There are two types of silence.

Firstly, there is the silence of the personality. This silence is characterized by not speaking. It often feels uncomfortable, and we have a saying for it in the Veluwe region: "a minister is passing by." This is because the personality seeks interaction, validation, and recognition from others to establish its external identity. Without this external reflection, it struggles to answer the question, "who am I?" For example, during this retreat, our personality might identify as "Eva, the retreat leader," reinforcing its existence through external acknowledgment.

Secondly, there is the great silence, which encompasses everything, including the personality and the absence of speech. This is the silence of the heart. Although this silence is always present, our personality rarely engages with it because it habitually seeks validation and answers externally.

To access the second silence, we must start with the first silence, the silence of our personality. After all, that's the only tool we have. That's why during this retreat[1] we adopt the energy position with our bodies. We slow down, do everything with as much silent attention as possible. We leave our phones and laptops aside. And we refrain from talking for a large part of the day. Not during breakfast and lunch, not in our rooms with our roommates, not in the shared bathroom spaces, not indoors, and not outdoors. Uncomfortable, awkward, and frustrating. Our minds constantly wonder why all of this is necessary and find countless reasons to speak anyway.

Eckhart Tolle (The power of nowputs it like this:

When I am with people, I am a spiritual teacher. That is my role, not my true identity. The moment I am alone, I am nobody. It is my deepest joy to be nobody. When people leave me, I am no longer a spiritual teacher. There is no longer a sense of external identity. I simply go deeper into the silence. The place I love most is silence. It is not that silence is lost when I speak or teach, because my words arise from the silence. But when I am alone, only silence remains. And I love that.

To give you a glimpse of who you truly are - that sparkling, living silence - we use this retreat to allow our personalities to become more accustomed to it by being silent more often and for longer periods than usual. So that our thinking, our entire personality, becomes silent, and we can be the whole flower, both heart and petals, in the fullness of silence. zijn.

Therefore, seize this opportunity and listen deeply to the great silence within yourself and around you. Find your place of silence. Look deeper than the thought that silence is experienced as a prohibition on not speaking. It is not a prohibition, it is an invitation. And I want to ask you to accept this invitation wholeheartedly. Peace begins simply by holding your tongue and listening deeply. To yourself, to others, to your surroundings, to the world, to the cosmos, and beyond...

Because only by listening deeply from this silence does true peace arise. Peace within yourself, peace in the world.

[1] Meditation-plus retreat August 28-31, 2023 at De Hof van Kairos. The next retreats are scheduled for March 1-3 and August 26-29, 2024.