a picture I took of a warning sign that say in French "silence zone"credits

Life is too short – my silent retreat experience

27 Feb 2014
14 Oct 2020
3 minutes

I’m always thinking, always: this brain of mine never turns off. I’m thinking about blog posts, new projects, work… I can shut it down only when I’m sleeping, when I’m drunk or when I watch a movie. Even in those cases, as soon as it’s done, I’m back at the thinking process. It’s exhausting, so I was looking to start doing meditation, but the first step for me was to see if I was able to live with myself.

I like people and I love to talk. Maybe too much, so I wanted to see if I was able to live with myself at least for a full weekend. Last summer, I found an abbey, rent a room, and participate in a silent retreat (I also went totally offline). Of course, people who know me never thought it was possible, but I did it. It was a good opportunity to relax. The experience was special, but I discover one thing: I’m way more stress than I thought!

I started the evening of Friday trying to empty my head: I listed everything I had in mind from blog post ideas to broken stuff I had to repair when back at home. I continued this process until I wasn’t able to write anything: I think I wrote more than 250 items! After this, I went for a walk as it was in a beautiful part of Québec, with forest all over the place: it helped me to disconnect. At one point, I sat down in the gazebo with the goal to read a little, and think about how I can start my new job on a strong note (it was the weekend before my first day at Mozilla). I had a huge surprise: I wasn’t able to do anything, and my mind was totally empty. I stayed in that chair, for many hours, just relaxing, and admiring the nature. For the first time of my life, I was doing nothing, and it was good.

The day after, just after lunch, I realized it was time to get back home: I got invade by a sentiment of anxiety and stress. At that exact moment, I realized I was more stress than I thought. The process of going from a relaxing state to the reality opened the door to this realization: for me, it was an eye-opener revelation.

In the end, it was a good experience to do that retreat, and I’ll do it again this summer: it’s good from time to time to reconnect with your inner you. Next step for me: assisting to a session of some Buddhism-like meditation session.

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