Retreat, Pray, Self Love
When we retreat (from the world) into ourselves, something deep within us is accessed. We nourish ourselves in a new way. In a way that we long for in our very active lives but in a way that perhaps we’ve glimpsed but not yet delved into. When we retreat, our senses are sharpened, we become more in tune with our inner selves, our inner voice, our intuition and something changes. We slow down and come to rest. We take all that is not essential out of our experience and nourish our minds and bodies at a deep level. Our deeper selves are accessed through certain tools, channeled through our body with various holistic techniques including Yoga, meditation, walking in nature, detoxifying with either a clean vegetarian diet and / or fasting, Ayurveda, transformational workshops and through bodywork. A retreat is where we remove ourselves from our day to day lives and retreat into an environment where our inner selves can be nurtured.
It is becoming increasingly popular and for good reason to travel to a country like India where we are able to completely forget our normal existence and be propelled into a new environment. An environment where the sights, smells, sounds and tastes are completely different to what we are used to, thus heightening our senses. This accomplishes a few ends. In a world where experience travel is becoming a part of many people’s desires, we get to experience a new place and at the same time accomplish a real rest. This rest happens at every level of our being.
What does it mean to pray if not to commune with our own inner being? Our inner being is made up of the same stuff as the universe and is pure and light and full of wisdom. There have been many names for this inner being over the millennia where humans have inhabited the earth. Some call it our soul or our spirit but whatever we call it, we can all agree that there is a part of us that animates us. Retreats are designed for us to come into contact with our inner being and its manifestations such as our inner voice or our intuition and our feelings. To pray is not just to ask for help but also to align with our inner beings in such a way that we are able to hear our deepest desires for our lives. When we meditate we are in a type of prayer state, not doing anything in the outer world but simply sitting with our inner being. We are divine beings and when we give our bodies, that are indeed the temples that house our inner beings, nourishment and detoxify we are able to become aligned. Meditation is prayer. Nourishing foods is prayer. Yoga is prayer. Fasting is prayer. And we emerge from our prayerful state with mental clarity and transformation.
Love is the key and it is Self Love that is the pre-cursor to experiencing true love. In order to experience this self love we often need to remove ourselves from the experiences that are preventing us from truly loving ourselves. We all have certain insecurities, we are all busy, we are all running to meet deadlines and expectations and often don’t have the time to stop. But this stopping is essential because without it, deep abiding love can evade us. Self love is when we honour and respect ourselves by giving our body the nourishment it craves to be able to perform the tasks that we need to not only to survive but also to thrive. Our bodies have a ready wisdom that is available to us the very moment we come into alignment with our inner being. Truly looking after what we have in this gift of life, feeling gratitude for everything that we have no matter how simple it is.
Loving ourselves is when we do the things that our hearts are calling us to do. It may be something as simple as reading a book on a Sunday afternoon with your cat on your lap or it may be something as elaborate as taking yourself off on a retreat in India. Self love is when we perform practices that allow us to transform and transformation is nothing more than removing that which no longer serves us. When we truly love ourselves we are able to truly love others and we naturally draw others that reflect this self love back to us. And then we can live the lives of our own choosing.
Dawn Jorgensen writes about her experience Rishikesh in October last year on her blog www.theincidentaltourist.com.
“In October last year, I travelled to a city with 100 000 people to find silence and solitude.”