When I boarded the van that late afternoon, little did I know what to expect from this journey.
“Will I be a different person next week?” I asked myself, wondering, during an hour and half trip from Sanur. When the car turned left onto a steep hill in the middle of a bamboo forest, I knew that the journey was just about to begin.
There were not many conversations happening among nine of us who shared the ride. Everyone seemed to contemplate, occupied with their own baggage.
Samadhiyukti was the name of this compound, situated on top of an islet right in the middle of an ancient forest where the ruins of a temple added the eerie feelings on top of our anxiety. Geographically speaking, that’s where the Forest Island nickname came from.
After ground rule briefing was made, all electronic devices, books, pen and all daily attachment items had to be sealed in a big envelope and checked-in to the host. While we were saying goodbye to our phones and normal life, the seven-day noble silence was officially commenced.
The rest was silence.
The ritual started at 4:30am with a 45-mins meditation followed by etheric exercise and fruit breakfast. Meditation with strong determination, lightening talks and exercises were performed throughout the day. The activities concluded approximately every 9:30pm for the whole week.
Prevented from talking to anybody, we were trained to observe inward. I start questioning fundamental things about my presence, my life and its relevance to the world.
At times, my mind was wandering back in time. I replayed my childhood moments when I was 3, a beach trip with my father during a school break, conflicts and disappointments, setback, joy and bliss twisted all in one stellar flashback, all the journey that shaped who I am today.
“Recalling those moments triggered reactions to your body”, my guru said. “Observe it. And when bad reactions happen, let it go. Feel the impermanence, feel the ‘anica’ moment”. He added.
We learn to let go. Knowing that nothing is permanent. Even the universe is evolving. That we are ageing and someday will die and decompose. Awareness that nurture wisdom.
When the bell rang for an afternoon break, I sat on a stone bench under a giant Bodhi tree. I never feel so close to myself like this. The moment where I stop blaming things that didn’t work out. And instead, I embraced myself and whispered that everything’s in the order of the universe. All is well.
When speaking was not allowed, I could only wonder: what’s in the mind of everyone else. There must be a battle to conquer, a storm to be tamed.
I came to this place not knowing that the magnitude of that battle could be so severe for some. But the discipline and resilience we built for ourselves during this training seemed to pay off.
At the conclusion of this noble silence, we shared what we have experienced during the week. And everyone agreed that it was a life changing experience. We were different.
Breathing exercise for three days in a row have trained our concentration. Breathing in breathing out, feeling the texture and characteristic of our metabolism. The training that opened up awareness that at times we took too much from what we supposed to have, hogging too tight of what we supposed to let go.
Going back to the real battle of daily lives, I returned with a better sense of awareness that every human being has their own struggle and mission that we might not be able to comprehend. Therefore, blessing them and sending lots of loving kindness to the world will never fail, because we are one and connected.
Let’s walk together. May all beings be happy.