I've been asked by many people why I took 2 months to do a meditation retreat. In fact, why do I spend time meditating at all? The answer is pretty clear to me. Meditation is a great way to get to know myself. And the more I know myself, the closer to my potential that I can reach. Meditation is really about slowing down the external influences to the point where I can see who I am. Remove the contact with my family, and I see who I am in the roles I play with my family. I see how I play "mommy" and "partner". You can't see something when you're so close to it and constanting acting in the role. So with meditation, you don't set out to make changes, but when you see yourself as you really, you do make changes, but that happens naturally when you see things.
Meditation is a lot like therapy, except with therapy there's a starting point that things are wrong. In meditation, you start out in a neutral place of just wanting to see what is, and then from there you decide whether it's helpful to be a certain way or not, and adjust if you want to. And you give yourself the space to break out of patterns which often feel so set in stone that you think you'll never be able to change, but then you do. You can only do this by slowing everything down to a speed that allows you time to look at it. Hence, the silence rule. No talking except in class or with the teacher. In the silence, the mind slows down to a peaceful pace, just right for observing thoughts and feelings. For big-time talkers like myself, I get fast results from closing my mouth and listening more. Listening to my repetetive thoughts and feeling my repetetive feelings. 2 months is a long time. Plenty of time to watch cycles of thoughts and feelings. I realized that I truly am a moody person, who cycles through feelings and moods, even when I'm having no contact with anybody. Just me, and still there's moods. They're fun to watch from a point of equinimity. Like old friends.
Back in the city, I'm trying to find time to stay connected to this pace. To spend some time each day just chilling. Just sitting, not waiting, but listening. Listening to whatever is going on in this rich imaginiation of mine we call "my mind". Try it!