How To!

How To Survive a Silent Retreat

Daniel Thorson on finding strength through quiet meditation.

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Episode Notes

When Clare decided on a resolution for the year, she was looking for a new challenge. Instead of running a marathon like her partner, Clare—who “talks for a living”—decided to go completely silent. She signed up for a silent retreat. But as it approached, she wondered how she could possibly go an entire week without speaking. On this episode of How To!, we bring on Daniel Thorson of the Monastic Academy in Vermont and host of the podcast, Emerge. Daniel has spent over a year of his life in silent meditation, including a 75 day silent retreat at the beginning of the pandemic. He says his first silent retreat was the worst experience of his life — just what Clare wanted to hear — but there’s a reason he kept going back.

If you liked this episode, check out: How To Quiet the Chatter in Your Head and How To Sleep with Headspace’s Andy Puddicombe.

Do you have a burning question? Send us a note at howto@slate.com or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might have you on the show. Subscribe for free on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen.

Podcast production by Derek John and Rosemary Belson with help from Katie Shepherd and Kevin Bendis.

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About the Show

What if Dear Abby were an investigative reporter? Each week, Amanda Ripley and Carvell Wallace take on listeners’ toughest problems and, with the help of experts, find the answers to questions you’ve always wanted to ask but couldn’t. Until now.

Do you have a problem that needs solving? Have you found the advice on our podcast helpful? Send us a note at howto@slate.com or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might play it on the air.

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