Silence and Solitude – the Ying to life’s yang of chaos and adversity
Why do I choose to go to the middle of nowhere for one week every year?
My annual road trip takes me passed Colesberg to a Silent Zen Retreat. -7 degrees in the morning, rustic accommodation, 6-7 hours of daily meditation, self-catering in the most spartan conditions… I come back reset and ready for the rest of the year. My reasons for going are very simple: I remember who I am, what compassion is, find peace within myself, what I am. The silence and solitude soothes my introversion, rebuilds my tolerance for civilization’s noise and helps me being in the now.
But this is not for the faint hearted. The hours of meditation forces one to look into the darkest corners of one’s being – the good, the bad, and the ugly. It amplifies past hurts, brings on the grievings that may have been suppressed. But it also turns on joy, the appreciation of the smallest things, the wonder and beauty of nature. Even in the middle of nowhere.
I choose this journey yearly to become kinder, less judgmental, and more compassionate again, well, at least for a week or so after the retreat. Then the challenges of load shedding, traffic, unkindnesses and life happens once more. But even so, it is exactly that which defines my experience. How to hold on to the centre when chaos erupts.
That lesson for compassion for self and others, which are life buoying changes…that I cling to.
And that is enough.