When you hear the phrase “silent meditation”, what comes to mind? Is it a picture of an Indian monk sitting silently atop a mountain with nothing but the sound of a flowing creek nearby? If so, you aren’t far off. Silent meditation, more formally known as Vipassana, which translates to “see things the way they are,” is an ancient meditation technique originating in India. Some believe silent meditation is the singular best way to achieve true Zen and otherworldly enlightenment. Others see it simply as a way to connect with their inner self and reach a state of peace, relaxation and confidence. Perhaps, you are wondering if it’s even worth trying in the first place. Well, only you can answer that question. However, read on to learn more about this interesting, ancient practice so you can make an educated decision:
Silent Meditation Retreats
While you can practice silent meditation on your own, in the comfort of home in your favorite meditation pants, some people take part in a silent meditation retreat to learn the practice. These retreats immerse participants and can even be considered somewhat intense. These retreats, which are found all over the world, from California to the Ardennes, teach you how to meditate silently and use it to connect with your inner thoughts. Psychologists have found that traditional meditation retreats are largely effective at reducing stress, anxiety and depression and improve participants’ quality of life overall. Thankfully, you can take these principles back home into your own private practice to continue perfecting the art of silence.
Silent Meditation at Home: Can it be Done?
Yes, thankfully, you can practice silent meditation at home, not in a retreat setting. After all, not everyone can afford such a luxurious getaway. You can create your own silent meditation at home. First, determine how long your at home retreat should last. Obviously, you have to balance the feasibility of your “retreat” and the effect you want to achieve of deep relaxation. Your personal schedule preferences will differ from anyone else's. While traditional retreats might have a weeklong schedule and feature hours of silent meditation sessions, including group meditations, only breaking for meals, you probably can’t do that at home realistically. Instead, opt for silent meditation for around 20-30 minutes a day for a week or two. Perhaps, you can even move that up to a few hours in one day. The idea is to create the space to just be silent, to let go of all the concerns that take your thoughts captive and to release yourself into a peaceful state.
Is Silent Meditation Even Worth it?
So, you might ask yourself, is this silent meditation thing even worth doing? Well, yes, according to many who have experienced it first-hand, silent meditation works to help you become more patient, learn to hear your own voice, develop superior coping techniques, gain confidence and discover ways to overcome challenges. Let’s face it, being silent in this activity-obsessed society isn’t always easy. However, at least in the opinion of those who have been there and done that, practicing silent meditation is worthwhile. Therefore, along with comfortable yoga pants, silent meditation is another way to take your current yoga practice up a notch and reach another level of Zen.