My introduction to retreats occurred in my early ‘20s. I joined an ashram, I gave up sex, became a vegan, stopped drinking alcohol, gave up cigarettes and drugs and no longer ventured into the world of normal life.
These were the things that you did when you went into a retreat.
They all had disciplines, and at times extreme measures, to assist participants to release themselves from the world they had left behind. Most of these disciplines revolved around sexual abstinence and food disciplines such as fasting and restriction of those foods deemed to stir emotion and excite the senses.
These secluded retreats were hidden away and only the ardent seeker found there way to them.
But that was the old way and it is no longer relevant.
In today’s world, you don’t have to give up anything unless you chose to do so. Your task - if you seek the truth of yourself - is simply to retreat within, while continuing to live a “normal” life.
There is a great deal of wonderful places to visit that can assist you with your journey going within. These retreats exist in beautiful places in nature and are very accessible to the average person. The emphasis is typically on good food, a calm, relaxing lifestyle, set in beautiful places and managed by caring individuals who understand the value of peace and tranquility. Such places form an important part of modern life and are able to act as a balance for the busy world most of us live in.
However, it is important that you don’t forget when you visit these places to focus on YOU; when you next visit your favourite retreat, keep in mind that its purpose is to provide you with the setting to assist you to go within and deepen your acquaintance with yourself.
Whether you retreat into the bush for an hour or two or treat yourself to something more exotic or luxurious, use the time wisely to connect with your inner self, rather than just having a nice break.
Here is a list of things to do to greatly enhance and maximise the benefit of your next retreat:
1. Practice stopping physically and mentally.
2. Learn to listen.
3. Become the observer.
4. Stop reacting.
5. Meditate daily.
6. Drop your opinions.
7. Write daily in your journal.
8. Practise being silent.
9. Be kind to every thing around you.
Don’t forget to SMILE and be happy for no good reason.