Home Retreat Guidelines

When a widespread difficulty like the Coronavirus pandemic grows, it becomes important to draw on our inner strength. It is the time to pause, reflect and bring wisdom, courage and care to ourselves and those around us. We human beings have survived for a thousand generations, helping one another and inspiring each other. We know how to do this. Instead of getting caught in collective fear and anxiety, we can remember to take a breath, center ourselves, and take practical precautions and protections, but calmly and in the spirit of love.

Each of us can contribute to the well-being of ourselves, our communities and our world. As Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh explains: When the crowded Vietnamese refugee boats met with storms or pirates, if everyone panicked all would be lost. But if even one person on the boat remained calm and centered, it was enough. It showed the way for everyone to survive. Let us practice together in these difficult days so we can be that person.

This is a powerful time to create a home retreat for yourself if you can create the space. The purpose of a retreat is to follow a formal rhythm of practice that allows you to center yourself, tend your body, quiet your mind, see the present circumstances with clarity and freedom, and open your heart. It will take some dedication to do this, and we will show you how to set it up.

By choosing to let go of the usual habits of distraction, online time, unnecessary busyness and tasks that can wait, you can make this a beneficial and healing time. Though initially, a home retreat may feel unfamiliar or hard, you will gradually find yourself settling in and feeling grateful for the rewards. Now is the perfect time to draw on the inner strength of meditation and deepen your capacity to live amidst it all with awareness and compassion.

Note if you had planned to attend a residential retreat: For many, home retreat has been transformative in ways not experienced in residential retreats. Our homes tend to be places where our habits are strongest; the momentum of unconsciousness can be strongest in the home environment. The possibility of bringing awareness to this aspect of our lives is very powerful. While individual experiences are quite varied, it does allow us to deeply integrate our spiritual path into our living space, creating the visual and temporal reminders of path and practice in our own homes.

We look forward to supporting you on this retreat. If you choose to attend, if at all possible, we are asking that you commit to the retreat with the same integrity you would bring to a retreat in a residential setting.

Adapted and used with permission from: https://www.spiritrock.org/