• Audrey Chin

What Happens when You don't Talk for 7 Days?

Updated: Jul 30, 2021


Zen Meditation Silence

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com Dani Batz’s photostream

I’ve just returned from my 3rd retreat. When I first started going, people kept asking me “Why?”The question was usually accompanied by a concerned expression or a caring touch. “What was happening with my life?” “What was getting too much for me to bear that I needed to check out? To re-arm and recuperate?”

I had to re-assure everyone I was fine, I wasn’t re-treating from anything. It was more a call from somewhere inside me to shut out the noises of the world so I could HEAR what myself, my true authentic voice … perhaps the voice of something larger.

Where to go?

Truc Lam monastery zen

Photo Credit: travelnowvietnam.com

My first retreat was at the Truc Lam Monastery in Dalat Vietnam , long on  monastic discipline, short on creature comforts.

My second and third retreats have been at the 7 Fountains Jesuit Spirituality Centre in Chiang Mai Thailand, a homely haven of silence and light with private baths, air-conditioning and three simply delicious meals a day.

In both locations there was lots of silence. Enough for me to hear the music of the spheres, choirs of angels, infinity in a symphoney.

They are very different and I find I resonate with 7 Fountains more.  But who knows, perhaps the monastic discipline of Truc Lam will call to me again.

Now that I’m a bit of a “regular” the question’s become “What?” – “What happens there where I do nothing and say nothing all day?” – “What insights surface from all that silence?”What happens?

Morning, evening, night

On the face of it, there isn’t much “What” to report. 

Seven Fountains Chiangmai zen meditation jesuits moanstery

My schedule at 7 Fountains was a slow wake-up in the cool Chiang Mai morning, followed by a walk under giant rain-trees to breakfast.  After breakfast, I walked the labyrinth, a wonderful left-turn, right-turn, curving, roundabouting, re-tracking one hour where my logical brain-mutterings were totally disarmed. Quietened, I would then spend the next two hours in reflection and meditation up on a bamboo patio looking into trees or in one of 7 Fountains wooden chapels meditating.Just before lunch, there would be a 45 minute check-in with my director, to make sure I was still strongly grounded in reality and hadn’t meditated myself all the way out into 7th Heaven and then lunch!

Afternoons I spent editing my novel (finally finished after 7 revisions) and then in the evening to a prayer service, dinner, and another contemplative session.

Yes friends… On the surface I can only report boring minutes, silent hours, ticking away into six uneventful days. BUT …

What surfaces? Just a smooth face, un-tensed shoulders, a few words, a poem


Silence Hollows the reed For The wind’s song

Silence Tunes the heartstrings For The story

Silence Readies the self For The embrace

#Meditation #grace #god #Thailand #Silence #zen #PiecesofSoul #Retreats #ChiangMai #Asia #TravelandTourism #livinginthemoment #Provinces


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