Silence is intimidating and hard to find in a busy, loud, and chaotic world—and this is precisely why it is necessary. Kavina T., a recent participant in our Silent Retreat and an Art of Living volunteer, recently shared her experiences and thoughts on this life-changing course.
I’ve been doing this kind of inner work since 2010. I do skincare for a living and have a very intimate relationship with my clients. When I told them I was going to do a silent retreat, they went wild. They asked, “You’re going to be silent for a week? You could choose to go anywhere, and you’re going somewhere to be silent?”
I told them, “Oh yeah!”
There’s a lot of resistance to silence. People think it’s not very much fun, and there’s also a fear that they’ll lose their freedom somehow, sometimes afraid that they’ll have to subscribe to some dogma. But I’ve found silence is a practice that brings such freedom in life.
Silence Over Shoes
At the beginning of the retreat, the instructor asked me what I’d like to gain. I said commitment. I tend to get really involved, and then I’m like, “No, I don’t want to be happy. I’m going to go do other things.” Destructive things. But there comes a point where I realize that that is not who I am and not where I want to be.
Coming back to the practice of silence reminds me that I am peaceful. I am calm. The silence of who I am is always here; it’s just that we cover it up with so much distraction, and I’m good at distraction—I like shopping. I love shoes, but this silence wins over shoes.
We are so addicted to drama and we don’t even know it. Silence reminds me of my true self.
Domestic Violence and Silence
I’m a survivor of domestic violence, so I have a lot of post-traumatic stress. It’s hard to get quiet sometimes, and a lot of emotion characterized my first experiences of silence. I had so much anger that I couldn’t express to my abuser, which was scary. It was scary to be by myself. It was scary to listen to my thoughts. It was even scary to be sad. You don’t get to be sad when you’re trying to survive. You just have to survive. But even though it was difficult, I was hooked because silence gave me a glimpse into what life could be like for me. Peaceful.
Silence gave me a glimpse into what life could be like for me. Peaceful.
Finding Stillness Amidst Chaos
The silence made me think about how busy and bold our daily lives are. How much talking there is. I got a chance to observe that, which was great. In our daily lives, we don’t see how everybody is coming at us, how bold and big their personalities are—we’re all just hitting against one another. It was nice to get quiet and observe that rather than participate in it, and to realize that it’s still possible to find stillness in a busy life. You can still hold onto the joy and expansion stillness gives you.
There’s nothing like the Art of Living, and nothing can bring you what you are looking for outside of yourself like silence can—whether it’s shopping or whatever else you do to try to cope— none of these things can give you what silence does.