A new self-awareness program has been developed by Dr. Madan Kataria, MD, based on an age-old Indian wisdom stating that life is like a house with five rooms, those being - self, family, work, social and spiritual. If your life is to be balanced, every room needs to be well cared for and in order.
Dr. Kataria used this spiritual approach to spread the laughter mission worldwide. With hardly any resources or any great assets, he managed to set up thousands of Laughter Clubs in over 72 countries. It was spirituality which helped to cope with all obstacles and fulfill his dreams and aspirations.
The Laughter and Silence Retreat is slightly different from the popular Indian silent meditation, Vipassana, where complete silence without even eye contact is strictly observed for 10 days. During the Laughter and Silence Retreat, while observing periods of silence, unconditional periods of laughter will periodically be interjected throughout the day.
Seriously contemplating the condition of each room in your life during periods of silence, while at the same time listening to your thoughts and journaling all that surfaces during those periods, will allow you to develop fresh, new insights about how to effectively deal with events in your personal, professional, social, as well as spiritual life.
During intervals of complete silence, you will self-examine each room, and then break the silence with short periods of laughter and discussion. The goal of the program is to assist you in living a more balanced, happy, healthy, and peaceful life.
Why Spiritual Retreat
We all want to be happy and do not want any pain or suffering. Spiritual practices help us to tackle problems and face them with equanimity. We can take the ups and downs of life in our stride and no longer yo-yo between extremes–climb peaks of happiness and then plummet to depths of despair. It helps us cope. With a spiritual approach one can attain everything that one ever wanted with minimum effort. Spirituality helps to create new ideas, new visions, creativity, and intuitive abilities to reach our aspirations. It helps build a magnetic aura around you that attracts people towards you. It creates an energy that gives a sense of security, power and fearlessness. It also develops better Emotional Intelligence as it has the power to alter the negativity of the mind to a positive pattern.
A Typical Day
During the 5-day retreat, every morning there will be an orientation session with Dr. Kataria, detailing the importance on the focus room of the day. For 30 minutes in the morning, afternoon and evening the group will gather together to practice laughter meditation. In between those times, total silence will be observed. You will observe your breath, while contemplating the condition of the room of the day. During that time, every thought that enters your mind should be written down. Those intervals of silence must be completely without the use of computers or cell phones.
For two hours every evening, the entire group will gather together for a dialog program, sharing experiences of the day, known as “parallel learning”. No one will be teaching during this time, but you will be learning to listen to yourself. Not only are you your best teacher, but you will also be learning from the experience of others.
Dr Kataria will also share his personal stories, based on his belief systems of sensible and virtuous living will hopefully motivate and inspire you to cultivate a more positive mental attitude, and will enable you to glide through the challenges of life with a smile on your face.
A Brief Overview of the Concept
Focus and Concentration
Learning to focus, learning to direct your mental attention and energy toward a specific area in your life, will result in tremendous personal power, yielding unlimited growth potential. The practice of silence will unleash your power, allowing you to develop focus, concentration, along with improved efficiency within your daily life and ultimately, realization of your goals.
Contemplation is an active thought process used during the silence retreat, allowing your mind to recognize its current actions and behavior. During that active thought process, your mind will be able to focus more clearly, enabling you to develop specific plans, strategies and commitments necessary for those changes to occur, thus improving the overall quality of your life.
The mind has a sly way of slipping into the past; projecting into the future, while trying to avoid the present. The past is past – the future has not yet happened, so how can life, itself, be enjoyed if you are not clearly present in this very moment? During the silence retreat, learning to observe your breath will bring you more fully into the present. Placing awareness on your breath will allow you to become one with the moment, as you more fully experience the beauty of life as it truly and currently exists. All great thinkers and philosophers have created their best while in silence. It creates an introspective mood, allowing you to get in touch with the real you, your true self.
Realizations will come to you, enabling you to know more about yourself and your relationship with others. Ideas about what\'s going on with your life and how to handle those situations will come to you. Silence will allow you to hear your own voice without being contaminated by the voice of others. During silence, everything will stand still. You will no longer be doing, instead you will be looking dispassionately and objectively at your life. Unlike the false mind, your true mind, your true self, will be open to the truth and realities of life.
In silence, your inner voice will be heard more clearly. In silence, problems will be solved. In silence, there will be room for contemplation and introspection. In silence, new projects will be developed. In silence, there will be no distractions. In silence, there will be no fear. In silence, answers will be found. In silence, there is only love.