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Mon, 20 May

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Den Haag

Silent Day Retreat (EN)

A silent retreat day full of guided mindfulness meditations. It is a day to simply unwind and reconnect with yourself, to deepen your meditation and gain new insights. This day can be hugely supportive if you are facing a dilemma or looking for direction on the next steps in your life.

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Silent Day Retreat (EN)
Silent Day Retreat (EN)

Time & Location

20 May 2024, 10:00 – 16:00

Den Haag, Rooseboomstraat, Den Haag, Netherlands

About the event

"In silence everything is meditation"

In all the noise around us and within us, silence is a luxury nowadays. For a few hours not having to speak, not having to answer questions, not to be interrupted, not to be available to others, is so liberating and calming. As many participants have noticed after a silent day retreat, there is a big difference between being alone at home and enjoying a silence retreat. There is a power in being together in a group and holding the silence together. There is focus, relaxation and inner transformation happening a the same time. 

What does the day look like?

A day of silence in which you participate in professionally guided mindfulness meditations in a variety of forms: sitting, standing, moving, walking, lying down. In between there will be breaks to reflect in silence, to write, to stare out of the window. There is a tasty and healthy lunch that is enjoyed together in silence. It is like spending a day in a monastery. A short urban retreat to quiet the senses.

Why participate?

Silence gives meditation a soil and depth. It taps into an inner well of calm, wisdom and compassion. When we are constantly engaged in activities, whether it's work or socialising, watching TV or social media, our attention is directed outward and it's difficult to van observe what's happening in our physical and mental experience. We lose connection with our inner landscape.

Silence can also be frightening. Being totally focused on yourself, no distractions from conversations, can be scary. I often get the comment "Six hours in silence?!" and yet, afterwards, these participants are surprised at how quickly the time went by and how beneficial it was experienced.

This day can be immensely supportive if you are facing a dilemma or looking for direction on the next steps in your life. You can ask a hundred people for advice but ultimately you yourself have the only right answers. An inner guide that can show you the way.

In silence, you can transcend the material. It is the door to spirituality. Not for nothing that almost all religious traditions practice, to varying degrees, the practice of noble silence. Silence is used to create the right conditions to be with ourselves and explore our internal world.

It is essential that we find a moment from time to time to batten down the hatches and look closely at what is going on in our body and mind. When attention turns inward, there is the possibility of growth, change and transformation. Silence helps us cultivate this awareness.

You withdraw from the images, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and even thoughts of the world. These normally occupy our attention throughout the day. In meditation, we stop and look deeply, we look at what is alive in us right now.

Sometimes we are surprised by what we see. It is not that something new has emerged, but often it is that we could not see what is there in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It is like trying to look into a pond that has been churned up by a storm and is murky. All those raindrops distort the surface of the water. But when the downpour stops and everything becomes calm, our mind, like the pond, becomes clearer.

Cultivating this stillness - of speech and of the senses in general - allows us to stand still and see more clearly. This is what makes silence beneficial, what makes it noble, what makes it a basis for wisdom and compassion.

The good kind of silence

With noble silence, you start where you are. Initially it may be uncomfortable, but you can allow that discomfort to teach you how to become reacquainted with yourself. Hello there, good to see you again!

These small moments then lead to larger moments of deep concentration and peace that meditation gives us access to. Letting the mind be still, letting the mind be calm - that's really all it takes. It offers great inspiration to see things in a different way.

Silence should feel nourishing. Not necessarily comfortable, but always beneficial. We are not trying to cultivate aversive silence.

The trainer is there to guide this process with care and compassion. Of course, everyone is  free and you can withdraw at any time during the day or go outside for a while if you feel the need. You are also always allowed to break the silence (whispering) if you want to ask or discuss something important with the trainer.

Who is it for?

Everyone is welcome. However, it is advisable to have some meditation experience before joining this silence day. This experience does not need to be extensive but for an absolute beginner doing meditation for the first time, it can be a bit challenging.

This day also serves as a "refresh day" for anyone who has previously attended an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction training (with me or elsewhere).

Cost

The cost of this day includes a healthy and delicious vegetarian lunch.

Regular ticket: €85

Location:

Rooseboomstraat 47, Den Haag

Times:

On Monday 20 May 2024 from 10am - 4 pm (Whit Monday/2e Pinksterdag)

Language:

English

Group size:

Maximum group size is 8 people

Trainer

This MBSR training will be guided by Gaula Shehadeh. Gaula has the highest degree in mindfulness certification (category 1) and is a VMBN-registered trainer and also has many years of intensive meditation and retreat experience from her Buddhist background. She is often described as down-to-earth, wise, gentle with a touch of humour.  Also check further down the website for what previous clients have said or click on the Google reviews.

Reviews:

"Gaula is a talented and compassionate facilitator. Her studio is warm, inviting, and peaceful. She creates a serene environment for anyone looking to build on an existing meditation practice, or for those just beginning their mindfulness journey (like me!). I highly recommend attending one of Gaula's workshops!” 

- Colleen Boutcher (April 2024)

“Lovely day of stillness. Very well and clearly guided by Gaula in a pleasant environment. It was really very relaxing. Nice not to 'have to do' anything for a while and to be taken through the day by Gaula with several meditations, yoga and a delicious lunch. Highly recommended for people who really want to switch 'off' for a day.” 

- Snezana Nedeski (June 2023)

"It was a special day with Gaula during the silence retreat in the middle of the city. We experienced different forms of practice, meditation, breathing, mindful walking, yoga, mindful eating. It was a nice, well-organised and clean space, the food was fantastic and the atmosphere was excellent. Gaula's open and inviting attitude made it easy to surrender to the processes. Sometimes I was a bit shaky and confused in the in-between spaces/pauses, but the safety and openness did not put pressure on this. You sense from everything that Gaula is a huge power woman with a strong vision and ambition, well prepared too, but her wisdom and compassion are very personal and guiding, humble and sensitive. I can therefore highly recommend her guidance and workshops."

- Matthias Veltkamp (Sept 2022)

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