09 Jul Reasons for Retreating
In our everyday lives we are surrounded by countless demands – relationships, children, work, maintaining connections with friends and family, up keep of our homes and possessions and staying healthy, to name a few. The way we usually retreat from all this, is to take a holiday to change our routine lives and environment for a while, an opportunity to recharge the batteries and get a fresh perspective on our lives.
However, our hunger for a deeper meaning in life can lead us to review and question the faith of our upbringing and/or to search for alternative practices. Reading inspiring books, attending a gathering, chanting, prayer, meditating are ways to help us to resonate again, feel more whole and bring meaning into our everyday lives.
Whatever path we choose, it is vitally important that we cultivate the practice of retreating. This is the opportunity to withdraw from our mortal lives – for an evening, a day, a weekend or for a week or more – to give ourselves the space to develop a depth to our spiritual practice. It has its origin in almost all faiths including Catholics, Buddhists and Hindus – but its importance to most has been lost through time.
If we already have a meditation practice that we are taking fully into our lives, then a retreat will allow it to become more integrated and under our skin. Meditation will begin to bear fruit in our everyday lives allowing all aspects of it to be seen in a new, more positive and embracing light.
The more we go into the silence, and deepen our meditation practice and our connection with the flow of life / the Infinite source / God, however you wish to define it, the more our lives will flow outwardly. We will develop our Intuition (tuition from within) from the source. This connects us to our fellow humans, animal life, plant life and all of creation.
Many retreats are held in the Silence to fully cultivate this depth, but many also have opportunities to meet and talk with fellow retreatants, hear an inspiring spiritual talk and participate in an uplifting discussion. Reading Spiritual books, gentle exercising such as Yoga, walking and swimming as well as sharing meals together, are ways in which we commune at a deeper level with the Divine and nurture ourselves.
There is great strength in coming together as a group to meditate allowing the stillness to build and helping us to cultivate the peace more deeply. While in retreat, a Centre will put on hold its normal functions, creating the right conditions for this stillness to blossom, and as well providing the opportunity for you to live alongside their Spiritual family.
To really develop a Spiritual atmosphere to allow the best cultivation we turn-off the mobile phones, computers, tvs and stereos. We refrain from the five senses so that we may connect inwardly. If we talk at all we speak softly and sparingly. If not used to it, abstaining from all of these may well seem a daunting prospect, especially being in silence. But as we let go of all these mortal aspects the body will gradually quieten down and a real sense of freedom from all of these habitual behaviors will develop, creating more space for the Inner life to grow.
During this time, we will be fed on all levels, allowing love, truth and compassion to evolve and our light to shine. We will develop clarity to seemingly insolvable problems, insight into our next steps in life, and an unshakeable calm in going back into our everyday mortal lives. So much so, that people around you will feel and benefit from the change.
Retreats, like meditation and all spiritual practices need to be a regular part of our lives and persevered, with patience and joy. The more we progress spiritually, the more important retreating becomes and hence the more we wish to do it.