When actress and equal rights campaigner Emma Watson split from her boyfriend last year she said it was amicable — but still “horrendous.”
In the September issue of Vogue, Emma reveals that even before her relationship with rugby player Matt Janney ended she booked herself into a “silent retreat” to get over the heartache.
“I felt really uncomfortable, even before my relationship ended, I went on a silent retreat, because I really wanted to figure out how to be at home with myself,” she said.
Shortly before the difficult breakup, the former Harry Potter star booked herself into a facility in Canada’s Rocky Mountains that enforces a week-long silence vow.
If I think back to my previous breakups I can’t say silence was ever part of the getting-over-it plan. In fact, probably the opposite was true. Noisy tears and/or toasting singledom with girlfriends (and a bottle of wine or two) was always more my style. But maybe there’s something in this silence thing. After all Emma always looks so, well, serene.
So I’ve done a little research and if you think you could benefit from a week of complete silence — breakup or no breakup — here are a few options:
“Shattering the Great Doubt” 7-night Residential Retreat, Maenllwyd, Wales, Nov. 7 to 14
The intensive silent retreat from Western Chan Fellowship provides a “supportive environment” in which to practise the ancient Chinese Zen practices of investigating Huatou and Gongan (Koan). During the practice, “one is confronted by a realisation that one does not know the nature of existence and one’s fundamental assumptions of life are groundless,” say the organisers. Price on enquiry; waiting list reservations available.
The Sharpham Trust Barn Retreats, South Devon, every week of the year
If you’re not sure if you could handle a week of silence, you could ease yourself in with a six-day retreat with The Sharpham Trust, which includes one full day of silence. Also included are three 40-minute meditation sessions per day, outdoor walking meditation and “mindful work practice” in the organic garden and woods. £270.
Vipassana Meditation Centre, Herefordshire, courses run throughout the year
Dhamma Dipa (Island of Dhamma) is dedicated to the practice of Vipassana meditation, a “process of self-purification by self-observation.” The 10-day residential course is only for those serious about meditating: 4 a.m. starts, 10 hours of daily meditation and silence is observed for the first full nine days. Attendance is a “gift” from a previous student and all courses are run on a strict voluntary donation basis.