A Week in the Darkness – Silvie Dymáková

In the Czech Republic, ‘Dark Therapy’ as it is known there has become incredibly popular in recent years. By all accounts there are at least 15 providers of Darkness Retreats in some shape or form, ranging from a relatively basic hut on someone’s private property, to more specialist and sophisticated clinics, some of which have been featured on this blog.

Word got around that a prolonged stay in darkness could be highly beneficial, and as such many of the facilities are booked up for months in advance. In 2014, news of this phenomena caught the attention of Czech television company ‘Česká televize’, who decided to send one of their reporters, Silvie Dymáková, to do a Darkness Retreat for herself, and record it all using a thermographic camera.

The video below starts on Silvie’s third day, because she pretty much slept for most of the first two. This is common for most Darkness Retreat participants. It is in Czech with English subtitles. (See video summary below)

To begin with, the programme introduces some of the history behind times spent in the dark, including where it all started in Tibet, when monks would spend up to 7 weeks in complete isolation and silence in darkness, to promote self-discovery and spiritual growth, as well as to prepare for their journey to the next world.

Dr. Andrew Urbiš then speaks about some of the physical benefits people might experience – he was the person who introduced this practice to the Czech Republic. It was with him, at his clinic in Celadna – the Beskydské Rehabilitation Center – that Silvie did her 7 day retreat. It begins with a series of tests to assess her mental wellbeing and exhaustion levels, which show her to be highly stressed.

The documentary highlights that it is important to be fully committed to your Darkness Retreat and to go into it with the intention to get the most from your stay, otherwise it can feel like you are a prisoner, and may not be a positive or beneficial experience.

Before Silvie’s retreat formally begins, she is shown all of the facilities with the light on, so that she can acquaint herself with where everything is and how it all works with regards to food, personal hygiene, daily support from Dr. Urbiš, what to do in an emergency etc.

Having spent most of the first 2 days sleeping, Silvie has lost any real sense of time, especially as her food is being brought at random times throughout her stay. By the third day, the darkness is starting its ‘repair’ and Silvie is beginning to experience lucid dreaming, and has stopped perceiving reality. It gives her a bit of a wobble, because she’s uncertain if what is happening is real or imagined, so feels a bit scary.

As her time in the darkness increases, Silvie starts to sense the presence of other beings in her room, though after a while this begins to feel the darkness getting friendlier, although still thinks she is not alone. Her subconscious is doing its work, giving her flashbacks from childhood,plus she is experiencing light phenomena, that is also quite common. Once she gets through the initial crisis of anxiety, she then feels like her stay in darkness is the best form of regeneration, which can awaken creativity and be a huge source of energy.

At the end of her ‘Week in the darkness’,Silvie is most looking forward to the sun, music and seeing the people she loves, as well as to having the best pasta in the world. She leaves her room at dawn, for a gentle reintroduction to the light. Many people have a highly emotional reaction to seeing the light again, and Silvie is no exception.

At the end, she says she has more energy, feels calmer and her digestion is better. Her dreams remain in her memory, as vivid as ever, but she’s still not sure if they were real or imagined…

Silvie later received the Czech Lion Award for Best Documentary Feature for this programme.

Tangible Soul Energy During the Darkness Retreat (Videos)

During Darkness Retreats, my guests usually have intense spiritual experiences, including them often being able to physically see their own soul energy with their own eyes. We have been fortunate enough to capture some of these experiences on film, and deeply thank our guests for giving us permission to do so.

At the end of one of my client’s Darkness Retreat, I (Bharati) guided him to the Temple Room. The light flashes that could be seen by my guest during his time in the darkness were still visible even in the light, and could be recorded too. When I started chanting the mantra “Arut perum jothi, arut perum jothi, thani perum karunai, arut perum jothi” the lights seemed to get even stronger.

(There are various interpretations of what the mantra means in English, but in essence it is saying “Vast Grace-Light, Vast Grace-Light, Supreme Compassion,Vast Grace-Light”. Indeed, it certainly seemed to have the desired effect!)

Here, we see a participant who actually spent a total of 49 days in the dark. In her case, visible soul energy (also called orbs) could very clearly be seen too – just see how many orbs there are and how fast they move. Incredible! Recording this energy of the soul was truly an extraordinary and moving moment.

Sophie’s Experience in a Darkness Retreat

Many people have participated in our Darkness Retreats, whether in India, Columbia, and now at our wonderful retreat centre ‘Source of Power – Spiritbalance Sadhana Ashram’, in the beautiful Black Forest region of Germany.

We are proud to present a number of videos where some our clients talk about their personal experiences, and how Darkness Retreats have affected their lives. This is Sophie’s story. Enjoy!

(However, if you prefer, there is also a summary of what Sophie talks about below the video)

Sophie is from Mexico and she said it was a very, very fantastic experience for her because it was like being reborn for her. She has a lot of fears and she experienced a lot of transformation in relation to her “inner woman”. It’s like in the Darkness Retreat, you meet your soul and you can trust and let it go; now she feels like she has lost 13kg. She feels very light.

She ate a raw food diet in the retreat, which she doesn’t normally have, and she couldn’t believe how good she felt on it, so thinks she will change how she lives, she feels so great. It’s an experience she recommends for every one, because you really find the light inside you.

Spiritual Experiences in a Darkness Retreat

Watch as Martin Glanert, (Bharati’s husband and a Darkness Retreat Counsellor himself) talks about spiritual practices, and the kind of spiritual experiences people might have during their Darkness Retreat. Enjoy!

(However, if you prefer, there is also a summary of what Martin talks about below the video)

Martin has just finished a 10-day Darkness Retreat, and he shares all that can happen within one (not, not all of this happened to him in his Retreat – his summary is based both on his own experience and that of other Retreat guests who have shared their what happened for them with us). Your personal experience can depend on how long you are in the Darkness Retreat for, how much meditation you have done before, and how intensively you are present in the Darkness Retreat; what your aim is for doing one.

Some people just want to get away from their busy lives and relax in the darkness, and that’s OK. Even they can still have spiritual experiences during their Retreat. However, there are also those who really long to experience the Divine and want deeper spiritual experiences. So in those cases, we chant mantras with our guests and meditate together, which increases the speed of everything happening.

So what can happen? After a few days, you start to recognise that even in absolute darkness, it’s not completely dark. As your eyes start to adjust, the black turns to grey and you begin to see material things and non-material things. That’s the idea of Darkness Retreats – normally you rely on your visual senses throughout your daily life – 80% of information comes through your visual senses, and so when you block that, you have no way of looking at life how you usually do. So then astral dimensions start to emerge, because the gap between the two realities gets smaller the longer you are in the Retreat. Then you may start to see lights, sense energy and even potentially hear astral sounds.

Spiritual experiences in a Darkness Retreat www.darknessretreat.net Bharati Corinne GlanertOur guests are actually given the option of having a mirror in their room, as it can act as a gateway to other dimensions, so it’s much easier to see the light and hear the sounds with one. Though some people can be a little scared by that thought, which is why it is optional. So as mentioned, within a few days, the ‘astral disco’ often begins – lights of different colours, shapes and intensity. In that way, the darkness goes away. Every brain interprets things differently, because the astral dimension is very different from our human one, so each of us makes our own interpretation.

A big goal for many participants is to have an astral being come and give Darshan in physical form, and most guests who have stayed for a longer period of time (at least 6-7 days) have that experience. One such time was with a guest who rang the bell for someone to come (all guests have a bell to ring, to access support and/or to share their experiences at any time of day or night) and as Bharati arrived, she saw a purple light shining out from under the door of the guest’s Darkness Retreat room. Apparently he had seen a short man with a white scarf around his head, and a very soft face. Later, we showed him a painting of Vallala Ramalinga, and he confirmed it had been him. This can be a very beautiful and heart-opening experience.

Why do these spiritual experiences  happen in the darkness? Because once we let go of the visual sense, we also let go of the concept of the outer world. We come back to what is within us, that Divine source of information and knowledge. We understand things more clearly, have insights about ourselves and our heart opens, because it is easier for other souls to connect with us when we are in that state, and share their wisdom.

We are happy to connect you with other people who have completed a Retreat with us, even those who had no spiritual background, to share details of their experiences with you. However, the only true way is to experience it for yourself, because belief about certain things can only take you so far. So if you would like to know more about doing a Darkness Retreat for yourself, please contact us, we are more than happy to answer all of your questions.

Daniella’s Experience in a Darkness Retreat

Many people have participated in our Darkness Retreats,  whether in India, Columbia, and now at our wonderful retreat centre ‘Source of Power – Spiritbalance Sadhana Ashram’, in the beautiful Black Forest region of Germany.

We are proud to present a number of videos where some our clients talk about their personal experiences, and how Darkness Retreats have affected their lives. This is Daniella’s story. Enjoy!

(However, if you prefer, there is also a summary of what Daniella talks about below the video)

Daniella is from Monterey in Mexico, and it was her first Darkness Retreat. She didn’t know what she was going through and found it very challenging, though she also said it was great. Some fears came up, that she was already aware of but didn’t know they were so big. One of them was fear of the dark, the second one was of being very silent, though she said she learned to empower herself through this experience. There were a lot of people in the (group) retreat, so she learned to be tolerant, respectful and loving, because everyone was passing through different experiences, some great, some difficult yet it was easy to find support from all of the people in the group.

She said she became a family with them, that she loves every one of them, and she took a little piece of their hearts with hers. Also, Balakrishna (Martin) and Bharati were two loving souls, very supportive, without them it wouldn’t be so good. Yesterday when they got out of the dark it felt like everything was in 3D, nature bursting with colour and she was filled with joy. Then today when she woke up she said she had never felt this joy before. She was laughing and felt very good.

Daniella is not sure if she’ll do it again, though she hopes so and recommends it to everyone. She said “You understand the need to be in the dark, to see the light in your heart and your world in a different way”.

The Secret of Darkness Retreats

What is a Darkness Retreat? How does it work? How do participants experience their time in the darkness?

Watch as Martin and Bharati talk about Darkness Retreats and their personal experience of them:

(However, if you prefer, there is also a condensed summary of what they talk about below the video)

A Darkness Retreat is a very special form of meditation, considered to be a shortcut to enlightenment, used by many cultures. Many of the experiences we will be telling you about come from Darkness Retreats of 10 or 15 days, or even longer, when you don’t even need to meditate, the guru is the darkness, the darkness is the guru. The meaning of the word ‘guru’ comes from India, and doesn’t just mean ‘spiritual teacher’ but also ‘the energy that brings the light’. And that’s exactly what a Darkness Retreat does, paradoxically – it brings the light.

During their Retreat, many people physically see lights with their eyes, and they say the dark gets lighter. During the first few days, the mind can often be busy, and doesn’t accept the darkness, which is why we recommend Retreats of more than 7 days, which gives the mind time to quieten down, and the dark can show you beautiful effects.

Martin and I have two places we can host Darkness Retreats, our main retreat centre in Germany, called ‘Source of Power – Spiritbalance Sadhana Ashram’ where we have six rooms for Darkness Retreats, as well as an Ashram that we can use in India. We also ‘travel on command’ to work with groups in other countries. Martin always says that when working with people, Bharati is for the soul, and he is for the mind (he studied psychology), so they make a good team.

He says that in the darkness, everything gets shut out and your normal way of perceiving the world from the outside, is not possible any more through your visual senses – 80% of sensory information we receive is through our visual senses – so when that is shut out, the brain starts searching for information everywhere (it is an information machine). When it can’t find it outside, it turns inside, which has a very profound impact on the mind, as well as body and soul.

So when people come to us for a Darkness Retreat, we talk to them and offer our support 1:1. We currently have a woman in a Darkness Retreat called Rosita, who has been meditating for a long time, and had spiritual experiences even from her first day, whereas for some people it takes 3-4 days, or even longer for that to happen. So when your physical eyes are shut off, eventually your third eye opens instead, and you are able to have glimpses of other energies and the spiritual world. Those people who have meditated a lot often have those experiences sooner. Though even people who haven’t meditated still have powerful experiences. The experience of time itself can also change, often feeling like it has speeded up.

Often when you let go of your goals of what you want to achieve or experience, the guidance of the darkness, the guru itself, can take you to where you need to go inside. It can be like an internal reset.

Bharati says she becomes very sensitive when guests are in a Darkness Retreat, often sensing when someone might need her to talk to them, or even having dreams about the guest and what is coming up for them. All kinds of things can come up to be released, which is why it is important to have someone to talk to. So we always have someone available 24/7, you just need to ring the little bell that is provided to each guest. Though some people prefer for their Darkness Retreat Counsellor to come at a pre-agreed time every day for an hour, and if something comes up outside of that time, they’ll deal with it themselves. Though they know there is still always someone on call if need be.

There are no set experiences we can say you will definitely experience, because it is different for everyone. Though it can really depend on how open you are to it, how much you are willing to go into it and allow the energy to show you the path. Don’t hold on, and release your expectations, as this creates spiritual tension – just let go. The more you relax, the more you can experience the spiritual vibrations.

The impact can last much longer than just your time in the Darkness Retreat too, it can change something deep within you. Which is why we recommend you don’t immediately return to your ‘normal life’ afterwards, but take some time to assimilate what has happened. In the dark, you become very sensitive. You are like a baby in the womb and are born again. Everything looks so different. You also see so much more beauty and intensity (such as colours) in the world once you come out. You might also be very sensitive to noise.

It’s like seeing things in a completely different light, and you look with your heart rather than just your eyes. Sometimes it’s difficult to say whether the greatest bliss comes from the experiences in the dark, or from those when you come out, because they are so amazing. People can be more sensitive to taste, to friends, to situations and you listen to your soul more, without running so much through your mind. Many people become much more psychic during their retreat, and for some that ability remains afterwards.

After a while in the darkness, you get so used to seeing or perceiving in a different way, that sometimes you don’t even realise that you are seeing something you wouldn’t usually see. For some people it can initially be quite hard to accept what is going on and may feel quite frightening; to realise you’re not alone, to have energy all around you, to hear sounds, to see light around you where there couldn’t be any light, so it’s important to have someone with you to tell you that’s normal, that it’s a good sign and you can relax, to accept the gift the darkness has for you. It washes out our system and our aura, so it’s important to trust our energy system and the process.

One of the group retreats Bharati offers in Germany is about astral travel (or astral projection). She has been studying it for many years, ever since she had her own experience a long time ago, before she even knew anything about it. Then when she did her own Darkness Retreat, she had an out of body experience on the first night. So she says it is very useful to do certain techniques in the Retreat if you are looking for a short cut to astral projection, which she can go through with you.

Food can also play an important role in your Darkness Retreat. Food can ground you and sometimes there are people who are always hungry in their retreat, and then there are some who just want to fast (having solely water and herbal tea, maybe smoothies and juices too). So when fasting, their body becomes even more light, their body becomes clear. (Note – when the video was made, we mentioned we only served vegetarian food, however now we only serve raw vegan food at our new retreat centre in Sasbachwalden.) A lot of people come to really like the raw food, because they are eating with their taste buds and not their eyes (not that raw food doesn’t look good, on the contrary, with all of the different colours it can look amazing! However, in the dark, people cannot determine what it is they are eating to make any judgements about it, they just know how it tastes and feels in their body).

Raw food can really help you to detox – in the Darkness Retreat you are detoxing your body, your belief systems, the world. For many people, their allergies also stop. When you fast or eat raw food, it makes it much easier for your soul to connect with the energies of the darkness. Our guests are given the option of having an aura photograph taken, before and after their Retreat, which can show an incredible transformation in how the energy has cleared and in that time.

We work with you to decide the best route for you with your food. Some people also bring their own special tea or other things that they want to be served with, and that’s OK. In fact, people often ask what they should bring for their Retreat and we say to bring whatever makes you feel comfortable, whether that’s your own pillow or towel, or something more personal that supports you in this process.

You can also do a retreat in a couple or a small group (everyone has their own room, but there’s also a communal dark room where we can meet to do meditations). In these event we often chant mantras, including a special one to us, that brings in the highest light and love. The words are Arut Perum Jothi, Arut Perum Jothi, Thani Perum Karunai, Arut Perum Jothi.’ (They mean Vast Grace-Light, Vast Grace-Light, Supreme Compassion,Vast Grace-Light). There is also an ‘OM’ box in the meditation room (and in guest bedrooms) that chants OM, which creates a beautiful energy in the room and calms you down.

So in summary, the main reasons for doing a Darkness Retreat are that you centre yourself, you really come to your true being, who you are. You get to experience that you’re not your body – this isn’t something you can know just with your mind. You can’t experience enlightenment with your mind. Astral projection and seeing astral beings might be one stage of enlightenment. People can also have great soul healings connected to events from the past. It’s a reset. Often times the benefits only really show themselves some time later, and maybe with a spiritual consciousness they didn’t have before. The energy doesn’t stop when you walk out the door.

We gave you a lot of information, but if you still have questions, or would like to speak to us about doing your own Darkness Retreat, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.