Silence in a library is nothing like the Silence I embraced for 30 hours one weekend as a Master Key Experience (MKE) assignment. What’s true about this photo in illustrating my experience, though, is that I left the books behind—everything written went into soft focus. The physical, mental, and spiritual exploration happened in the expansive openness of my mind once the gate to speaking aloud was firmly closed and I went inside.
I have to admit I was quite startled to hear our MKE assignment that week. We were asked, if possible, to go into a time of complete silence for at least 24 hours—much more if possible—sometime in the next two weeks. It was highly suggested that we find ways to remove ourselves from our normal environs to avoid all distractions. We were allowed to take only 3 things with us: a pen, paper, and ourselves.
From the beginning of MKE we’d been doing a sit in silence daily for at least 15 minutes. So through all these months, silence had been a substantive part of the experience, with many reporting that their sits have stretched well beyond the 15 minutes. Daily we’ve used Charles Haanel’s suggestion for how to use the sit to deepen our understanding of his weekly lesson.
Every Thursday, after reading the press release we’d written as though our Definite Major Purpose had been accomplished, we use the sit to meet (in our mind’s eye) our Future Self as a friend to enthusiastically share our success.
But there were two huge differences for the extended silence: there were no written materials to reflect on and there was a definite reliance only on ourselves for shaping the time. We were also encouraged to extend the exercise with or as our Future Self.
I run two businesses and my calendar for that month was already quite full. But I negotiated a few changes and was able to come up with a continuous 30-hour time from 10AM the following Saturday until time for of MKE session on Sunday at 4PM.
I’m pretty disciplined and decided that I’d spend as much of that time as possible walking outdoors on a nature trail behind my home…and then putting on blinders while at home where I usually do my sits so I wouldn’t be tempted to do anything else. I planned and ate simply.
Over my life I’ve done all kinds of religious retreats in silence that lasted from an afternoon to 10 days. Most of them were guided by a retreat master or books I was drawn to. Since this Silence was in a course about our mind-body-soul interactions I asked my Master Mind tribe for any suggestions about how to get the most out of this experience. I was really grateful when my personal Guide and others shared some helpful tips including the idea to write down questions to take into the silence.
After two business sessions that Saturday morning, at 10AM I shut down my computers and my office. I turned off my phones for the duration. I sat and embraced the Silence. I sank into Presence, having been helped by a bit of poetry we had in our Haanel reading the previous week from Tennyson: “Speak to Him, thou, for He hears, and spirit with spirit can meet, Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.”
Future Shirley is in Creator as I am in them both…I listened. Thirty questions framed what I thought about, wrote about, prayed about, and walked out over this precious time. I was profoundly amazed that over the 30 hours I got valuable insights into every one of them. Some answers even came in my dreams Saturday night, believe it or not. Insights didn’t come in this structured way of course. Four, five, six related ideas worked into each other. One major insight about “the abyss” came as I was stepping off a curb on the way back from the Nature Trail!
1. Why do I say I will do something and not do it?
2. What habits would be good to start?
3. What habits would be good to strengthen?
4. What habits would be good to get rid of?
5. How can I be creative AND disciplined?
6. Why do I hold weight?
7. Why do I hold clutter?
8. How do I best help my aging brain?
9. Why is food so compelling for me?
10. How can I best get every drop of value out of the time I have left on earth?
11. Am I on target for a radio show for a Detective of Magic?
12. How can I make sure I am following guidance and not my own whim?
13. How do I keep desire running high?
14. What really gets me out of bed in the morning?
15. Why do I disdain some people?
16. How do I get and stay at higher vibrations?
17. What am I not telling myself?
18. How do I step into future Shirley the fastest?
19. Is fastest best?
20. What is my abyss?
21. What is my Achilles heel?
22. What makes up my shadow?
23. How best do I deal with parts of my shadow?
24. What is my best physical focus?
25. What is my best soul focus?
26. What is my best mental focus?
27. What from convent lifestyle ought I re-incorporate?
28. With whom should I mastermind?
29. What books should I read and incorporate?
30. What are my best daily schedules, habits, routines?
Over the hours I wrote a very detailed description of who Future Shirley is as I dialogued with her, really got to know her better, and found ways that I really am already her.
I revised my daily schedule and thought about what props I will need through the day and evening to keep on track. “What would the person I am becoming do next?”
I faced some big fears and stared them down. I felt healing as I walked in a shaded mini-forest where spring greens were just beginning to show in mosses along the trail and along the muddy banks of the bubbling brook. In the last hours I read and re-read what I’d written and then sat in gratitude, feeling enormously blessed.
I came back to my packed life full of resolve and armed with new strategies and insights. The next day I was delighted to have tweaks to my routines work. That first day back I kept my Silence diary at hand and referred to what I’d been inspired to write down.
Clearly the experience challenged me, refreshed me, and strengthened me. My sharing it on our tribe’s Hero Zoom mid-week helped me see my experience through other eyes, and strengthened me even more.
I’m even more grateful for the Master Mind aspect of our sharing our journeys. It was another MKE life-changing experience!