Daring to Be Silent: Going deep with meditation retreats

WL_SilenceFor Kelley Amadei, every year begins with silence. Just after New Year’s, when a deep chill has settled in, she checks into The Garrison Institute for a nine-day silent meditation retreat with the American Buddhist teacher Lama Surya Das, and wraps herself in a warm duvet of quietude and stillness. Asked to honor a code of Noble Silence when the retreat begins, Amadei joins a hushed group of 20 to 50 people who have sworn off cell phones, devices, media, books, and everyday chitchat for the gathering’s duration. Together yet alone in a veil of reticence, they walk the corridors of the sprawling former monastery, smell its dark wood and incense, eat in the dining hall, stroll the grounds on the Hudson riverfront, listen to the lama’s teachings, and sit for meditation. It’s an experience that stands in stark contrast to her digitally connected life—as an executive coach to high-powered business people, Amadei is always online—and that’s exactly what she likes about it. “I think it started out as a search for better self-awareness,” says Amadei, who lives with her wife and son in Garrison, not far from the Institute (it was Lama Surya Das who led her to the area). Over 15 years she has built up her practice from a half day of silence on her own to a yearly nine-day retreat. “I get to connect with myself in a way that feels more authentic.” Read full article