Why go on retreat?
Posted by Simon Parke, 23 July 2018, 12.11pm
To go on retreat is a brave lunacy but also a rewarding one.
There’s much against going on retreat, of course.
It is difficult to remove ourselves from our ever-pressing present.
‘There’s so much to be done and so many people relying on me!’
How will they cope if I go?
And how will I cope if I go?
‘If I go on retreat the sky will fall in and the world will implode.’
These may not be our exact words but they sum up some of our background thoughts.
So we say, ‘It’s not quite the right time. And may never be.’
Though the brave do go and the sky doesn’t fall in and the world somehow proceeds without us.
And the reward for this bravery?
I think we go on retreat to remind ourselves who we are, because many of us lose a sense of this, brutalised by circumstance.
Some have never had an accurate sense of this.
They always thought they were a jungle… but now discover they’re a clearing.
And so there is also discovery on retreat, a glimpse at least, of who we might be, something truer than the self we presently live.
These things are sometimes lost in the rush of life, where the deep truths breathe less easily.
Experiencing retreats has been important to me. They have, without question, been the single most significant influence in my psychological and spiritual growth.
They create the space for moments – and it’s moments which shape and change our lives.
When I offer retreats now, I offer only what I benefit from – safe space to experience what I am now ready to know, what is ready to be revealed to me, that which is pushing up from within.
It’s like unblocking a fountain.
These things don’t arise so easily in the rush, where we must edit, ignore and repress to keep our shaky show on the road.
Sometimes we need to withdraw.
It generally takes about twenty four hours for people to let go, to leave the world behind, to breathe a different air and relax into discovery.
Some people say it’s not real life, but I’d say it’s the most real life of all.
We return from retreat with a much profounder sense of reality to offer the world we left behind.
So the world benefits as well.
As I say, to go on retreat is a brave lunacy which, like all bravery, is rewarded.
I’m offering a number of retreats over the coming fifteen months, and they’re all there on my site, under ‘retreats’.
There are plenty of other wonderful offerings, however, so many different sorts, which might suit you better.
But whether it’s this year, next year, five year’s time or ten…
...it’s worth noting a retreat as one of your possible futures.