This is a silent retreat.


Someone always breaks the silence.


This isn't a subdued retreat. It's not even a quiet retreat. It's a silent retreat. Which means no noise. At all.


Silence allow attendees to concentrate on what they are doing with minimal outside distractions.


It assists people in doing what they have come to the retreat to do.


It's an important and integral part of the retreat experience that makes the retreat different from any of part of daily life.


It will be pointed out that many people wait a long time to come to one of these retreats and travel thousands of miles and spend large amounts of money to partake in this very special experience.


There might be reminders aimed at certain people made before mealtimes, or people might be spoken to individually if they are becoming a nuisance.


People will be told that dropping cushions to the floor makes a noise, and that might disturb someone at an important stage of concentration in their meditation, which might be inconsiderate. But keys will be rattled, tunes will be hummed, and people will whisper and giggle. Sometimes in a way that tries to avoid being heard by others, but often in an inconsiderate way.


To experience true silence for nearly 11 days is a very special and beautiful experience. To be aware only of the sound of your breath, the beat of your heart, the birds singing in the trees and the sound of the rain on the roof is not something that mere words can communicate.


The acceptance of people as they are is an important thing, and there will be morning noises at wake-up, doors will bang shut, water bottles will be dropped and there will be wonderful spontaneous fits of the giggles that people often get into on these retreats.


People are people and, generally, they are not used to being silent.


Being silent and developing mindfulness is a way of being aware of how your actions affect others.


It takes many people to make silence. It only takes one to break it. For the sake of the others on the retreat and for yourself, you are implored to try to be completely silent.


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