8 Things I Learned While on a Silent Retreat

1. Experiencing the presence of other human beings yet not having to speak to them is wonderful. As an introvert, I was on cloud nine this weekend. Silence was only broken for things that were REALLY worth talking about, not small talk. Words are a gift. Use them wisely.

2. Restraint is a beautiful thing and should probably be used more often. Intimacy with Jesus was even sweeter when He was the only one you were able to use your words with.

3. Meals are more delicious when eaten slowly and mindfully with no outside distractions. You're less likely to overeat that way too. 

4. Technology is not bad. Only when it takes over your life does it have negative effects. It was nice not having it for a while, but I'd be a liar if I said I wasn't ready to have it back. I missed audiobooks and being able to write on Evernote. It really does make life easier, but I will say that the simplicity of using a pen and paper was refreshing. 

5. Music is a precious, precious thing. Don't ever take it for granted. Don't forget to shut it off and listen to the birds every now and then, but certainly don't take it for granted. During some of my worship times I all I wanted to do was sing...but there was no music...and singing without music isn't exactly my favorite thing. 

6. Meditation is hard. 20-30 minutes was do-able. An hour though? That got a little rough. However, I can already tell that I'm a little bit more mindful because of it. I'd say it's worth carving out 20-40 minutes a day for. 

7. You can learn a lot about people just by observing them. I quickly became attached to a group of people I spoke very little with.

8. You really shouldn't take yourself so seriously. The minute you begin to over-discipline yourself in hopes of becoming more spiritual, God will pull a prank on you or something. Seriously. Just calm the heck down. You're human. He'll meet you where you are.