5 Practical Tips For A Spiritual Retreat
[Written by Admin]
Starting your first retreat at home can be a little daunting. Yes, you’ve read the instructions. Yes, you’ve seen the altar set-up done at the temple. But what are the common problems that retreatants face along the way? And how can one avoid them?
Even for “seasoned” retreatants, we hope that these 5 practical tips below will help! ENJOY!
Labels, labels, labels.
If you’re not living alone, but have housemates or family members, it’s a smart move to label your food – both in the fridge and pantry area.
When you already can’t eat the 5 black foods (onion, garlic, eggs, diary and meat), you don’t want to open the fridge to find that your broccoli and carrots are now gone too!
Once the labels are up, it’s also a compassionate (and practical!) move to let your loved ones, housemates or relatives know to replace the item should they have zero will power and need to eat that diary-free yoghurt of yours!
In need for some food-spiration? Click here!
Get Creative With Space
If there’s not enough space on your altar for retreat-related offerings, don’t fret – just get creative! Either place a coffee table, study table or even a bench in front of your existing altar to extend it.
Whatever you choose, it should either be of the same level or lower than the existing table. Reason? You don’t want your Buddha to be placed behind and below everything else. Even aesthetically, it won’t look nice!
If, due to space constraints, you can’t place a table at the current altar area, look around the house to find an open space, and set up your new altar there.
An idea would be to convert your dining table into your altar. Clean it properly, purify it with incense and voila, it’s ready to be used!
Reminder: Don’t move your current set up, especially your seat, until the retreat is over!
Avoiding the Wedgie!
It’s a given that comfortable clothing such as leggings and yoga pants are your go-to wardrobe essentials during a retreat. However, a lot of people don’t think twice about what we should wear under that!
A comfortable undergarment goes a long way when you’re seated for up to 3-5 hours. Of course the duration depends on yourself, and how long you plan each retreat session to be for.
Regardless, you don’t want to be thinking about how to get that wedgie out majority of the time – especially if it’s a group retreat and you’ve got someone seated behind you!
Remember, the whole point of the retreat is to concentrate on your visualization, not your…!
Let It Die, Naturally
Lets not kid ourselves into thinking that we’re not the slightest bit addicted to our phones.
Unless you’re joining a weekend retreat session at Kechara Forest Retreat, where your phone is handed in before each session begins – it’s just you, and your will power against you using your phone.
There will be (many) times when your mind will wander to the good ol’ Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram, and even turning off your phone doesn’t help. After all, it’s only one button away from switching it on!
If your work has conditioned you to always check your phone, or you need to make sure that your Farmville animals hasn’t died, you need a bigger obstacle.
Seems odd, but it helps if you use your phone until the battery dies naturally, and before you start your retreat, leave it to charge far away from you.
Or leave the battery-dead phone next to you. It’s now both practically planning and willpower against you using your phone.
Plan For Success
Halfway through the retreat, your concentration may narrow down to just mala counts. When all that you see are numbers (30 malas, 31 malas, 32 malas…), a strong motivation helps to bring back your focus.
Everyone’s different, and there will a countless number of reasons why you’re going into a retreat. However, before the retreat begins, it’s always good to set a motivation that’s a step higher than, “because I’m stressed”.
It’s your personal motivation, but here’s an example of a good one, “Remembering the kindness of all those whom have been kind to me. Even those whom I have perceived to have been unkind, they still taught me something – I should remember their kindness too.”
Remember, you’re already in that fortunate space where you have the opportunity for single-pointed concentration. Make the most of it!
If you need more information or have any questions about retreats, do contact the Kechara Pastors here.
New to the idea of a retreat, and prefer to join a program? Click here!
Need another reason (or 6!) why you’re in need of a retreat? Click here!
Done retreats before? What problems did you face and how did you overcome them? Share with us in the comment section below!
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