Recently, I returned refreshed and inspired from a weeklong meditation and healing retreat at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. I was again reminded of the importance of “being” as opposed to “doing.”
In my view, a spiritual retreat is a means of touching in with the core of our beings for a period of time. The process of leaving daily routines behind and interrupting the habitual thoughts that occupy our minds moves us from being fixed to being open.
I experienced two seminars; one with John of God, a healer from Brazil and the other with Pema Chodron, a Buddhist Nun. Each offered unique spiritual gifts, and both included many opportunities for meditation and insight. The experience of being ‘on retreat,’ which in Tibetan means “drawing the boundaries” and “leaving our worldly concerns behind” has left me with a renewed awareness of the vastness of my being. These are the gifts I will carry forward into my life.
Some of the gifts I received came in the form of ideas. Pema Chodron shared this, “The most important thing is to leave a gap” in the busyness of life. She explained that learning to live in these gaps in our lives opens us to live to our full potential. Inside “the gap,” we escape out of our “tunnel vision” and begin to notice life within us and around us.
The message I received from John of God was to stay open to miracles and to take responsibility for our healing. Each person was encouraged to look inside and see what lifestyle changes they may need to make to enhance their healing process. Both of these spiritual teachers included meditation, insight, and action into their prescription to live a healthier and happier life. The internal and external environment are both to be examined for optimal opportunity to heal and grow and reconnect with our infinite nature.
The Omega environment for these retreats was conducive for introspection. Cell phones, computers and tablets were shunned. Nature, quiet and stillness were recommended. The food was simple. Long periods of silence were punctuated by the occasional question by a participant. The sound of the rain, the babbling brook and the softness of the breath entering and exiting the body were the canvas for the vastness of the “gap” in life to expand. The participants shared an unwritten code of commitment to their spiritual growth. The long periods of silence allowed the individual to merge into the ocean of oneness.
This oneness could be described as “spaciousness.” This spaciousness is the conduit for the mystery of life and miracles to occur. There is surrender into the moment that is so deep and profound that the mind gets left outside the door and the heart melts into tears of love.
Gifting yourself with a spiritual retreat may be just what you need to inspire you and reinvent your life.
When modern life is busy, it can consume us until we step away and nurture our inner world. A retreat offers us the “gap” to enter into the unknown and become familiar with the “deep abiding presence” that Pema Chodron refers to as being at the center of ourselves. This is the place where deep self-discovery is attained and we begin to know the essence of our eternal nature. Within this “gap,” we receive guidance into taking our next steps in life and living our fullest potential.