After darkness comes light
How I spent seven days in a darkroom retreat

After darkness comes light

If someone had suggested to me 5 years ago to stay a full week in a pitch dark room with no electronic devices - just me, silence, and darkness - I would have seen this as some punishment 😨 But here I am, having recently returned from my 3rd retreat in the dark.

There is some magic in pulling the cord from the everyday social race, including cutting out all the noise you hear and see. I consider this one of the top ways to spend alone time as a kind of vacation to get a full rest, recharge, look inside yourself, and actually hear your own answers from within and not get influenced by the external world.

What is a dark room retreat?

Dark retreat practice originates from Tibetan Buddhism - it's about taking time off to look inside yourself and at your life, making corrections in the current route, and defining your path to move forward. In short - you'll spend alone time in a room that is completely absent of light that you cannot see even your hand moving right in front of your eyes. In my case, the room was straightforward - a bed, sitting chair, small kitchen with a kettle as the only instrument for cooking, and a separate attached toilet. You have to prepare your own food and bring all the groceries necessary. No smartphone or any other electrical device is allowed. You're totally isolated from the external world.

It's a spiritual experience where you have all the time in the world that you otherwise would fill with everyday routines. You can really take it slow, practice mindfulness in everything and take time to do nothing. With some variation, my typical daily itinerary looked like this:

Several meditations & rituals

Preparing and enjoying breakfast, lunch & dinner 

2-3 naps

Pondering & just lying around

Exercise with resistance bands

Journaling

A slow schedule coupled with darkness is a great catalyst for inner peace energy that enables you to think about life, who you are, where you come from, where you want to go, and the steps to get there. It's about getting to know yourself and ideal when you want to make changes in your life.

They say that you'll meet your fears in the darkness. I could see a correlation to Kabbalah that means "to receive." You need to make space or let go of things that don't serve you anymore to receive new wisdom. We're talking about facing fears, attachments, and anything else that stands in the way of your true purpose 🌟


When all the noise is gone, and you're at peace, you can see things much clearer.

I found myself thinking about gratitude in my life a lot. And connecting some new dots that I have missed to see or didn't dare to think about otherwise. When all the noise is gone, and you're at peace, you can see things much clearer.

Are you afraid in the dark?

Many have asked if you also get frightened in the dark? Sure - darkness is like looking into a mirror of your own fears. There were moments when I could hear a quiet squeak somewhere that gave me thrills. And your mind is proactive in filling those empty gaps with thoughts that are sometimes not positive. But there are ways to get over those moments by directing your focus elsewhere. For example, eating, exercising, or journaling.
I took quite many notes every day, and trust me that it's not the easiest to practice good handwriting when you don't actually see what you're doing 😂 So after leaving the dark, it will take me several hours to decipher and retype all the notes and add actions to my to-do list.


1. Outside of the place on the morning after.
2. Inner view of the room. Looks cool, right? 😜

How Dark Room Experience supports parenting?

If you want to live a fulfilling life and be great at parenting, you need to make sure your own cup is full before you can truly love and serve anyone else. I believe the trick is to do whatever gives you a sense of joy and pleasure in life. For me, I need to go on these kinds of adventures to feel alive. This helps to expands my horizon that might otherwise get quite narrow with normal routine and busyness.

If you're more into beach holidays, arts and crafts, climbing mountains, or striving in your career path, then go for it. Your life should inspire yourself before you ask your kids to do something more meaningful than watching YouTube videos excessively or anything else that cuts them out from the real action.

Getting out of your comfort zone and breaking old patterns is part of this. That's where the real magic happens.

Back to reality

Once the week is over and time is up, you'll be called out during the night when it's dark outside. Wearing sunglasses is still a good idea 😎 Typically you'll head to a warm sauna to wash off all the baggage that you want to let go of in your life 🧳 The world looks really different afterward. During the first week after the dark, you'll be likely very sensitive to the bright light, sounds, and people with an intensive vibe.


Darkness is the true comfort zone for our soul that we should be more afraid to leave.

After darkness, your intuition and subconscious mind are more open for 1-3 months, so it's a perfect time for breaking old patterns. You're able to identify better the social masks that you're wearing and notice the areas where you might be cheating yourself by not being honest. Perhaps it's the other way around that darkness is the true comfort zone for our soul that we should be more afraid to leave. 

In conclusion - if you're interested in shining brighter in life, seeking new clarity in your life vision, and becoming a better version of your true self, I recommend giving darkness a thought.

In Estonia, two facilities offer this kind of service. I've been to Leesoja that is operated by a witch called Thule and his partner Erik. The other location I've heard of is Pimesikk. There might be a few months waiting line, so if you're thinking of going, then plan ahead.

With love and light 🙏
Andres

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