What I Learned from 10 Days of Silence
It was an experience I liken to a mental marathon, or a psychophysiological rollercoaster ride that was riddled with paradox—excruciating one minute, elating the next.
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But whatever meditation does or does not “deliver,” it’s not a means to an end. Rather, it’s a tool for life maintenance. And while I do feel different (I had an emotional growth spurt, and I genuinely think my posture improved), the world around me has not changed. The future is as uncertain and challenge-laden as ever, but now, I have a practice that can help me navigate the good, the bad, and the ambiguous with a sense of equanimity and peace.
I also gained something totally unexpected from the retreat: new conviction that I am my own best friend and greatest champion, and that as long as I continue to cultivate that relationship with myself, I will be just fine.
I used to assume that my life was building towards visible achievements and markers of ‘success’: getting published, getting married, having children, etc. And I used to look for external validation—Am I smart? Pretty? Cool? Did I do that thing well? Do you like me?—around every corner. Now I can answer those questions on my own, and I feel at home with myself in a way that feels new. What is that?! Self-acceptance? Peace? A personal revolution? I don’t have a name for it, but I know this: to have arrived at this place is my greatest achievement so far.