It’s 23.56 and at 18.30 I finished my 10 day silent meditation retreat at Hyidaya yoga in Mazunte, Mexico. Thats 10 days of not talking, not reading, not listening to music, not watching TV, not having eye contact with people, not having any physical contact with people full stop, no mirrors, not communicating through notes unless essential with staff basically being as silent as possible so the only thing you can hear really loudly at times is your thoughts.
I had spent the previous 25 days here doing a Hridaya yoga module 1 course which was more about spiritual understanding that learning to stand on my head (although we did learn that too). The 10 day retreat I was told was the Hridaya crown jewel and I wanted to find out.
If you know anything about me you would know that in a nutshell I went from entertainments presenter/youtuber to having my breasts remove to reduce my risks of getting beast cancer to giving up my life to travel all int he space of a year. In the process my videos have completely changed. I talk about my own experiences and how I have coped with, changed and gotten over things.
I decided that although I defiantly don’t have all the answers I have gone from being bulimic, miserable, contemplating suicide, depressed, anxious and self loathing to someone who is very, very different. After my sisters death almost 5 years ago I found a determination to change myself for the better no matter what it took. I knew there had to be another way to exist. Through books I was introduced to the idea of spirituality, that I am not my body, my mind, my thoughts or my beliefs that were shaping everything I thought and felt about my life. Through my boob op I found body confidence, self love and the freedom to express my truth, not just what I thought other people wanted me to be. In my videos and through my writing I wanted to share what I was realising and what I was learning about myself and the world.
After my operation I became vegan pretty much over night and my work really stopped making sense to me. I felt unsettled and confused. If I loved this work why was in no longer making me happy? Why did I feel like I didn’t want to do it? I didn’t have the answers but what I did do was imagine my life with the career I thought I had wanted all these years. Was I happy in that imaged future? No I wasn’t. I would say it was then I decided to take a trip but I didn’t decide I was given no choice. Literally the idea came into my heart and just never left. I thought it was crazy but I didn’t want to do what I was doing anymore and I wanted to find my ‘missing piece’ so after months of the relentless voice I finally agreed. I booked my tickets and boom.
I have been away 10 months. I was never meant to come to Mexico but I did because of this retreat. I found it by mistake. A poster on a hostel reception wall in Bolivia of all places. I only noticed it because my friend had the shits and I had to wait for him to poo. It wasn’t even a poster for this retreat but a couple of clicks later, some how I ended up on Hridaya’s website and I was intrigued. After a few emails and a few discussions with some friends I knew it was the right thing for me to do. 35 days of yoga, learning about spirituality and meditation.
I leave tomorrow. Sadly I leave tomorrow but I leave with a heart full of love and new perspective on everything. I leave with a smile on my face and friends for life. I leave a family and a home that will be here when I next return. I leave the beauty and majesty of this seaside town. I leave with a new zest and excitement for life, a new direction and a new sense of peace, love and understanding.
The 10 day silent it turns out is the jewel. It is a life changing, shit biscuit of a jewel. Shit biscuit because at times you feel shit and at times you feel sweet, yummy and oh so good like a biscuit. It’s like putting yourself under a microscope only to see what you’re looking at is not who you THOUGHT you were at all. You realise how the thoughts and beliefs you have allowed to shape you existence are in fact not true and not real. You realise just how much of your life has been programmed and manipulated by the things around you. You realise that as humans we are living an alienated and separate existence when our very nature is to oneness. Now I understand why our Western society has so many very unhappy people, so many people living in suffering, so many people sold a dream that doesn’t bring them happiness, contentment or peace. It may bring them a house, a car, a gym membership and many pairs of shoes but once all these things are attained there’s still an emptiness, a longing for more. A longing and emptiness that can never be filled by material things that we don’t need.
I kept a diary throughout the retreat I’d like to share with you some of my musing from the 10 days.
Day 1 – ‘I thought about how much money people spend on a watch or a car or a night out. How many lives is your watch worth? would you rather a watcher a ring than save someones life? Make 1000’s of lives better or have a nice watch? I’m so confused by human kind. Why are people more impressed by the person who spends £1000’s on stuff than the person who saves lives and makes life better for so many?’
Day 2 – ‘I fucking hate this bull shit. I just want to be able to close my eyes and feel bliss. Why is that so difficult? Why is it so hard to see who and what we really are? Why does it take so much work and so much effort?’
Day 3 – ‘I still feel angry, agitated and annoyed. Just looking at people do stuff makes me annoyed. I can’t even explain why or what this is but it is very, very present. I will try to sit with it and work it out. I knew this would not be easy but I’m not sure I thought these would be my challenges.’
Day 4 – ‘I did find myself wishing this 10 days was over which I don’t really mean. It’s just tough but god didn’t bring me here for easy. This morning meditation was not easy to start off with. If I’m with the mind I fall asleep or into a day dream like state but if I can keep my awareness in my heart it is so very different.’
Day 5 – ‘I want to be free. I don’t need to wait for a human to catch me. God is here now waiting. All I have to do is let go. Is let it all go. Everything I think is me. Let it all go.’
Day 6 – ‘I realised I am only getting so farebeat also I realised that that is ok for me. This is a practise of a life time. Something to be honoured and cultivated. I am filled with love and sometimes anger and agitation but I am learning that persistence is the key. If someone had told me I would be able to meditate for over 2 hours I would have said they were crazy. Now I can.’
Day 7 – ‘I don’t know where to start. As soon as the meditation started I dropped into the heart. States kept coming and coming. Thoughts didn’t matter and could not distract me. My heart was alight, open and flowing with energy. I let it come and come and come. It felt different to anything I have ever experienced. There was no stress or strain just being. I couldn’t move when the bell went and the states kept coming. Finally I opened my eyes and walked very slowly back to my room. I know I am safe and I know this is right.’
Day 8 – ‘Why do I need to eat? It’s like food is the most important thing in the world to me. Not just what I eat but more so how often and how much? Why do I think more is better? Why am I never satisfied? Why don’t I have an off button? I know it’s not hunger because I have been having much less food and my belly is still full. It’s the mind that is not. I just realised how much of my life is taken up thinking about food and thoughts about food. I really want to change it. I guess I thought because I had stopped making myself sick I was ok but now I realise I am not.
Day 9 – ‘When Sahaja mentioned surrender that was it. The mind got stronger and stronger. I feel so agitated. Why? Is it really just about food? What is under lying that? What is there? Mind says ‘all this pain why follow this path? It doesn’t matter what the mind says because I know. Part of me knows that this is the way to freedom, to love and to happiness. No matter how hard the mind tries to stay I have to let it go.’
Day 10 – ‘I feel like I am at the bottom of a mountain and at the top is freedom. How long it takes me to get to the top will depend on so many things but what I know for sure is that I will make it. I won’t give up. Never.’
I wrote pages and pages. These are just a few sentences that popped out as me as I flick through literally the book I wrote during this 10 days.
If you, like me feel that something is missing or that yo long for something more meaningful, deeper and something true then please go and checkout the Hridaya website. The founder, Sahajanada is an truly amazing, inspiring, knowledgeable gifted being and teacher who has retreats in Romania as well as Mexico if that seems a bit far to travel. If you want the world to change you have to change the way you look at it. If you want to see change in the world first you must be that change – I stole these but I can’t remember who from. Sahajananda and his Hridaya teachings have done that for me.
It’s so easy for us in todays society to make excuses for not being able to invest time in ourselves. I urge you to get super honest with yourself about these excuses. If peace, love and freedom are truly what you want start looking inside.
Love and light,