Reflections from the Silent Buddhist Retreat

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Last week as many of you know, I chose to do something a bit different for my birthday – and enrolled myself into a bit of a spiritual double whammy… 5 days of silence, living in the mountains of Chiang Mai, Thailand at Doi Sutep Temple to study meditation with the Buddhist monks – followed by 3 days of pampering at Baan Thai Resort and Spa.

As someone who is deeply spiritual, to me, this was the ultimate gift I could give myself for my birthday: Time for cocooning and going within – to give myself the reflection time and space for my soul to continue to evolve.

Coming out of this experience, I feel like a brand new woman – a Tealie 2.0 if you will, and everyone’s been curious to know how it went. So I thought I’d share some of my biggest takeaways with you, in case you ever decide to do something like this for yourself. I highly recommend it!

1. Re- Awareness of the Monkey Mind

Arriving on the first day of the retreat, I was so excited. Spence dropped me off, kissed me goodbye and I got all checked in – preparing myself for 5 days of silence and solitude to have some deep connection with myself. I came in with 8 powerful questions that I wanted answers to, and was so excited at the opportunity to listen to my inner heart and get some clarity about how to best move forward for my life and the year to come.

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After meeting the monks and having my opening ceremony, I began hour one of meditation, becoming aware of the “Rising and Falling” of my belly. Breathe in… breathe out… breathe in… breath out. I tried to clear my mind and focus on my breathing and after what felt like an eternity, I look down at my clock and it’s only been 5 minutes… this was the slowest time had ever moved, and I couldn’t get my mind to SHUT UP!

Now I’ve been meditating since I was a young girl, so this is not new for me – but usually I can quiet my mind after a few minutes. But this time was different, even after the first 7 hours of practice that first day, I still could not get past the block of the mental chatter that was going through my head.

I could actively see this stream of consciousness babble just flowing through my mind, filling it with the most unimportant nonsense! But I knew that my ego would rather find random things to think about than allow it to quiet altogether.

Our minds are extremely powerful entities, and I know I’m not alone in sharing this challenge – it is part of the human condition to learn how to play this balance with the mind and the heart. Think about it: How much do you let myself get wrapped up in your thoughts every day? Do you give yourself time for your mind to just be still, without feeding it some sort of distraction?

I have found it’s become especially hard now that we all have smart phones. Our minds have gotten so used to always having something to distract them. But it is so important to give yourself moments DAILY to just unwind. Even if it’s taking a few moments while waiting in line, or on the bus, or in your car, see if you can resist the natural habit to check your phone or turn on the radio, and take a moment to pause and notice your breath.

Every time we actively choose to take a pause, we are slowing down the mind chatter and creating an opportunity to connect to our hearts.

2. Releasing the Subconscious Muck

Day 2 was extremely challenging and painful… I’m not going to lie.

Because here’s what happens: After you’ve been left alone for 24 hours with no phone, no people to talk to, no activities to stimulate your brain, no books, tv, nothing… your mind and ego begin to freak out. It doesn’t know what to do because there is nothing to stimulate it or distract it.

The ego mind does NOT like this one bit – it feels threatened – it feels under attack… and what does it do when it’s threatened? Just like a threatened animal, it attacks back!

Day 2 I was able to get into some deeper states of meditation and begin to connect to my deeper soul, my heart, and my inner guidance system – but when I began to connect on that level, I couldn’t help but feel my ego defense system go on high alert to try and hold me back from going there. It began doing everything it could to make me stay in my “comfort zone”.  I began experiencing deep levels of sadness, coming from nowhere! I began having deep fears come up that I’ve never thought about in my life. I began to feel very aware that I was in a foreign land, completely alone and isolated.

As I practiced my walking meditation – bringing awareness to every step, I repeated my own mantra “Release… Release…” and the tears began welling up as a ton of stored energy and unresolved emotions began coming to the surface to be released. I spent most of the day in deep crying, wrapped in the blankets of my small cot in my room, allowing myself to fully feel these deep feelings that had been pushed down throughout time – that were now coming to the surface. But the more I felt shitty, the more I knew that this was exactly what I needed – I was transforming and evolving before my own eyes.

I am going to be vulnerable here, and share with you that this is very personal, and I recognize that I am not perfect! Even in being a life and love coach, I too still have things I’m always sorting through and continuing to cleanse from my spirit. It takes takes courage and strength to move through this extremely uncomfortable time and space.

But I share this with you so you can see how important (and mandatory!) it is to be able to cleanse the spirit and live a deeply fulfilling, loving, open – hearted life. It is literally one of the most cleansing processes you can do for your energetic spirit.

People have always asked me, “Teal how are you so happy all the time?” and they think that it’s just luck, or naivety, but it’s not. It takes serious intention and inner work.  It is a consistent practice to take the time to cleanse my spirit and move through blockages regularly so that my joy can continue to shine.

Just as some people will do a water fast to cleanse their internal organs and reset their body, doing a meditation retreat is the highest form of a mental fast that cleanses the spirit and purges any residual emotions, unresolved conflicts, and pain that has been lurking in the shadows of your psyche.

In order to live a truly open hearted life where you can be completely open to forgiveness, compassion and unconditional love, it takes a cleanse to let go of any energetic blocks you’ve been holding on to. Once you can release these blocks, you feel like a new person. You can move forward each day with an open spirit – knowing that nothing can make you feel closed, because you are nothing but light and love.

3. Stepping Forth to Claim my Highest Identity

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(Goodbye old ragtag backpack and hello suitcase and heels!)

After Day 2, I felt like I had shed an entirely new skin. My mental chatter had calmed down tremendously and I was able to sit for long periods of time without any thoughts flowing through my mind. I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and calm and deep inner truth.

I had reconnected with my truest source of who I am: an energetic angel of light and love, put on this earth to help open other’s hearts to love unconditionally and create more meaningful relationships.

I really came to step into my identity as a love coach from a DEEP etherial level  — in sharing the deepest truths of how to connect to our hearts and energies open & keep our energies from blocking love.

In a world where there is so much hate, anger, and fear, I feel a DEEP CALLING to bring more love to this world as a love coach. I know it is my deepest truth to support women around the world to help them step forth as their highest versions of themselves so that they can exude love unconditionally to the world and bring balance, harmony and light to this earth.

After finishing up the meditation retreat, I took the next few days for full luxurious pampering at a beautiful Thai spa and emerged feeling like a butterfly that had just come out of it’s cocoon. I have a renewed spirit, sense of self and such exciting new ideas to come forth for my business and coaching practice.

If you’re interested in learning more about my spiritual journey, feel free to email me and we can set up time to talk. I’d love to hear from you.

Angel Teal

 

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