Last week I spent 24 hours in silence and solitude at a monastery called St. Andrew's Abbey in Valyermo, CA. I was without phone, internet, TV and radio for the duration. I did have an MP3 player that I used sparingly to help me relax at times. The reasons for doing it were two fold: 1. I’ve always wondered what it’s like and whether I would go crazy and 2. Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind, suggests the ideas of sabbath and meditation to rest and to find meaning.
The idea is to separate from daily distractions and stresses as well as getting comfortable with our deeper selves. This involves learning to accept and even to embrace the discomfort of silence. Surprisingly and thankfully, I did not drive myself mad. In fact, I highly recommend that everyone should try it.
I was able to attain an inner peace. I also found that I am less distracted and more able to focus on the present. While the problems I faced still existed, my perspective and my response to them had changed for the better. Granted, one doesn’t have to drive 2 hours to do this but one must schedule it and make effort to spend time apart from the daily distractions.
Here are some photos of St. Andrew's Abbey grounds:
Here are some photos of a guest room with attached bathroom: simple and clean.