*I attended a silent retreat in Tagaytay along with 40 other brave souls. I was asked to share this during the mass in place of the usual homily of the priest. So for 10 minutes, I managed to fulfill one of my dreams of becoming a priest. Hahaha! The silent retreat lasted for 3 long days and this is a summary of all of my insights. I hope it makes sense.*
Initially, I thought that after joining this retreat, I would gain deeper insights, new perspectives, new ways of making sense of everything that’s been happening to me. To be honest, there were no new insights, no new perspectives, no new ways of making sense of the things around me, because even before the retreat, I’ve already developed a habit of reflecting and introspecting that garnered me the new perspectives I’ve been looking for. The retreat was basically a confirmation of the habit that I’ve developed over the years. However, maybe it wasn’t new intellectual insights that I needed.
For those of you who know me, or at least have had a conversation with me, I think you would agree that I am a person with depth (malalim akong tao). My course, Psychology, has given me the lenses on how to be more observant of my behavior and the corresponding intentions. In other words, I know what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. However, after immersing myself in silence, I saw that this is my biggest problem: I think too much. I don’t feel remorse of shame for my sins because I knew my reasons for acting so. I don’t feel despair in a desperate situation because I know that this was a part of the bigger picture of things. I’ve prevented myself from feeling frustrated and angered at the fact that I can’t pursue my dream and passion of becoming a teacher because of the present circumstances in my life. I did not feel because I had no reason, that everything made sense.
Why did I do this? I did not want to get hurt. I’ve given my mind full authority over my being in order to avoid pain. In a sense, I thought too much but felt too little because my mind, which initially protected my fragile heart from breaking, in the end, imprisoned it. Thus, I had no reason to feel. But I later realized that not everything had to make sense—not everything had to be clear, precise accurate, and logical. Things didn’t have to be precise, accurate, and empirical to able to produce music. Chocolate doesn’t have to make sense in order to taste good. When you love someone or something, you just do. The more conditions we set for life, the less we live.
In the short time that I spent in silence, I realized (or better yet) I felt that I didn’t feel enough. As I go down the hill, I’m excited to find new ways of conversing without words, hearing without notes, feeling without touch, sensing without perceiving, living without limits, and loving without reasons.
When we finally start marching down the hill (to quote Fr. Dacanay, SJ,), “Let us not lose sight of the big picture”: Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam. Whatever new insights we gain, new feelings we experience, new ways of growing; whatever triumphs or failures; whatever we do or become, we offer it all for His greater glory.