Why Go On A Spiritual Retreat?
Why do we go on retreat? Why has withdrawal always been so foundational to spiritual transformation? What does it lead to? Here, I will open up several of the key aspects of spiritual renewal and discovery to inspire you to make the time for retreat and to support you to get the most out of that precious space.
Retreat(not just physical retreats like this upcoming weekend retreat, but the concept of going inwards) has to do with letting go of all the surface distractions in our lives. It allows the minor frustrations that create a little static in our hearts and minds to fall away. As we let go and step away from the surface, we leave behind complexity and our unresolved issues and unrealized dreams. Retreat is what enables us to sink into our Selves. It settles us into that backdrop of consciousness that pervades all that is. It brings us home, into our deeper selves, into the heart of the mystery.
Retreat enables us to make ourselves ready. In a small way each time, we die to the limited perspective we’ve cherished and open to a vast and more unknown way of coming to know Spirit. We discover a new way of interacting with ourselves and with the world. A sacred and holy endeavor, retreat marks a journey to Source, a discovery of that which we’ve always known yet forgotten. Retreat is a first act towards new growth.
What is renewal? And what does renewal have to do with transformation or evolutionary emergence?
Renewal occurs when we put the ego or frontal self-down, when we let go and allow ourselves to be supported by that which is, rather than by our own will. Rest and repair are found here. Closures and openings move one into the other. The mystery of consciousness has all kinds of capacities. Renewal is an act of faith and an act of will. It takes heart and strength to let go of the gross or surface strength we rely on to hold ourselves up. It takes a force of Love to allow time and space to heal, to winter before new growth is ready to burst forward.
Renewal is an act of courage. Just as retreat takes strength to pull away from the magnetism of the external, from the pull of that which we intend to accomplish, and turn within, renewal requires its own tenacity. It calls for a stalwartness of Love that insists on space, on a haven for gentleness and unrestricted freedom to grow.
In renewal we open up to the infinite reservoir that is the nature of consciousness. Like a shy meeting with a revered friend, renewal calls on us to listen, allow, to hold ourselves open with grace. Then the numinous begins to shine through us, like bamboo in the sun, a dappled dance of light and shadow. We sway, we turn, we become still, and we find our way towards intimacy with that which is always whole. As we spend time like this, we tune into the possible, and that presence of the possible revitalizes ourselves.
Rejuvenation is that irrepressible arrival of Spring. After the winter of our inner seasons, our spirits call for gestation and withdrawal. We awaken to new beginnings unfolding in us. Mysteriously and somewhat miraculously, our inner stores get replenished, our spirits lift anew, and what may have been inconceivable a few short days, weeks, or months before now seems like the only pace we could possible move in.
Rejuvenation is a natural aspect of inner life and seems to have a pace of its own, yet we can learn the tools of transformation that restore and refresh, that tip us just over the edge of the nest to take the first few wingbeats in a cool dawn.
How do we rejuvenate? Can we learn a way to be that is more tightly attune to the workings of our own souls?
Conscious rejuvenation includes preparation for that intake, learning in big and small ways to not rush new growth before its time. Through practice and focus, we learn how to open the membranes of our soul and as the tides wash into us, we fill, expand, and revitalize. We learn to work the polarities of withdrawal and extension of self, both are essential for inner transformation and emergence.
We rejuvenate each other with our insight, good will, aspirations, and joy. We rejuvenate each other through the intermingling of our creativity and our curiosity. So we seed the fields of our inner selves. As our inner selves bloom with diversity of perspective, understanding, and kindness, new seeds populate the space between us. That space now becomes the more fertile, free, and expanded context for the possible to emerge.
Emergence is a process, not an object. New capacities and openings don’t occur in isolation. Building with so many interwoven factors, we create the conditions for emergence. We strengthen our hearts and our core, and we cultivate the tenacity and resilience to allow, to let be, and to let go. Then we see what has been gestating, hidden, that now is ready to burst forth.
When we’ve stilled ourselves enough, we start to appreciate the new shoots Spirit sends out in all kinds of directions. Tender, drawing from the pool of consciousness these new tendrils can reach for powerfully transformative new insights, touching into new levels and dimensions of consciousness. If we support their growth.
For those who are dedicated to bringing the ideal of heaven into our lives on earth, retreat, renewal, and rejuvenation are spiritual capacities we will want to cultivate. As we deepen our spiritual practice in all kinds of ways, we develop inner strength for outer stability. We create the space for the joy, Being, and evolutionary unfolding to fuel our lives.
For more from Amy Edelstein or to go on retreat, visit: www.amyedelstein.com
To learn more about my upcoming Spring retreat April 24-26, click here: