Spiritual retreats are meant to change your life. For thousands of years, spiritual practitioners have packed their belongings and traveled to far away places to spend solitary time. There is a misunderstanding in our culture that time alone is curative and this is false. We have been led to believe that taking a vacation will somehow relieve stress. According to the yogis, this is not true.
Time away from the stimulation and stress of home and work life is meant to help the mind become supple and still enough that the core of it can be changed with specific spiritual practices (like meditation and yoga). The notion is that your experience of your life comes from you, so if you can change the deepest parts of your mind on retreat, when you return to the familiar, the world will also be altered.
In this way, the crux of a retreat is the same logic of going to a university to take master’s level courses in business: to change how your mind functions. You begin with a mind that has no idea about business, or maybe some vague impression of how business is run, and graduate with a mind that is imbued with an understanding of how to run a successful business.
For retreat, you can begin with a mind that has the ability to be happy sometimes, if the conditions are right, and you can come out with an expanded ability to generate happiness from the inside out. The idea is a new download of information, like putting a new app on your phone. You gain a new capacity. And this capacity changes your life completely.
If you want to do this, you can follow these pieces of advice for a retreat:
- Have a goal in mind
- Determine what practices are being taught on this retreat
- Determine whether or not the practices align with that goal
- Try a retreat that is silent, or partially silent
- Try a retreat without electronics
- Research the teachers & ensure they have experience guiding retreats
- Know the schedule for the retreat, and why it is crafted that way
- Go somewhere new
- Try to abstain from alcohol or drugs during the retreat
THE SOURCE OF LOVE is a retreat with Three Jewels in Gascony, in the South of France. For nine days, make a promise to take care of yourself, grow and share your love, and bask in joy. Practice yoga, meditation and breath-work twice daily, singing, dancing, chanting, swimming and bonding. Daily teachings on ancient wisdom will focus on how to develop love and share it to the world. There is a lot of time to relax, play, connect and dream. Beginners welcome! No retreat experience necessary.
Rachel Webb has trained simultaneously in yoga and mental health for the past decade and in Tibetan Buddhism for the past 6 years. She has completed a meditation teacher training and private yoga teacher training in 2017 and is en route to complete a 6 year Buddhist philosophy certification in 2019. She is has served as a peer coach for social workers using the Motivational Interviewing counseling technique. She has over 6 years of experience working with people diagnosed with serious mental illness, assisting them in achieving wellness goals. Rachel has hosted several therapeutic groups on relationship health over the past year and is currently working on relationship wellness workbooks that combine modern psychological approaches with Buddhist techniques. Rachel currently teaches yoga and meditation classes in Manhattan, and takes clients for coaching sessions. You can reach her at email@example.com to schedule a private session or interview.