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[TRANSCRIPT] Why Do a Silent Retreat with Michael Patrick Miller

Gloria Grace Rand: Hello. Namaste. I am so excited about today’s episode because I’ve got a special guest joining me and he is someone who actually, indirectly is responsible for this podcast because he is someone who inspired me to really nurture my relationship with God and to pay more attention to it. And, then to even start speaking out about it. And I, for that, I am eternally grateful. So my guest today is Michael Patrick Miller. So welcome Patrick.

Michael Patrick Miller: Nice to be here.

Gloria Grace Rand: Well, thank you. And Michael is someone who has devoted his life to helping entrepreneurs and public figures experience freedom, abundance, and inner peace. He leads workshops, retreats, and events to liberate others and bring a new art in businesses into existence. And he is an author. He’s also spoken internationally. He started a leadership coaching and training firm. He’s also got a BS in chemical engineering as well. So that’s an interesting background. Worked at a Fortune 500 company and facilitated a leadership and coach training programs. And he’s been on stage too, and as if that isn’t enough, he sings and has acted in musicals and, um, incorporates those lessons and to his many works. So you’re just a Renaissance man, I think.

Michael Patrick Miller : Yeah. I didn’t try to be, but it seems I ended up this way.

Gloria Grace Rand: You know, I think it’s cool that, uh, you’ve done lots of different things and one of the things that you have done is something else that we share in common. And one of the reasons why I wanted you on the Live Love Engage podcast today is that you and I have both attended a silent retreat. I did a Vipassana 10 day silent retreat about a year ago, which totally, really changed my life in so many different ways. It was amazing. And I know that you have done it. Several, uh, retreats of various lengths. So I wanted to ask you what prompted you to do, to go onto a silent retreat? Cause when I talked to a lot of my friends and they, number one, they heard I was going to do that, they were like, you are crazy. We are never going to be able to do that. So what prompted you?

Michael Patrick Miller : Yeah. Or as I was actually talking to someone yesterday that was saying something similar to me. Like that’s crazy. I could never do that. And. And so I explained a little bit about why I started going to those things. And for me there was a great deal of, suffering that was happening. And, and suffering is normal for all humans. And it’s there to actually guide us back to God. Like that’s why it’s there. And, and so when you’re identified as the mind, as the suffering that’s happening, the person, at some point you have to surrender and find some other way to live and you’d be, you essentially give up on trying to do it the way of the ego. It’s trying to accomplish more, being more, all of this stuff. So you have to reach this point where you give up. And I reached that point and I remember spending, like I, I, I did a silent day first. Like that was the first thing. And I just did it alone in my apartment. And, and I remember being terrified and, and then it was beautiful and I was like, Oh that wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. You know? Cause the mind is not wanting you to go on a silent retreat. Cause that means it loses its power. And so I just kept like doing little experiments here and there. And then, a person that I respect very dearly, invited me on a silent retreat and there’s a few people in my life where if they invite me to do something, there’s just this instinctual knowing to follow that; it’s just a resonance. And, and I did that. And. It was such a, such a beautiful divine experience. It was in Crestone, Colorado, and I really liked it. And that’s the thing, when you really like the silence, it just grows. It’s like that. It’s your heart that’s loving it. And, and so from there it just kept unfolding and spending more and more time in silence.

Gloria Grace Rand: That’s it. That’s awesome. I, yeah, it is interesting when I know, when I was on my silent retreat too, I, I’ve, well, I guess partly because I grew up not exactly an only child, but I did spend a lot of time alone as a kid. My sister was 10 years older than me, and she moved out of the house when I was seven, so I, I was used to that. But it is different. To then not talk to anyone else and not have anyone else talking to you. Um, how did you find that experience? Cause it’s not so much cause it, yeah. It seems like, you know, you’re, you’re comfortable being quiet yourself. But what was it like then not hearing anyone else talking to you?

Michael Patrick Miller : Yeah. And I’ll preface that with most of my life, I was not comfortable being quiet or being alone. The vast majority of my life, I was very social, always around people and, and there was a way of avoiding that silence with people. So that was normal for me for a long time. And, so when, when getting to the retreat, again, it was building this capacity to be in silence through meditation as well, right? The daily meditation practice. And I remember being there and feeling so relieved in this first one to not have to interact with anyone, to not have to be any, anything for anyone else there. And, and it was just very, very nice. And then on another retreat. So that one there was, um, you could interact with people in some way, like sign language, not, not much, but like a little bit. But then the other one was just no looking at anyone. So you’re totally within yourself. And that was even more relieving because we don’t actually understand how much our nervous system, our body is activated by other people and our need to interact with them. And, and when the nervous system is activated in like a fight, flight, freeze response rate, as some sort of automatic reaction, cause we are animals in many ways. Uh. Then, then your consciousness goes into that lower vibrational state.

Gloria Grace Rand: Right, right.

Michael Patrick Miller : And you’re not as open to to everything that’s happening and it’s more like a robot. Yeah.

Gloria Grace Rand: Yeah. So what did you… How was it when you got done doing the retreat, what was your life like? Did you see any sort of immediate shift in how you were managing things, or was it more of a gradual?

Michael Patrick Miller : Yeah, well, there, there’s always been an immediate significant shift after, after a silent retreat. And one of the first, the first one I remember very well. Uh, of course there was a sense, a deeper sense of peace and being, but poetry actually came out of that for me, which is something I love very much right now. And I find in a lot of these, um, sat songs, right? So community gatherings with a teacher, uh, that poetry is, is a wonderful thing that’s loved by most people. Because it’s this, it’s this art form that can point to God. And since words fall short, always nothing, nothing can actually do. It’s just something that’s really admired by people that have this deep experiential knowing, uh, of God.
And so I started writing after that, which was beautiful, opened, opened that creative channel for me. Uh. But then after another one, there was just like an, uh, a deeper, a deeper seeing, uh, that, that I am not this body. I am not separate. Right? It is just a deeper experiential knowing, uh, that, that, comes before thought, before remembering before anything. And. And that’s been with me since then, and it’s just the, the ground that I rest in.

Gloria Grace Rand: Hmm.

Michael Patrick Miller : Yeah. All right. You can always fall back on it.

Gloria Grace Rand: Yeah, that’s true. Now, I know you did… Um, what was that? Was it last year or the year before you took, uh, an adventure and way something that I’ve, I’ve watched movies about, um, I believe you went over to Europe and did a, uh, a different type of retreat, uh, uh, taking a walk. Can you share a little bit about what your, where are your journey took you and what you did?

Michael Patrick Miller : Yeah, so the, the journey was to the Camino de Santiago, which is a pilgrimage. Uh, the oldest one is across Spain, so it’s from, uh, France, Saint John Pied-de-Port to, uh, Santiago in Spain, and it’s about 500 miles.
Yeah. And you walk it. And that’s the point of the Pilgrimage. And I had a friend mentioned that a couple of years prior and was like, I’ll never do that. I have no interest in that. I don’t have an interest in that. But, uh, but God has a way of, of breaking you down to where you’re wildly open to new things. And so I ended up, I ended up there and there was, there was a bit of walking out on life, like letting go of, of the things that I was hanging onto and such as the business relationships, where I was living. All of these things, like ideas of the future and let those all go to go on this walk and I mean, it was one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve had and, and very, very fond of walking now. But you, you know, I, I you, I did it alone. And most people do it alone. Some people go with other people, but there’s a way in which the Camino is just a, a microcosm of life. So you have this journey that’s over, it’s 500 miles. That’s a course of 30 to 40 days, 50, if you’re really going slow, um, and you get to walk it your own way. And that’s one of the lessons of the Camino is, is it’s your Camino and there’s this understanding when you’re walking, you might meet people and walk with them and then just say goodbye like mid-sentence cause you don’t want to anymore. And they just keep walking. Or are you, you hang out with someone for the whole day and then you sleep and you get up and you leave without telling them, and it’s just this, this beautiful way of living, and you end up bumping into people like two weeks later. Right? And, and when that happens, you know you’re meant to see them again. There’s just, there’s just like something there to explore. And you know, we’re with technology these days and having the phones and we can text everyone we want whenever we want it. It can block some of that just magical unfolding life, life, bringing the people that you’re meant to have to you.

Gloria Grace Rand: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. It’s, um, it is interesting how you can develop relationships. I mean, I’m still in contact with a couple of the women who I met at my retreat last year. And, and again, the beauty of phones is that we use WhatsApp, and so we’re able to check in with each other every now and then and just to see how things are going.
Um, but I think it’s, it’s really wonderful to have that shared experience. It is something different than not everyone that you meet in your life can appreciate, but you have this new connection because of what you shared. So it’s really…

Michael Patrick Miller : cool. Yeah, and that’s the thing, when I meet someone that has done the Camino or the silent retreats or any of these things, there’s, there’s a resonance, there’s an alignment. These days, you know, one of the brilliant positives is spending a lot of time alone is that you know yourself more and you start to create firmer boundaries in life and just what you want to do, who you want to spend your time with. And at this point there, there is no one in my life that does not have God at the forefront of their life. Which, which I could not say a few years ago.

Gloria Grace Rand: That’s good, I guess. Right. I’m trying to think how to respond to that. That’s interesting. But, um, but I think that’s important and yeah, absolutely. Uh, setting boundaries, because you get to choose who you want to spend the time with, who you want to spend your time with. This is… This is the walk you’re going to have on this earth and this time. And it is important to be able to make sure that you’re surrounding yourself with people who you are in alignment with. And that’s, that’s good that you have found that you are surrounding yourself with those types of people. So, um.
Do you have, uh, some advice maybe for someone who maybe is curious about doing a silent retreat and, and what would you, what would you advise them to do if they’re considering it?

Michael Patrick Miller : Yeah. Well, one thing that I would strongly advise is to, to ask the people that you admire in your life, if they’ve ever been to one, or if there’s any teachers that they would recommend. So I know, um, and I, and I know like Vipassana is always, always a wonderful option. And then the style that I’ve done more of is sitting with a teacher.
So it’s silent. And the teacher will, will give Sat Song on, um, like different times, which is speaking. And, uh, I can recommend Sharon Landreth. I can recommend Jeannie Zandi. And I can recommend Mooji from personal experience. And so those three are all wonderful if you resonate with, with my energy. But. Definitely be curious and just look at what’s out there and then feel you have to feel. This is the most important thing is to feel in your body what you resonate with. Because if you get, if you’re like, eh, if you’re a maybe or like, ah… don’t go to that one. There’s no, there’s no reason to go to that one. There should be a hell yes in your body somewhere. And if, and if it isn’t there yet, don’t force yourself to go like do something else, right?

Gloria Grace Rand: That’s right. Yeah. Yeah. There’s all kinds of different ways that you can get closer to God. Um, I mean, just walking out in nature somewhere. I mean, I’ve loved

Michael Patrick Miller : camping…

Gloria Grace Rand: yeah, camping is great. I’ve, I’ve been spending. It’s taken me for years that I’ve lived here, but to spa. I go Friday mornings, I drive for an hour and I go to the beach and sit there. I’ve been writing my book there, but just I, me and the water is where I really feel close to God there. And so that can be, and I meditate there sometimes too as well. So, and just even just staring and it doesn’t have to be closed eye meditation either.

Michael Patrick Miller : Yeah, exactly. And that’s a, it’s a beautiful way to build your capacity is to go, go to these places in nature and just sit. And we’re in a society where we’re conditioned to have to be going and doing something and being better. And all of this stuff is just driving us all the time. And, and it’s just not true. It’s not true. So. You know, I, I used to have a story, cause my parents would tell me I was lazy all the time from like sitting inside. It’s go out and do something, go out and do something. That’s just like drilled into my head. Uh, but I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time just like sitting on the beach or sitting in my space here or walking in nature and sitting.

Gloria Grace Rand: Yeah. It’s, it’s good to be either alone with our thoughts or not even thinking and just letting what comes from the heart up instead and just being one with God. So I think, yeah, I’ve been spending more time even just doing that during the week, is spending more time sitting and, and just not doing anything. Cause it is, we need that time. We really do need that time to just shut off from the world for a little bit. And…

Michael Patrick Miller : In every interview I do or any conversation I do, I stress the importance of the body because it’s been such a, such a game changer for me. And, and for so long, like in, uh, a lot of spiritual teachings, meditation teachings, it doesn’t have that focus on the body, but if it does, i’s a very light focus. But, but actually. We’ve been desensitized our entire lives, like taught to ignore the things that are happening. So, so a lot of times when I’m sitting, I’m feeling what’s happening. And if there’s like a tightness here, or if there’s a churning, you’re a vibration. And I’ll bring my attention to these things and see what, what wants to arise. Because these sensations is the body talking to us. A lot of times it’s linked to trauma, which we all experience when we’re children. And, and this trauma, uh, needs to be released for us to be our full expression.

Gloria Grace Rand: Yeah.

Michael Patrick Miller : Which is why we’re all, we’re all dancing around on this planet.

Gloria Grace Rand: right?

Michael Patrick Miller : It’s like…

Gloria Grace Rand: Absolutely. Yeah. And yeah, paying attention to the body. That’s definitely something I’ve done much more of in the last, even just the last year, because I know when I feel something or other, it’s usually related to something I’m either thinking about or, or something. It’s tied to some emotion or something. I’ve gotten very intuned with… It was like, Oh, okay, what’s going on? Yeah. Okay. I know you’re trying to tell me something. Let me figure this out. So and simply. So, um, before we close out, what are, what are you up to lately? So when. It’s new and exciting in your life that you could share.

Michael Patrick Miller : Yeah. The thing I’m most excited about, I was doing right before I got on this is playing my harmonium and sigingn Kirtan. So, and, and again, I credit this to the silence and just sitting a lot. There was a time where, uh. the desire to learn Kirtan just rose in me. And I’ve always loved singing, but there’s always this like resistance state to Kirtan, which is chanting. It’s chanting basically. Thank you God all the time in different ways. And, and I always had dreamed of being a musician. I’d tried to learn instruments, but not, I never actually picked them up. And there was a training here, uh, at this place, Bhakti Yoga Shala in Santa Monica with this guy Govindas. And it was just the most beautiful experience. And I learned how to lead Kirtan and so now I, it’s just very natural. Like I love my harmonium just, just like lovely love it, it, and it’s ridiculous how much I love it today in some ways. But I also love bringing music to people and helping them to open their voice. So this is something I know we talked about, but singing is so important. It’s so important for everyone, and now I have a vehicle to do it more effectively, to actually allow people to do this. So I’ve been very excited about that. I love Kung Fu. I’ve been studying Kung Fu for a year, so it’s a. It’s, it’s really touching this, this like warrior part of my soul. And, uh, and what else? There’s a, there’s a, uh, event I hold once a month that I love as well, called sacred expression night. And. It’s an open art sharing night. So like an open mic that doesn’t suck and you’re not trying to perform really well. Uh, and people can share whatever art they want on stage for seven minutes. And that’s, I mean, it’s profound. Like you want to talk about experiencing God art, you know, create art. See are, just let, let the, the art, the creativity flow through you. And that’s a great way to connect to grab too.

Gloria Grace Rand: Yeah. That’s awesome. Oh, I wish I wasn’t on the other side of the country and I come out there and, and see that and, or participate in it as well. It would be awesome. So, um, how, if someone would like to get in touch with you, cause I know you still do some coaching as well, right? But yeah. All of that. How? How can someone get a hold of you if they would

Michael Patrick Miller : serve you? If you’re resonating with me, you want to reach out and say, hi, my website is Michael Patrick you can find out information. I do a bunch of cool things with coaching. These is days, soul business alignment, sessions, adventures, and then normal partnerships. And then I do workshops and different things at different times throughout the year. So. You can get on my email list, you can reach out and contact me. Say hello, whatever feels good.

Gloria Grace Rand: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being here and being a guest on the podcast. I appreciate it so much and it’s been great to see you and catch up and learn a little bit more about what you’re up to lately. So I appreciate you so much. Thank you.

Michael Patrick Miller : Thank you.

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About the Author
Known as The Insightful Copywriter, Gloria Grace Rand is also an inspirational speaker, author and host of the Live. Love. Engage. podcast. Prior to launching her SEO Copywriting business in 2009, Gloria spent nearly two decades in television, most notably as writer and producer for the award-winning PBS financial news program, “Nightly Business Report.”

Gloria turned to writing as a way to communicate, since growing up with an alcoholic father and abusive mother taught her that it was safer to be seen and not heard. But not speaking her truth caused Gloria problems such as overeating, control issues, and an inability to fully trust people. After investing in coaching & personal development programs, and studying spiritual books like “A Course in Miracles,” Gloria healed her emotional wounds. Today, she helps entrepreneurs develop clarity, confidence and connection to the truth of who you are, so you can create a business that has more impact, influence and income!

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