Personal Accounts (page 2)

More Retreatant Experiences...

"Why would I want to take a personal Sufi Retreat?
When I feel caught up in events in obligations and need some nurturing guidance, a retreat offers me a broader perspective and an opportunity to focus on what is truly important rather than simply urgent.

What happens to someone on retreat?
On retreat, I move from my determination that nothing will change because I'm permanently stuck in my problems to a loving spacious perspective full of possibilities.

greater perspective What are the benefits?
I reconnect with nature as a friend and ally. I realize the miracle of my existence and the immensity of the Being who is responsible for my being here. I see the world with gratitude. I put my problems into a greater perspective. I draw upon a wisdom I never knew I had. I activate capacities within myself that help me deal with life in a new way. I come home with a toolbox of techniques.

Why would I take more than one in my life?
A personal retreat is the greatest gift I can give myself. As life presents new challenges, I will be in a new place to receive more wisdom from a retreat that is relevant to that moment.

What do you do in that hut all day?
Because I am focusing on beautiful things, I am not particularly aware of the limitations of my surroundings. Activities include listening to Sufi teachings, repetition of mantra, examining my life, eating, sleeping, reading Sufi poetry, exercise, daydreaming and meditation.

Is the silence scary?
My mind is rarely silent, so there is no fear of disappearing into any void. The teachings are recorded, so there is a wise companion nearby.

not a sufiWhat if I'm not a Sufi or I don't know "how" to meditate?
I knew nothing about Sufism or meditation when I took my first retreat. Everything was spelled out, and my guide was available to patiently answer any questions I had.

What was your experience like on retreat?
I followed instructions and little by little, I metamorphosed from a depressed, angry, introverted person into one full of hope, joy, flowing energy, and gratitude. I looked at my problems, realized my reality was more immense than what I had been focusing on, remembered a pure and perfect place within me, learned how to draw on a higher wisdom than my own to help me deal with my problems, and felt enthusiastic about using these techniques in my life when I left the retreat. "
eternal and ephemeral "The retreat hut was ideal because of its location in nature." -E.

"It was a beautiful space. It was lovely being really away from everything." -N.

"This retreat was a time for me to go within, to become connected with the earth guiding me forward. I began to walk slower – walking with intention. I will focus on carrying that out into the world with me every day." -M.
eternal and ephemeral"I thought about silence as a powerful practice – to contain oneself, to be at ease in one's own. I found the practices very valuable as ways to orient myself to what is true and eternal as opposed to passing and ephemeral." -S.

deep peace"For me, an annual individual retreat helps me to stay awake in life: it is a profound spiritual and psychological commitment to seek the meaning of my life, true identity, and to receive current, living inner guidance. Retreats are not always easy for me...but never wasted time. The silence is a gentle restorative.
Everyday life can become stale and low-key. When this happens, I know a retreat is needed. Afterward, almost without exception, I am renewed, invigorated and ready to get back into life with energy and interest. It changes my perspective, and I feel more like who I really am. There is greater acceptance of what cannot be changed in life; and, the ties of simple bad habits are loosened.
It is a blessing to have been able to make more than 35 individua l retreats, most ranging from one week to three weeks, and two 40 day chillas. Overall, my experience on retreat has been and is essential to my life, well-being, fortitude through adversity, self-esteem, inner peace, joy, forgiveness, and fundamental grounding in the deep meaning of life. In very important ways, retreats and what flows from them mark the days and journeys of my life.
American woman Sufi, Retreat Guide, and Therapist with family, late fifties
alone in silence"In November of 2006, I did a 30 day personal Sufi retreat. For 30 days I spent time alone, in silence, in a little cabin in the woods, with the simplest of vegetarian foods. There were no phones, no T.V's, no radio. A stream and mountains further separated me from life as I knew it. It was a journey not only into the depths of my soul, but to unknown dimensions of reality that few ever discover. Undiscovered, not because they are inaccessible to the average person, but because the average person rarely takes the time and effort to make them come alive!
Maps are hard to come by, as every person must discover the unique terrain within. That said, there are some guides who know the template so well, they can be of great assistance. These people are called retreat guides and should be viewed as a cherpa for the inner Everest.
Retreats have always been a place where the sacred comes alive for me. In a world where life has become cheap and disposable, and honor even more so, the sacred is beautiful beyond imagination. To experience it is like drinking from a crystal clear fountain after being parched in a desert with the occasional muddy oasis to keep us going. We get so use to the mud, we forget that water can be so pure and sweet.
In the silence of my 30 days, poetic inspiration came through with a delightful intensity. Some poems were born from pure ecstatic joy. Others were the result of a deeply felt emotion that sought reconciliation with spirit somehow. It is not uncommon for people to discover such hidden treasures during the retreat process. Whatever your journey, know that an alchemical retreat can take you to the unexplored dimensions of your being that need a gentle nudge to awaken. To quote Pir Vilayat, "Unless we awaken them, our capacities will always lie dormant." Retreats provide the best container that I know of, for this awakening to occur."
Nur Khabira