Have you ever gone on vacation? In most cases the people I talk to have not ever, not really. Most people actually say “man, I need a vacation after my vacation”. Despite having traveled around the world, I consider my first silent retreat to be my first real vacation ever. The difference between a traditional vacation and a real vacation lies in the biochemistry involved! Let me explain.
We are all living in zombie mode
To better understand what goes down in a silent retreat, and why it is so different from a regular vacation, you first need to understand what happens before! You need to pay attention to your life BEFORE the vacation!
Usually, most of us tend to be on the hamster wheel of work. Day after day we inspire ourselves to keep pushing as hard as we can until almost our breaking point. Then the vacation comes in. However, since we’ve been training our minds toward hyperactivity, something funny happens. During our vacation, the moment we are supposedly letting the steam off, we end up planning too effing-much!
In fact, we are still on the hamster wheel – just in a different country and with different activities!
The thing is, all the things we do, social media, work, and vacation play off of the human being’s desire to do something and get rewarded for that activity. Our brains are actually highly tuned to do this. This is called the dopamine reward system, and it is one of the most powerful programs in our brain. So strong that even marketers and employers have learned to take advantage of it!
Life after a silent retreat
Personally, my life was transformed after making my first silent retreat. The structure is very rigid and holds you very well. There is no talking. No eye contact. No touching. No reading. No social. No objective. No reward. In other words, no Dopamine. You’re on a Dopamine fast where you end up meditating 12 – 16 hours a day.
Here’s the thing: even without the esoteric elements of spirituality involved, the mere physical reality is powerful enough on its own. Our Dopamine receptors get BURNT out in a life of constant activity – and that makes us MORE addicted to Dopamine.
This is what makes us seek more stimulation – more and more all the time. You could think of your brain as a drug addict, needing a bigger fix each time. Of course, having a junkie on command is a suboptimal way to navigate through life!
Overcoming the addiction
When your Dopamine receptors are burnt out, you become an easy target for the Dopamine dealers! Porn, fast food, shopping, social media, streaming services, everything carefully designed to give you that fix your brain’s craving for!
This is where a silent retreat comes in handy!
A silent retreat is the only sure way (without chemicals or supplements involved) to resolve this problem. A silent retreat is an opportunity to fast on Dopamine. This works because without the constant stimuli, your brain can naturally begin to repair your dopamine receptors. In turn, this makes you less susceptible to needing stimulation to feel good, and gives you access to enhanced perceptions of reality!
A silent retreat is not a joyride
Of course, this is not to say that silent retreats are a walk in the park. They can become REALLY challenging. If you have ever been near a rehabbing addict, you probably already know about withdrawal symptoms. If you have not, let me tell you…it gets pretty bad, pretty quick.
During silent retreats, some people – or more accurately, their BRAIN – loses their shit. It is so bad that in some cases, the brain will fabricate so-called visions of a family member being in EXTREME danger just to break the focus of the retreat.
This can become so intense that people will plead with the facilitators to just let them get their phones so they can check in on them. Trust me, this is not always the case, and of course, it depends on the subject. But this is simply a stark example of HOW powerful your subconscious, primal nature is, and the lengths it will go to manipulate you.
What’s waiting on the other side
While you should approach a silent retreat with no expectations, most of the time they are a transformative experience. After a retreat, most people report experiencing an enhanced version of reality, with more powerful sensory perceptions. Some others manage to get to the root of the patterns that are keeping them stuck, and break free from their chains. Others, simply tune in deeper into their meditation practice.
One way or the other, once you get a peek at what’s on the other side of your desires, you can actually begin to free yourself from the fetters of the senses. But until you’ve seen that kind of thing, you will always be getting yanked around by the chains your primal nature has over your consciousness. Even worse, you will still be subject to the design of marketers, employers, and governors!
So yeah, silent retreats are amazing!
All you need to know before going to a silent retreat
In the most recent ‘Alchemize Your Life’ episode, Sophie and I get to discuss our personal experiences practicing silent retreats (including the failed one that sparked the biggest fight of our relationship!).
By the end of this episode, you’ll get to understand all the science behind these retreats, why and how they work, and all the things you need to know before embarking on one! We’ll also give you tips to prepare yourself for the experience, and the next best thing you can do to free yourself from the chains of Dopamine addiction!
If you ABSOLUTELY love this episode and you’re looking for a place to connect with lightbenders just like you, don’t forget to join us at The Prysm Institute Of Quantum Alchemy! Here you’ll be able to share your own personal experience (and possibly maybe find the location of your first silent retreat!)
Til the next episode!
With radical freedom and absolute abundance
Cian, Sophie & The Prysm Team