Winter is that lovely time of year where everything seems to slow down and go within. In the natural world some animals go into hibernation, the growth of plants is slowing right down, the veggies in our garden seem to take their time, the days are short and nights are long. Also, one can experience profound stillness and silence being in nature: amongst trees, by a lake or on a high mountain with vast views in all directions.
How conducive for us humans to do the same thing during the winter months: slowing down and going within.
Winter can be a perfect time to do some personal retreat. Retreat has this quality of stepping back from one’s usual routine, from one’s daily & social responsibilities, from schedules, clocks, and chores.
Why not give yourself on some quality time in a retreat on your own. It can be any length of time. If you have just one day available, then that can be one precious retreat day. Maybe you have a weekend or a whole week to set aside for a personal retreat. If you have the luxury to get away from home in some conducive place, wonderful. If not, then you can turn your home into your retreat space. ‘Unplug’ yourself: switch off your mobile phone, turn the television off, try not to use your laptop or anything that can serve as a source of distraction.
You can bring some inspiring books, some recordings of teachings that truly touch your heart & soul, a warm blanket or shawl to wrap yourself up in. You can bring enough healthy, nourishing food for the duration of your retreat so that you don’t have to go out to get more supplies.
This is the time to touch base with yourself, to just be with yourself. Suddenly you have plenty of time to immerse in your spiritual practice (whatever practice that might be), a luxury that you often do not have in daily life. You can give it your full attention, really merging with it, becoming the practice.
This then can give a real sense of freshness to your practice, it can create space in your mind, inspiration to continue your practice, or new insights and understanding may arise.
Retreat truly is: giving yourself a treat!
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