A couple of weeks ago I had the experience of going on a magnificent qigong retreat with Open Sky Qigong. Surrounded for 5 days by beautiful people in tranquil surroundings, having time to contemplate and cultivate, it was truly a wonderful experience.
The normal modern world in which we reside is extremely mentally stimulating. Actually, I don’t think we have the language to adequately express how much sensory stimulation we are exposed to on a moment by moment basis. The modern marketing machines sole purpose is to infiltrate our consciousness, and with so many competing forces clamouring for our attention we are bathed in an information soup that we are ill-equipped to constantly handle. This is without mentioning the information we choose to ingest from media, TV, internet, games… the list is endless!
Is it any wonder why we have difficulty in deciding what we want to do with our lives, what activities actually resonate with our deeper selves, how we can deepen our brief individual experiences on our planet Earth? Throughout history, spiritual traditions of all cultures have taught techniques to help quiet our inner chatter, through prayer or meditation, conscious movement or simply through present awareness. Through these practices one can undergo a brief mental retreat, allowing precious moments of stillness to punctuate ones everyday existence.
In our busy lives however, such moments may be fleeting, with consistent daily practice often a distant dream. Giving yourself the gift of time away in quiet reflection, time away to concentrate on those things that you know are so important, time away to connect with your deeper self, is profoundly powerful. Many feel unable to do this, fearing that those in their lives will be unable to cope in their absence. While it may be difficult to organise initially, undergoing a period of spiritual incubation will have untold benefits to you, and all those that surround you. You will receive a new perspective on your life and the spiritual strength to make difficult decisions upon your return. The whole world benefits from your time away.
I hope you can give this gift to yourself soon.
Have you gone on retreat? What did you learn? If not, why not? What’s holding you back?