My mate said, ‘It’s the best thing I’ve ever done’, and I was sold. I was going to spend 10 days in complete silence on a Vipassana retreat.
Despite having meditated just twice in my life.
I knew I’d made the right choice a few weeks later when I saw a documentary about the impact a Vipassana retreat had had on a group of maximum security prisoners.
If a Vipassana retreat could have such a profound impact on them, imagine what it could do for me.
And it didn’t disappoint.
It changed my life.
The Vipassana Retreat
I was in.
But I hadn’t actually checked to see what I was ‘in’ for.
So when I looked at the course schedule a week before I was a bit shocked…
Meditating for 10 hours a day.
No books or TV.
No pen or paper.
No communication with anyone.
Just me and my mind.
For 10 days.
The Challenge of 10 Days in Silence
And to make it even harder I was in the middle of a 3-month mental breakdown filled with panic attacks, anxiety and depression.
Due to high-levels of stress from a toxic work environment and being strung out from burning the candle at both ends.
Oh…and I had a mind filled with problems…
A mind filled with insecurity, fear, anxiety and self-doubt.
Failures and fuck ups.
And a boat load of negative emotions.
Including guilt and shame for the things I wish I’d done differently.
Basically all the shit you REALLY don’t want to face at the best of times, let alone when you’re going through a battle with anxiety and depression.
But despite my mental health issues.
Despite being a novice meditator.
My mate’s words were ringing in my ears.
‘It’s the best thing I’ve ever done’.
So I set my intention, ‘This is going to be the best thing I’VE ever done’.
The Best Thing I’ve Ever Done
It was, and still is, THE BEST THING I’ve ever done because it changed my life.
Because despite the seemingly bleak picture I’ve painted, it wasn’t all doom and gloom.
Far from it.
There were numerous moments of pure joy and happiness.
Times where I felt so at peace and at ease with myself, it was like I was floating from one moment to the next.
Moments where it felt like someone had given me a new pair of eyes to see the world.
But what became incredibly clear was how uncomfortable I felt in my own skin.
How disconnected from myself I’d become and how deeply insecure and unhappy I was. All of which I had become quite adept at masking from both myself and others.
Digging Out the Shit Stuff
I had been burying all my negative thoughts, emotions and experiences deep down.
Out of sight.
Out of mind.
But over the course of 10 days I got to see inside myself.
I got to see all the shit that lay buried beneath the surface.
And as the days went on I began to perform a deep surgical operation on my mind that would begin to root out my negative-thoughts, emotions and experiences that I’d stuffed away.
Some of the hardest operations I faced were during the sessions called ‘strong determination‘. Sessions Where you sit perfectly still for an hour, not even moving to scratch an itch or open your mouth.
And it would feel easy for a while, but then the discomfort starts and it slowly begins to grow into a discomfort that feels like your body is telling you to move.
A discomfort that gets so intense as the minutes roll by it’s as if someone is standing by your ear screaming into a megaphone…
Your mind and body are now screaming at you to quit.
To run away.
To sack this shit off and go home.
But if you can find the inner strength to watch.
To sit there perfectly still.
Watching story after story from your life play out like a movie in your mind, while you experience an immense amount of pain both physical and emotional.
You notice that the experience begins to change.
The intensity subsides and the pain you’re feeling begins to dissipate.
And you begin to unburden yourself of the baggage you’ve been carrying round for months.
And through this letting go you find a sense of peace because you’re rooting out your painful memories, stories and emotions that have been locked up inside.
The negative self-talk.
The shame and guilt.
The failures and fuck ups.
But if you can get through these moments of what feels like mental torture it’s like getting a new pair of glasses.
A pair of glasses that gives you the ability to see your life with a new perspective.
One of the most powerful lessons from doing this inner work is that embracing your pain can ultimately lead to freedom and inner peace.
But it takes courage.
And when you are courageous you are rewarded with an experience and a practice that can fundamentally change your life.
These 10 days CHANGED MY LIFE.
Meditation CHANGED MY LIFE.
And I believe it can change yours too.
How 10 Days in Silence Changed My Life
These 10 days catapulted me into a journey of self-healing and self-discovery.
Because meditation taught me the skills to process my grief and to work through anxiety, depression and panic attacks.
As well as teaching me how to manage my emotions, cope with stress during a high-pressured career and to support myself through a relationship breakdown.
And as well as helping me learn how to deal with the shit stuff that life throws at you, meditation has been an been incredible tool in helping me to build self-discipline, self-love and self-confidence.
As a result I’ve taken charge of my mental, physical and emotional health.
And subsequently I’ve become a qualified meditation and yin yoga teacher under the tutelage of world-renowned teachers.
As well as immersing myself in self-development content.
This 10 day journey sparked an inner transformation that created a better version of me and a better life.
Changing Your Life
This journey of self-development, self-healing and self-discovery is my passion.
And as part of that development I want to share the knowledge, tools and ideas I’ve picked up on my journey so you too can create the best version of you.
I love learning, but more importantly I love sharing what I learn so I can help others to grow too.
So I can help you transform your life too.