimes it’s this very limiting belief holding us back from unfolding our true potential and from reaching our goals.
What if I tell you that by not giving up this limiting belief you are the one holding yourself back from creating the life you want.
Besides limiting beliefs we also like to beat ourselves up for our past mistakes.
In both cases sometimes we are our worst enemies.
Acknowledging the fact that you can take your past mistake and use it as a lesson for creating good things in the world is an option as well.
You don’t have to limit yourself or beat yourself up for your past mistakes. It’s your choice.
All tools I recommend and mention in this post at a glance:
- The power of now is an amazing book I recommend to anyone who is interested in learning how to be more present at the moment.
- Deva Premal & Miten in concert is a Cd packed with beautiful mantras sang by Deva Premal.
- Progressive muscle relaxation after Jacobson is the technique you can use on a daily basis to destress and to relax your body and mind after work or after a stressful day.
Are you interested in meditation but don’t know how to get started?
Check out the meditation for beginners’ course by Giovanni from Live and Dare.
I tried this course myself and can recommend it to anyone who is new to meditation.
Giovanni makes it super simple to establish a meditation practice.
All you need is just 5 minutes per day to get started.
You can do it!