Frequently Asked Questions
deeper experience

Q: I've taken group retreats. Why should I consider an individual one?

A: An individual retreat starts with your personal goals, intentions, and level of experience. It permits a deeper experience of the practices than is possible on a group retreat and is designed to unfold at a natural pace.

Q: How do I choose a retreat guide?

A: All retreat guides are trained, experienced, and certified by the Sufi Order International.  You may consult our Guide Locator directory to see which locations and guides might meet your needs.  An initial interview with a prospective guide is an important first step.

Q: Where will I stay during the retreat?

in nature A: When you speak with potential guides, ask them about the space that they offer.  It varies with location,  usually a simple, quiet place, often in nature.

Q: What happens when the guide visits?

A: The retreatant sits with the guide once or perhaps twice a day. The guide comes to the hut and sits in silent meditation with you for a few minutes. Then, the guide suggests practices for you that generally include work with breath, light, and sound, as well as purification practices, meditations, and prayers from Sufi and other spiritual traditions. She or he explains and demonstrates the practices as needed and answers any questions you may have.  Additionally, meditation and music tapes may be provided for your use. Your guide is available to listen and to suggest spiritual practices for the purpose of helping you process emotions or concerns that arise during the course of your retreat.

Q: Do I spend the whole time sitting in the hut or room?

support youA: Not unless you choose to. Some continue their daily yoga, qigong, or t'ai chi practices while on retreat. Many do practices while walking. Being in nature is an important part of a retreat; and, you and your retreat guide discuss how and when to incorporate outdoor activities.

Q: What and where will I eat?

A: You eat in your hut or room.  Again, the food varies with location.  Often, there is a selection of simple vegetarian foods from which you may prepare your own breakfast and lunch: granola, juice, rice cakes, fresh fruits, dried fruits and nuts, soup cups, almond butter, herb teas, etc. Each evening a delicious, freshly-prepared, vegetarian meal is delivered to your door, or is provided for you to heat up. If you have food allergies or special dietary needs, these can be discussed ahead of time.

Q: Can I bring my pets?

A: Generally, pets are not allowed; in some cases the retreat guide may be able to accommodate your pet.

Q:  Do I need to be familiar with Sufi practices or have any experience in meditation?  Will this conflict with my religion or spiritual practice?

A:  No experience or belief system is required.  We support you in your religion, current spiritual practice, and offer perspectives to enhance your faith.

Q: How much does a retreat cost?

A: The cost fluctuates depending on the type of accommodation and includes accommodation, linens, food, and visits with the retreat guide.  Sample costs of a retreat per day in the US ranges from $60-90; in Europe, it is $40-65 euros; in New Zealand, it is $80 US.  For longer retreats, the daily rate may be reduced. Contact the retreat guide to confirm specific rates.

Q: How does one become a Retreat Guide and what are their qualifications?

A:  The first qualification is many years of personal experience on guided retreats.  After that, a course of study is completed which contains both experiential and intellectual components. Retreat Guides in training are carefully supervised and receive final approval by appointment by the Head of The Esoteric School and the Pir of the Sufi Order.