I am sure most of you come to Bali and just want to take a break. Relax, surf, party, friends. Living the dream in Paradise. But some may also come here to go on a deeper and more intense journey. Finding inner peace and stuff like that.
Honestly, I have never been someone that was truly into Meditation and Yoga. And surely I could have probably never imagined before to participate in a Silent Retreat. But when I came back to Bali at the beginning of this year, I was in a place where I did not really know what to do in life. I just arrived with packed bags (basically all my belongings in life), no job anymore, no apartment anymore - so I thought there would probably be no better time right now than to take some time for myself and hideaway in a Silent Retreat for a bit. Not talking to anyone and avoiding these "what do you do in life" questions - sounded quite perfect to me.
I chose the Bali Silent Retreat as my destination after researching Silent Retreats here in Bali. It is located in Central Bali, close to Gunung Batu Karu and Penebel, and it takes about two hours with the motorbike to get there from Canggu area. It just looked really beautiful and what they offered sounded real good to me.
I arrived around noon at the Silent Retreat and the surroundings were just amazing. It is located a bit further away from civilization and there are only rice paddies, mountains and pure nature around you.
Right after my arrival, I was greeted by the staff and they took me on a little tour around the premises. There was a small hut at the entrance, which was the reception and this was also the only place, where it was allowed to talk. After that - no words anymore. You also get a goodie bag with all the necessary things for your time at the Retreat - sheets, dishes, notebook etc. They styled the stay to be as in an Ashram which means: you basically do everything by yourself. You have your own dishes, you wash them, you keep them, you make your own bed everyday, you clean up after yourself. No one is there to do all that for you.
We took a short walk through the rice paddies and reached the common area of the Retreat. This was the place where we could eat, read and just relax. Downstairs they prepared every morning, afternoon and evening a buffet for everyone and in the corner there was this cute little area where you could make your own tea with fresh herbs and other ingredients. Everything they serve at the Retreat is vegetarian and locally grown on the premises. The food was really amazing - super fresh and tasty.
Upstairs everyone gathered to eat or just to hang out. It was open all around, so you could have a look at the gorgeous surroundings while relaxing. There were plenty of books provided by the Retreat, couches and pillows everywhere - honestly, I probably took some of my best naps ever in that area.
In the beginning, it may feel weird that no one talks to each other and that you basically just do everything by yourself. You eat by yourself, sit by yourself, read by yourself - but after a while, it is totally normal and you really start to enjoy being by yourself.
Further down the Retreat, there was a huge tent. This was the area where you could participate in Meditation and Yoga classes. Meditation was everyday in the morning and evening. Yoga classes were held a few times a day. Nothing was mandatory - you could create your own schedule and participate whenever you wanted to. The tent was surrounded by nothing but nature - just tropical plants and rice paddies all around.
There were different options to stay in the Retreat. It is possible to book a private room or a shared room. I was sleeping in a 8-people woman's dorm, where you sleep in bunk beds and share a bathroom with your roomies. And of course no one talks in that room.
On the premises, there were plenty other areas where you could just hang out and relax. You could sit around a bonfire in hammocks and read a book, go for a hike down to the river and see a waterfall, go on a trek through the rice paddies or just walk around to take in the nature.
When I arrived, I was honestly a bit bored short time after. I left my phone, so I was not reachable for the entire time I was there. I walked around, started to read a book, had some food, participated in a meditation class - that was my first day. I remember sitting in bed that night and just thinking like, what am I supposed to do here for the next days. I could not talk to anyone, neither face-to-face nor via phone, i only had books and my thoughts.
The next day I woke up fresh and early (I went to bed at like 8pm) and participated in a Meditation class. I don't know what the reason actually was - maybe it was just being an early, fresh bird that day or maybe something just switched after not talking to someone for a day, no idea - but during the class, slowly I started to feel more relaxed. The day before my head was just not sorted right, I had so many thoughts about everything and couldn't really concentrate and be focused on myself. But slowly (it did not happen in one day, it was a slow process), I started to calm down and just really let go of thoughts. Especially negative thoughts. Just really being one with myself and not thinking about anything in this moment. I took the time between Meditation and Yoga to gather all positive thoughts I had and think about the future (later I realized it isn't about the future, it is about living now in this moment) and what might come. What to do, how to do it and what my next steps will be. I took notes, read a few different excerpts of books to get some inspiration and just took time for myself - walking around, relaxing and enjoying the silence. After not talking at all for a while and focusing just on you, suddenly there are so many things popping up in your head that you usually would have never thought about.
It really was a journey that was for sure something I will not forget. I am sure participating in a Silent Retreat gives everyone a different outcome. Some may just not enjoy it at all and don't get anything out of it while others enjoy it to the fullest (i met a girl when i left that was there for 27 days). For me, it was just what I needed at that time. It gave me time just for truly myself, I really thought about things that I always pushed away before, I thought about what is actually causing pain and sadness in my life currently, I just started to realize what is important and how I want to live my life. It is definitely a very special experience and I do recommend it to everyone who may feel a bit lost at the moment (being lost sometimes is totally ok, otherwise you would live a boring life i bet) or just wants to take a little timeout.
I especially enjoyed my stay at the Bali Silent Retreat because the entire staff was so friendly and helpful, the premises were super nice, the classes were great and I just felt comfortable and well during my entire stay.