3 Tips for taking Spiritual Retreat
Updated: Nov 9, 2018
The spiritual retreat is one of the most powerful tools we can implement to increase our faith, deepen the perception of our spiritual voyage, and speed up the transformation.
Since time immemorial people have periodically removed themselves from the external world to focus on the inner world and be a transformed version of themselves. Yogis, Sages, Rishis, Monks from time to time have done that. Vedas, Upanishads are full of such isolation needs. The Bible is full of examples of people who periodically removed themselves from the world to draw closer to the God within in spiritual retreat. In fact, Jesus himself went into the desert for 40 days immediately after being baptized. Unless you spend time with yourself; away from all roles, identities, responsibilities, expectations and obligations, you will not be able to transform to a better version of yourself which is needed for the meaningful, peaceful life.
Learn to be at ease with you
Strengthen an existing faith, experience a major spiritual breakthrough; spiritual retreats can be life transforming.
Let's talk about the 8 most important aspects of considering a spiritual retreat.
#1 Your Goal
Spend some time in thinking and analysing why you need to go on a retreat. What is your purpose for doing so? What are you planning on achieving? Is it an escape? Is it an attempt to clear clouds of confusion about life, God, faith, world, the universe, you? Is it a search for a Guru, God, Yourself?
That which you are seeking, is seeking you!
Many times you are not very clear about what is it that you looking for. A solution, or solace or something else, someone else. And it is OK to not know right away. But then in that case before taking a Retreat, try to know more about the Guru, the Spiritual Teacher, his/her teachings, if possible attend his/her Free Darshan, Satsang kind of events and that way you will have much better idea about whether to attend a retreat or not, or whether you are ready for that yet or not.
#2 Know your Guru
This is another very important step. You should read about the Guru, know more about his/her teachings and various courses, programs that he/she offers. There are many simple Yoga & Meditation Gurus and can add great value to your life. And then there are some serious Spiritual Gurus who ultimately will take you towards your ultimate potential, Enlightenment, Self Realization. You may not have a clear-cut understanding of Moksha/Nirvana, but deep within you long of ultimate freedom, truth, bliss; Sat-Chit-Ananda, hence such Gurus are the right ones for you. Some Gurus teach Hatha Yoga, some teach Vipassana, some teach Kriya Yoga and/or Tantra and yet those Guru who are taking their Students on the journey towards Enlightenment will teach a mixture/hybrid path because that's what the generation today needs. You may not know which one do you need, hence it's better to leave that to the Guru, the Spiritual Teacher to decide. But yes, definitely do the homework and see which Guru/Teachings you vibe with.
#3 Retreat alone or with friend/spouse
This could make a lot of difference. As you may have a true friend or a spouse who can add value to your retreat. Together you may feel much supported and can discuss the impact of teachings etc from time to time and help to shape the other person’s process with your questioning and insights. Yet most of the time going for retreats alone is the best course of action because you are much open and have no one around to constantly judge you, or put you in the boundaries of expectations and obligations. Retreats are about expanding your horizons, a very personal one. So if you have doubts about going with someone, then it's better to go alone.