The interconnections between spirituality and science is becoming more widely spoken about each day, in the national press, on talk shows, and the like. The merging of the two in all respects, from journals and articles, research, and even retreats, is becoming evermore prevalent…
Thus, what other way to assess the health benefits of a retreat other than to carry out a scientific study…
The results are SHOCKING!!
However, I am not a scientist, I have never worked in a laboratory, nor do I ever aspire to! So, how else could I carry out this experiment?...
Well, rather than a traditional scientific experiment, I have opted to go down the ‘back to basics’ route.
In other words, I am going to forget laboratories, brain scans, heart rates, full body x-rays, etc. Instead I am going to go with real people, real life, the guy on the street, ordinary people, people like you and me.
Let’s just ask people, observe people, and most importantly, watch ourselves.
I have spent a huge part of my life going on retreats, and also sharing time with others who have also gone on retreat, somewhere, at some time in their lives, for some reason…
So how did they all feel about retreats and the subsequent health benefits, or lack thereof, of retreat life?
Monday - Retreat Day 1
You’ll make new friends from all around the world.
Usually on the first day of any retreat people are nervous, eager to make connections with others, and to make the transition from home to retreat life much easier for themselves.
Everyone is open, friendly and keen to chat. This continues throughout the retreat as emotions often overflow, people open up, and there has usually been a lot of laughter and tears in equal measure. Due to the unusual and extraordinary nature of retreats away from our normal, daily lives, connections between fellow retreaters are made swiftly, intensely and bonds run deep.
Therefore, it is without doubt that you will leave a retreat having made strong friendships, some of which will last a lifetime – I can vouch for that!
You’ll discover more about yourself and you'll replace old habits.
Often on the second day of a retreat you realise that you have to stay here for a week, if not longer… Spending a period of time away from your normal routine and daily life, and time spent on your own away from friends, family and colleagues, means that your mind has the freedomto let go, open up and you have the space to find yourself again. Often questions arise such as “What do I really want?” “Am I happy?”, and “What shall I do next?”… Yes, these are all scary questions which we often avoid asking ourselves, and push to the back of our mind.
On retreat, the peace, the quiet, nature, solitude, freedom and unique atmosphere mean that we are often more free and confident to allow these thoughts to come up… and sometimes we find the answers we were searching for, answers that before we were too scared to admit… (And very often nothing arises – and that’s fine too!)
It’s an adventure, a journey, and life-changing!
Wednesday - Retreat Day 3
Understand and appreciate how hard you work.
On the third day of a retreat your body clock is slowly adjusting and adapting itself to retreat life. Being on retreat away from the usual 9 to 5 work, and all the responsibilities of our lives, enables us to look at our normal day to day living through new eyes. We often come away asking ourselves; “Wow!!! Do I really do all that everyday?!” And the answer is usually ‘Yes! I do!!!’ And very often that’s OK.
We love our job, our kids, our partner, and our lives, and we would do it all a hundred-fold for them all, all over again! But it’s good every once in a while to give ourselves a pat on the back for everything that we do and acknowledge how hard we work.
Retreat life can give us the space to look at our lives from a different perspective and appreciate all the positive things we bring to ourselves and others each and every day of our lives.
Thursday - Retreat Day 4
You’ll foster a new outlook on health & wellbeing.
On Day 4 of a retreat, and every other day too, you will take part in one or more of the following;