All right friends, this is a short 10 min video on how to get started on a basic meditation retreat–alone.
For the past 5 years, I usually spend two days to two weeks alone somewhere in the Colorado mountains in a retreat cabin. Doing what? Thinking. I’m supposed to be meditating, however.
Thinking is how I typically spend most of my time on retreat. But for some, they may experience peace, emptiness or emotions such as fear, paranoia, joy, grief, anger, hostility, anxiety, dread…I could go on and on.
In all seriousness, I have had some very emotional retreats experiencing the highest of the high and the lowest of the low.
I notice that when I first arrive at the tiny cabin and make it home, I can’t wait to get started. Then a few hours into it I wish I were somewhere else. It all points to how my ego would rather not be present and I drift off to fantasies about eating coconut bliss in the comfort of my own home, snuggling with my wife.
If you stay for the length of your retreat (whatever amount of time that is. Some folks do it for 20 years!) a lot of teachings can come through about how you are and about how you operate. It is very helpful for the path.
Even if you don’t meditate, the stillness and solitude of the wilderness setting can be very healing.
I’ve done retreats where I don’t bring books or even a journal. I just sit there with no distractions except for the kitchen and the food that I want to eat, even though I just ate.
Other retreats have been more relaxed for me. I give myself permission to read, write and even go on exploratory hikes to places I’m not supposed to go.
For you, it might be an interesting experiment to just sign up for one and commit to a weekend if nothing else. No need to get crushed by a 2 month long retreat right out of the gate.
Of course, if you go, it is important to get some basic meditation instruction.
Here’s the video link. I’d love your comments, especially if you’ve ever done a solitary retreat!