Guest Author - Lauren DīSilva
Modern retreats offer you an oasis of time in which you can let the outside world fall away. A retreat is a chance to replenish yourself and to have the space to contemplate your inner world. It can be a holiday from everyday life in the truest sense; all holidays were originally 'holy days'!
Often retreats are held in beautiful surroundings. The peace and tranquillity of Nature is especially conducive to deep relaxation. There is normally time for quiet contemplation which helps you to sink deeper into your true Self and make contact with the wise, eternal part of you that does not get caught up in the surface dramas of daily life.
Most people who go on retreat have already dipped their toes into the spiritual world, but you dont usually need prior experience to go along. An interest in the world beyond the material realm and a willingness to be open to new experiences and ways of being can be enough.
There are many types of retreats available to modern spiritual seekers and the length, content and cost of retreats vary widely. Do your research and look especially at who will be leading the retreat. A variety of New Age retreats are available, which are spiritual, but not aligned to any specific religion. The aim of our weekend Retreat in Mid Wales for example is to provide a safe and supported space for the spiritual seeker to go within and uncover the true Self.
Some facilitators give you exercises to help you find spiritual insight and others just provide you with the space and peace to discover what you need for yourself. On our Retreat we have meditation, guided visualisation, contemplation, craftwork, storytelling and ceremony, all designed to help you explore the deeper aspects of your Self.
Religious retreats are available at many monasteries, which usually involve prayer and meditation, usually with spiritual guidance. Other types of retreats are centred around learning or developing a certain discipline or skill; for example you could go on a Meditation retreat, a Yoga retreat or a Writing retreat. It is a rare treat to be able to dedicate a block of time to any one discipline and these can be a wonderful opportunity to learn without distraction.
So what might you gain by going on a retreat? Retreats vary so much in style that it is hard to generalise, but people often enjoy the chance to meet and relax with likeminded people, make new friends, learn new skills, feel refreshed, experience insight, have me time and most of all slow down!
If you live within travelling distance of Wales UK and would like to join us on our retreat weekend you can find out more through my Touchstones Therapies site, or why not share your experiences of a Retreat you have been on in the New Age Forum? In the UK and Europe you may find The Good Retreat Guide a handy reference book for retreats available all year round. It was hard to find a comparable book for the US, but there were special interest guides available.