A day of silence with my teacher Nithya Shanti

So a few months ago, my teacher had finished with a ten day silent retreat. I think he was still at the retreat when I decided to connect with him after a break of close to a year, a year of being away from his teachings. So, everyone on the call was talking about, (the ones who attended the physical retreat), how amazing it was for them and also transformational. And all through everyone’s sharing I remember being the cynical one that can someone tell these people that nothing lasts forever. It’s quite artificial all these silent retreats because once you get back to the real life, things start to fade away slowly. I think I was the only one on that call taking a different stand. Everyone else was in a positive and great space! Except me, because I was going through a lot and I just had to share that life isn’t always butterflies and rainbows. So I shared, I asked my teacher, “how often do I have to attend these physical silent retreats to actually see a change in myself and my life and my reactions? “I also knew in my current life situation I won’t be able to do a silent retreat for a long time. At least not in the near future. But life has its ways, I guess. So, my teacher announced an online zoom silent retreat a few days after that zoom call. He had established a set of rules that needed to be followed, so basically you’re at your home or your work place and you remain in silence through the day. Can you imagine doing that? I mean imagine being around your husband, children, in laws and not saying a word. He had sessions planned for us every other hour on zoom, ranging from reading to meditation to writing to exercise and so on. So, that was the only screen time we were allowed through the day. He is so innovative in his thinking and comes up with such amazing courses every few months.

What do you think I did?

I jumped on this opportunity. This was for me. I knew it. I made up my mind the minute I saw he was offering a day like this. How would I do it? Who would look after my kid? Where would I do it? I didn’t think of anything. I just knew. I needed one day of silence. Almost like a promise to myself and a certain courage that this one day of silence will change my life. Not knowing it will actually change it. 

So, the day finally came, I think it was the 30th of July, 2022 and it was the most magnificent, crazy, mind blowing, quiet, serene, peaceful, noisy, magical day for me. All I did was listened to my teacher. Listened to all his instructions. I kept my phone away from 6 AM in the morning to 9 PM in the night. I didn’t look at it once which is quite a big deal for someone like me especially since I had easy access. Let’s be real. I was doing a silent retreat on zoom in my home with everyone around me. And not a few people but a lot of people around me. Two kids screaming into my ears through the day because it’s a Saturday and they’re off from school. Who can beat that?

The Walk

At the end of that day, we were asked to go on a nature walk and ask a question to a few things from nature that catches our fancy. So, I was looking forward to going on this walk. I love going for my walks and so this adventurous walk where I have to ask a question to something in nature was exciting me and also making me wonder if I have lost my mind. But since my teacher told us to do it. I just did it. 

I first found a tree. This tree wasn’t the most beautiful tree. It was a tree with a few branches left, a bit lonely amidst all the pretty trees around but I decided to ask this tree. 

I said, Dear Tree, What is it like being you? 

I don’t remember but I got a bit of a strange answer which didn’t make sense. It didn’t feel like the tree was talking to me but instead I made up that answer.

I walked ahead, I found a few stones. I asked the stones.

Dear stones, what is it like being you today? 

The stones told me, they feel small. They told me they feel trampled over, and they also said they are the building blocks for something big. Because every building or home that’s made cannot do without these stones.

I kept walking and asked a leaf, and another tree that had these hanging branches. It was a bit scary. A tree you would see in a horror movie. But I wasn’t scared.

I wasn’t convinced so I kept walking until I reached a place, a place of worship. I usually just walk past it everyday during my walks. Today I decided to go in and ask God/Baba. I said Baba, I have been asking all these trees, and leaves, and stones, and what not. Why don’t I ask you this same question my teacher has asked me to ask nature? Because I usually like to bend rules and so I am asking you.

The Revelation

Dear Baba, what is it like being you? Tell me. Baba, What is it like being you?

I waited. (Common, answer me)

He said, “you are me” (WHAT did he just say?)

I asked him again. Baba, what is it like being you? 

He said, “You are me”

I was awestruck. I was shaken. I quickly walked back with that answer playing in my head. What the hell did he just tell me? You are me? What does that even mean? I was shocked that he said that to me. I walked home. Reached in time for dinner and was waiting for that one final call where I get to finally break my silence with my teacher and talk about my experience through the day. I couldn’t wait to tell him what I just found it. I was in no mood to hear all the dinner discussions because I was in silence and I was waiting to talk to my teacher. I was waiting to tell him what happened. And nobody was understanding how excited I was because I wasn’t talking on that dinner table. Okay, I have said this thrice in the last three lines. But I hope you’re feeling my excitement. 

So, when it was my turn to speak, I was very happy to finally speak and tell him how my day was, and that it wasn’t easy doing it at home with kids around and also the final revelation I had after my walk. Phew! Finally, I said it to him. I spoke. It was quite a marvellous day.

After that, my husband came into the room, he was like let’s go. He was tired of not hearing me speak the whole day but he wont agree that he actually missed hearing me speak. All he said was, Can you talk to me now? I want to take you for a drive. I think he was tired of being the parent for a day. And so I ended my session and that was it.

Sometimes I think, was my teacher reading my mind when I spoke to him a few days ago when he had just completed the physical silent retreat? How did he offer a session like this? Anyway, I will never know and I don’t need to know everything either. I received what I had to that day and it was the most magical day of my life. Right now it’s quite fresh in my memory. Maybe it fades away with time just like everything else. But I am sure I will still have parts of it in me even after many years. That’s the power of silence. It reveals to you some deep secrets which you will never really know if you’re busy talking and working and caught up in your worldly roles and responsibilities. 

Today, I am a changed person and attending this session was a starting point for me. It was the first step in the long journey that I am still on. A journey where I am losing myself and finding myself each day. A journey where I am not able to look ahead more than one day at a time. A journey where I am not sure what the destination is like but I am just enjoying the ride. And most of all a journey where even-though I haven’t met my teacher I still get to learn and experience all these amazing things in my life wherever I am. 

I can’t thank my teacher enough and I say this often. I really can’t. And so sometimes I don’t try. I think he knows it and so sometimes I don’t say thank you. Because what I am today and all the change I see in myself I credit so much of it to him. Okay, some of it is my doing because if I don’t give my 100% to his teachings or practices I won’t benefit a 100% 

As I am writing this, I realized all of us made a pact with him that we wouldn’t check our phones for 30 minutes after we wake up. But I failed today. Because I woke up with this thought and I wanted to share this experience with all of you, whoever is reading it. So, I am sorry teacher. These writing spells seem to catch me at all the wrong times these days and I can’t stop myself. 

Yours truly,

Miss Light 

2 responses to “A day of silence.”

  1. Brinder Rivi Avatar
    Brinder Rivi

    So happy for you, Roshni.
    I’ve always felt ‘ Silence is Golden’


    1. LightRosh Avatar

      Thank you Rivi. I am experiencing it now.


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