As our Master Key Experience (MKE) 2022-2023 class members are going on a silent retreat this weekend, I went back to my silent retreat experience back in March 2018.
It was one of the most important and crucial events in my life that I still hold dearly in my mind and heart. I would like to share the blog that I wrote after my silent retreat with you today.
3-day Silent Retreat?
Wow, what an idea, at this time of our journey to be asked to set aside 3 full days of silence! Initially I was thinking how I am going to go away for 3 days with my full time work, family and other responsibilities.
But for some reason, I knew that I had to do it as soon as possible than leaving it till later. So, I moved a few things around and decided to do my best to go away for the weekend starting from 3 pm on Friday, March 2nd to 9 am Monday, March 5th. It was not 72 hours but 66 hours.
I have been going away to Cedars once a month for last 2-3 years, but it was not a “Silent Retreat’ because I still took my laptop and phone with me. But this time, I didn’t take my laptop nor the phone but only our daily work from the MKE program, my Bible, and a notebook.
The Cedars was only available for Sunday, so I looked around and found “The Sisterhood of St. John the Divine” still within the Greater Toronto area for Friday and Saturday. This was a perfect place for my Silent Retreat. Even though it was within the city and residential area, they have done a great job of making this location a prayer retreat place.
It was a convent where sisters reside but they have many individual rooms that are very simple and quiet, so it was perfect place to have my own time to reflect.
They have nice chapel, library, outside garden and labyrinth. The whole environment was very relaxing and quiet.
The first day, I mostly slept and rested physically, also for a good part of the second day.
I didn’t realize how tired my body was until I laid down and fell asleep right away and for quite a while. But It was evident that I wasn’t able to get into the silent mode until I felt rested and relaxed physically first. This reminded me one of the Seven Laws of the Mind, the “Law of Relaxation”, which states:
“Mental effort defeats itself – exactly opposite of physical effort. A relaxed, calm state of mind is the only doorway to progress mentally. Relaxation of thought is the only access to Infinite Intelligence.”The Seven Laws of the Mind
So many times, we expect ourselves to be able to get into “Quiet Time” for 30 minutes daily by just stopping doing whatever we are doing and jump right into it. Can you really get yourself into the silence and be in tune with yourself and God to hear what’s deep within yourself and voice of God?
It took awhile for me to slow down, rest and really be able to feel such a peace and quietness within myself to “Be Still”. It was only after lots of physical rest and starting to look inward, that I was able to feel the sense of stillness and peace.
I found myself also being able to see trees and sky in a different light and starting to hear the birds and wind around me. I felt like I was just being part of Nature, part of the symphony; as trees were swaying their branches and leaves with the blue sky behind, as I looked up at the sky breathing in and out slowly, and just soaking in the warm sunshine. What a joy and peace I felt!
In Silence, I can rest,
In Silence, I can hear,
In Silence, I can see,
In Silence, I can feel.
In Silence, I am at peace,
In Silence, I have joy,
In Silence, I have Unity,
In Silence, I can Be.
In Silence, I am vulnerable,
In Silence, I am free,
In Silence, I know,
In Silence, I find,
In Silence, all is well.
In Silence, I can watch Him,
In Silence, I can wait on Him,
In Silence, I can listen to Him,
In Silence, I can rest in Him,
In Silence, I can BE.
Only in Silence, can I hear you, my Lord.
Only in Silence, can I have proper words to share.
Only in Silence, can I find what I am to do.
This is what I wrote down as I was experiencing this progression of slowing down enough to feel the sense of “stillness”. It was a gradual progression because it took some time until I was finally able to enjoy this silence.
I wouldn’t have been able to get there in a hurry or just for a brief moment of quietness, but it definitely was a process of slowing down, resting, calming, looking inwardly, meditating and listening.
I was so happy to find out that they have a Labyrinth right in the garden. I really enjoyed the experience of going thought Labyrinth 3 times during my silent stay at The Sisterhood of St. John the Divine Convent.
Each time, I have had the certain song in my heart that I wanted to lift up, so I was humming as I was walking through it all. Each time, it was a journey of reflecting and connecting with God within myself.
Throughout the weekend, I also wrote down so many Bible passages that God reminded me and spoke to me and one of them was Romans 12:1-2.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”The Bible, Romans 21:1-2.
This is again a familiar passage to me, and I have memorized them in the past. But it really came alive for me during this silent retreat.
During our Master Key Experience program, one of the things that God has shown me is that He has been taking me through a “Transformation” process over last few years especially over last 5 months.
I have lived my life by “conforming to the pattern of this world” when I was living according to schedules, tasks, demands, responsibilities, and duties.
Just going with the flow of what everyone else does or what was expected of me.
But I have started to observe and look within myself deeper and deeper as I was working through the process of finding out who I am (my true self) and communing with my God ever so intimately.
Harmony with God and Nature
I felt like those Words of Truth that I’ve read, learned, and kept in my heart over the years of my life were coming alive within me; I am chewing them repeatedly to get the most nutrients out of them and felt like they were becoming part of me. It has been an amazing journey of experiencing God in a very real and powerful way.
Through this Silent Retreat, I was able to experience immense joy of knowing God and meeting Him in a very humble way. I have come to appreciate everything around me, trees, plants, skies, air, buildings, people, food, birds, children, adults, the ground and so much more.
We are all connected in God and there is harmony (a symphony) of living things and non-living things, all Nature. Everything is a miracle!
If you would you like to learn how to take this inward journey for yourself, then please join us in late September when the next Master Key Experience class begins.
Hop on the early notification list and receive a FREE tool you can use right away called the 7 Day Mental Diet, you will be so glad you did.
Oh Esther! I so loved hearing about YOUR silent retreat and thank you for the inspirations for mine. I especially liked your image about chewing well the Words of Truth that you’ve read, learned, and kept in your heart over the years of your life–“to get the most nutrients out of them.” If we don’t make silent times to do that kind of deep nourishment when will it ever happen?