of productive work and return myself to the spiritual roots that have always been my guiding force within.
I don't know if I was born with these roots and this capacity to connect with a higher place or if it is something that I have been nurturing within myself since I was quite small. But I do believe that we all come from our own set of spiritual roots, and it is our journey here to use them to return Home where we can remember Who We Really Are.
Taking time out to do so can and will accelerate your path - your spiritual journey - back to Home. And as you do so, you will find that your challenges don't necessarily become less, but that you become better equipped to:
- Handle them better when they show up in front of you
- Approach situations with greater awareness of their pitfalls and lessons
- You can more easily implement past learning into new situations so you don't have to revisit past lessons again and again.
- Move on to greater conscious awareness of your life, eliminating roadblocks that no longer serve you.
When thinking about a retreat, we can't always leave our entire lives behind unless we choose to plan ahead for this, and then make sure all those who may be affected by our absence are well aware of our planned disappearance. By letting people know ahead of time, you are giving them permission, to give you permission to go away for a while and strengthen your inner guidance muscles.
A couple of things to keep in mind when going on retreat:
1. Make sure you will have time alone
Although planned retreats with groups are highly beneficial in a learning manner, make sure you will also have plenty of time for rest and relaxation on your own. Otherwise, you may prefer to call it a higher learning or training seminar.
2. Give yourself permission to sleep
It can often take 3 - 5 days for your mind to unwind, and emptying your mind of all your obligations - which will all be there once you get back - is a process that simply takes time. Napping, sleeping in, journaling and refraining from any further input from the outside world is the best way to allow your mind to let go of what it wants to try to hang onto.
3. Peace and Quiet
There's nothing like silence to let God in. Whether it's the Holy Spirit, Source, God, Buddha, Allah, the Universe or your Highest Self, once your mind is empty and you can sit still in the silence, your highest intuitions will arise. When planning your retreat, be aware, that your most valuable and essential element will be peace and quiet, undisturbed.
4. Opt-out of everything
Although vacation planning can be fun, this isn't a type of retreat where a great deal of your spiritual goals will be accomplished. Try to set up a time and place where little will be asked of you, few intrusions are likely to occur and you have minimal physical maintenance items to attend to. By minimizing interruptions, demands (especially long, complicated travel) and lots of meal prep and clean-up, you'll be able to take advantage of every precious moment on your retreat.
5. Long periods of connecting with Source.
Whatever your methods, even if they vary throughout your retreat, this is your golden time and where so many gains will be acquired. These are the gifts you'll carry back with you when returning to your daily demands - renewed spirit, enthusiasm, and love. By checking in frequently, you'll be able to recall the spiritual strength you gained as well as the knowledge that was shared, and see more clearly how you can be of service to those around you.
A few methods for connecting with Source that I have found to be particularly helpful:
- Breathe. It sounds simple, but sitting quietly and counting your breaths up to 30 is a simple and effective way to achieve a higher spiritual level fairly quickly.
- Once your higher states meditation is achieved, stay there for as long as possible. I have found health conditions disappear, anger and resentment dissipates, and knowledge on circumnavigating what I think of as a challenge all appear to me quite easily and effortlessly while I am in this state of high tranquility.
- Walking in nature. Walking silently in nature is extraordinary. You will suddenly become so aware of the sights and sounds that represent so much of life from underneath what you see. Becoming aware of this 'unseen life' is witnessing God. Revel in Her. She's extraordinary.
- Refrain from speaking. If you've warned everyone so far, then this should be OK with them. Refrain from the temptation to call your best friend or family member, and just keep it low-key within yourself. You'll be OK! God is waiting for you, arms loaded with spiritual gifts.
Leave me your comments below with your own suggestions for a successful spiritual retreat.