Sometimes, it helps getting away from life’s everyday distractions by attending a meditation retreat. Your day-to-day activities are distracting and time-consuming, and stress comes from all sides. When you are at a meditation retreat, you don’t have any of that. All your focus is on yourself and on meditating. And all those around you are focused on the same goal. The collective positive energy lifts you up and offers you new perspectives, new insights. Awareness for your own life.
Going to a meditation retreat is taking an opportunity to go deeper in your meditation practice or to learn new methods to incorporate in your routine. It is also the place where, much like peeling an onion, you get to shed the outer layers and get to the core of who you are in your journey to grow. To evolve. To be mindful.
How to choose a meditation retreat?
Whether you are just starting your journey, or have been on this path for a long time, it is important to first consider why you are attending a meditation retreat. Is it to relax and unplug? Is it to work through something specific? Is it to learn or clarify something? Is it to reconnect with yourself? You might think it doesn’t really make a difference, but it does.
If you have dived a bit into meditation, you know that there are many methods to choose from. Since meditation is subjective, some might work better than others for you, which means it is important to know the focus or topic of the retreat, because you will have activities and amenities that will be geared towards that topic or focus. It wouldn’t be good going to a meditation retreat only to find out it is not something that you can enjoy, or it is something that doesn’t work for you.
And lastly, though not the most important, it might help if the meditation retreat takes place somewhere you enjoy being. Why not enjoy the area when you have to attend a retreat there anyway?
Not all meditation is the same and not all retreats are the same. Take the time to explore the options and to find the retreat you think is the right fit for you. We can help you in your search. Contact us and let us make your job easier.
How should you prepare?
Familiarize yourself with the basic meditation principles, read a few meditation books, and if you’ve never meditated before, definitely try a few guided meditations to ensure that this is the right fit for you.
The benefits of meditation retreats
A retreat connects like-minded people. There, you meet people who are on the same journey as you are and connect with people who are aligned with you and your vibration.
A meditation retreat has all the benefits of meditation practice in a shorter amount of time, because it is an intensive experience. You immerse yourself in meditation. It offers you the chance to just be, without the usual distractions of daily life. To just enjoy being present and engaging in life itself. It can also act as an encouraging factor to bring meditation to your daily life if you haven’t already.
It can have different effects on people. My first meditation retreat left me feeling exhausted, yet mentally liberated, free, though a bit physically sick, but during my second retreat, I felt energized, alive, and focused.
The happiness and calm that you take from the experience is reward enough, but the growth you experience and the opportunity to reconnect with yourself and the world with no distractions can be priceless.
The Day-Long Retreat
Sometimes, you just have to unplug and unwind, but you can’t go anywhere. No problem. Why don’t you try making it a “Me day?”
Just plan for a whole day of meditation activities. You can choose to do it by yourself or with friends. Make it a “thing.” Light food and drinks. Unplug from the world by disconnecting phones, TVs, and other potential sources of distraction. Use audio and video teachings if you want or need. It will add to the meditation retreat vibe.
If you choose to invite a few like-minded friends, hang out together, have meditation sessions, or make a whole weekend out of it. It can be fun, relaxing, and very liberating.
If you are married with kids, why not make it a family thing, where all participate in meditating and the planned activities? And if you prefer or need to have “me” time, away from them, that’s okay too. Either send them off for the day or leave your home and take the time to be with you.
You also have the alternative to attend a day-long retreat close to home, if there is that option. You can learn new techniques or you can go deeper into the practices you’re committed to.
It is not always easy to find the time to attend a meditation retreat, but the rewards are worth it.
If you are in a position to benefit from meditation retreats, try starting with a weekend retreat to see how you feel about it, then find a week-long one and go from there.
Unwinding can take time, and sometimes, it will take longer than a week to get us to really slow down. That’s when longer retreats are the best option to help us go deeper into our practices than our daily meditation sessions allow.
What else you should know about Meditation Retreats
As many benefits as a retreat can bring, and as much of an amazing experience you can have, truth is, there are some downsides to retreats. If you have never been to one, here are some things to consider before embarking on the retreat journey.
Though a retreat consists of a group of like-minded people sharing a journey, meditation is still a solitary activity. This means, you are ultimately alone in a group of people that enjoy their solitude.
If you are expecting to have parties and group talks and people milling around for you to talk to, you are not going to the right place. And don’t go in there complaining about the world, or the lack of company, or that no one is paying attention to you, or that life sucks, or the food is not to your liking. This is not a vacation resort. Your focus needs to be on yourself, not on anything or anyone else, because as you focus on what you feel is wrong around you, you are subconsciously resisting change and holding on to whatever it is that is stopping you from setting yourself free mentally.
It doesn’t really matter how long you have been meditating, if this is your first time in a retreat and you never had the chance to unplug before and just focus on yourself for this long, it can be a bit overwhelming at first, since there is no escape from yourself. You have to deal with the thoughts surfacing and dissipating, and you find yourself getting lost in them more often than not. Good or bad, the one thing you can never escape is your inner Self. And that can be liberating, but also really challenging. Just remember not to be hard on yourself.
Another thing to consider is that meditating at home is one thing, because you have your routine all figured out. In a retreat, you have scheduled meditation sessions throughout the day and it can be physically, as well as mentally, challenging. Not only does your mind wander, your body may feel the pain from the sessions after a while.
Leaving the retreat
As great or as challenging as the experience might be for you, there comes the time when you have to rejoin the world outside the retreat.
The real work comes after the retreat, when you go back to your environment. And it can be a bit daunting having the world come barreling back towards you again.
You get sensory overload and it takes a while to get used to being back. However, as you do, and you keep meditating, you start noticing the changes in yourself. The motivation to meditate more often, the stress that doesn’t seem as oppressive, the anger, sadness, frustration that don’t come out as easily or as often.
You become aware that you have a better ‘you’ inside eager to come out. That you are experiencing positive things more often. Stillness. Joy. Clarity. Insight. Peace. Kindness. Compassion. Liberation. And somewhere along the process, you become mindful of your true Self.
The question now becomes, are you going to stay aware of all the positive changes in you or fall back into the subconscious programs and let all that precious work go to waste?
If you find yourself aware of the positive changes and wish to continue this journey into a better, more mindful you, contact us and let us connect you with a whole community of like-minded people who wish to travel this journey with you, guiding you, teaching you, challenging you. Healing you.