It’s not blissful. It’s almost sheer hell a lot of the time. To have to strip ourselves of the armor and actually see the stuff that we’ve pushed down is not easy. All that stuff that we’ve ignored: it will come up.

Real retreat is creating space to really look at what we’ve ignored. The peace that we desire only comes from internal clarity. We must ask ourselves: Is my practice allowing me to settle in? Is it allowing me to truly listen? To be here now?

I return to the words of Mother Teresa, “The fruit of silence is prayer. The fruit of prayer is faith. The fruit of faith is love. The fruit of love is service. The fruit of service is peace.”

Service and peace. They both begin with silence.