My default state used to be anxiety, with some fear thrown in for good measure. I don’t know why. For whatever reason, I’m just prone to feeling anxious without any apparent cause. Over the last 20 years, though, my anxiety lessened as I learned and then practiced meditation. My first experience was a mindfulness meditation
Heal your mind – and expand your consciousness – and your body comes along for a much more easeful ride, despite still being subject to death, decay, and impermanence. And the interesting thing is that it works both ways – when we change the body, we also change the mind.
If you’re wondering why we require a three-night minimum in our cabins, it’s to honor the process of retreat time. Three nights is still a very short retreat, but it does allow for the possibility of something magical to happen between arriving, settling in, and the “I’m leaving soon” thoughts.
One of our regular blog contributors, and the Secretary of our Board of Directors, Dan O’Brien, has just completed another cabin retreat at Clear Sky. Before he went into retreat, he wrote the following thoughts about why he does regular meditation retreats. Dan: One of the key ways I nurture myself is by taking the
Being by ourselves in a solo retreat creates the opportunity for three important explorations or insights:
Alone in a crowd: We can examine the concept of being alone
Who is alone?: We can explore the fear of abandonment and death
I’m dancing as fast as I can: We can see our habitual patterns of avoiding connecting with our inner depth
Do you find it tough transitioning from your working day back into your home life? Or going into work on Monday morning after a weekend with friends and family?
It’s a whole other shift of gears to transition into the energy of a retreat center.
It’s always strange being asked where I’ll be going for my two week Christmas holiday, because these past few years it’s always been, “On a meditation retreat.” This response can invoke an inquisitive look, although these days most people I meet know someone who has done something similar. Still, they often have trouble imagining doing
Even someone who meditates is sometimes nervous about going on retreat. Yet, there is no replacement for this extended period of simply being with our arisings to see that they are merely patterns. They come and go, so long as we don’t hold on to them.
We can forget to take a few moments to breathe, go for a mindful walk, or try out any other of the nurturing and supportive ways we’ve learnt to be more present.
One thing I’ve learnt from my own explorations teaching and practising mindfulness, is that small changes in our environment can help us be much more present.
How can we maintain our ability to stay aware throughout the day, when so many things take our attention and we mostly run on automatic pilot? The modern word for this is mindfulness.
Here are some tips from one of our recent creative weekends.
On our recent creative weekend, some of our team got together to come up with ideas on how you can best support your meditation practice.
We came up with some do’s and some dont’s that might be of help.
Habit is the opposite of mindfulness.
Structure and routine are your friends.
If you accept either of these as true, take a moment to think about how they work together. Take meditation, for example – how do you find a balance between having a steady meditation routine and not letting your spiritual practice stagnate?
How would it feel to bring your retreat home with you?
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