We probably all remember moments of silence that brought a sense of peace or joy to our lives: looking up at a starlit sky; reading a book; sitting with a good friend when no more needs to be said. Most retreats at Taraloka have shorter or longer periods of silence. On many introductory retreats, there will be silence overnight or for a small part of the day. It's very understandable to feel a bit nervous about this at first, particularly if you have ever experienced silence as some kind of emotional tension or cutting off. You can always approach a member of the team for support or encouragement, while those leading the retreat will still need to speak, for example when introducing meditation and giving general guidance.
Silence as a spiritual practice is about connection: with ourselves, with meditation, with others and with the beauty of nature. It is a rare opportunity in the modern world but a familiar practice in the Taraloka landscape and buildings. Away from life's noise and busyness, we can relax and have time and space for ourselves. We may be more in touch with our meditation. We may be more open to the rich, varied experience of our senses: whether listening to birdsong, feeling the earth beneath our feet or really enjoying a cup of tea. Silence can deepen our awareness and our kindness and be a happy, easy way of being with others. For many women, it is one of the best parts of their retreat.