How To Choose A Spiritual Retreat

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How To Choose A Spiritual Retreat

View of the Red Rock Landscape during a Spiritual Retreat in Sedona, Arizona, USA

How To Choose A Spiritual Retreat

How To Choose A Spiritual Retreat

By Ed Preston

Are you considering a spiritual retreat, but not sure how to find one that is right for you? Perhaps you are afraid you will spend your hard earned money on some worthless program created by a con artist, or worse yet, seduced into some sinister cult that will use brainwashing techniques to take control of your life. People going through the type of emotional trauma or life changes that lead them to seek a retreat are often vulnerable, and the bad things mentioned have happened to others, leaving them even worse off than they were before.

For most people taking a spiritual retreat involves a significant investment of both time and money. It can be a life-changing experience for the better... or a complete disaster. Therefore it is both wise and prudent to define your goals, set your intention, and do your research before you commit to anything. The essential elements you will have to choose are: where do I want to go; who do I trust to guide me; what does the program involve, and how much does it cost.

Choose a location that is conducive to inner reflection, and different enough from your every day life that your normal routine is broken. Breaking that routine so that you can look at the larger picture of your life is what taking a retreat is really all about. Ask lots of questions about the qualifications and background of the facilitator. A great question to ask is "What did you do before you started facilitating retreats. Another question you should definitely ask yourself early on in the process is whether you want a "group" retreat or an individualized "personal" retreat. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Group Retreats

Group retreats are what many people think of when they think of taking a retreat. The "group" is normally organized around a charismatic personality, a particular set of beliefs, a system of techniques, or some combination of these. For example, if there is a famous self-help writer you have always wanted to meet, perhaps they offer a group retreat once or twice per year that you can attend. Many group retreats are based on shared beliefs, such as Christianity or Buddhism. Finally, if there is a system of techniques you want to learn more about (yoga is one example) you can easily find an instructor who may not be famous or charismatic, but has been certified to teach the technique. Since there are lots of others who also want to learn, they are able to gather a group together specifically for that purpose. Another reason to take a group retreat is simply to meet other people with similar interests.

One disadvantage to a group retreat is that you will be getting a one-size-fits-all program, with less personal attention from the facilitator. Also, you must schedule your retreat for the dates offered. There is no flexibility. You will normally be required to stay in the specific accommodations arranged for the group. Again, there is little or no flexibility. You will be in a group of strangers. The dynamics of the group cannot be known in advance and will definitely affect your outcome. It is a fact of life that people posture for each other and conceal parts of themselves when they are placed in a group. In terms that Cesar Milan (aka "the Dog Whisperer") would use, attending a group retreat can be like joining a dysfunctional pack. Group retreats often come with a drip marketing system designed to sell you another program. Finally, the cult issue mentioned at the beginning of this article is only possible in the context of group retreats being led by a charismatic personality.

Personal Retreats

Personal retreats are a brand new paradigm in Western culture, but are actually based on the original way of approaching spiritual growth: the pilgrimage. In this type of retreat you work one-to-one with one or more master teachers. The experience is essentially customized for you. The teacher meets you where you are and helps you move forward from there. The classic version of this spiritual journey involves traveling high into the mountains to find a mystic sage and spending days or weeks there stripping away the ego. In this type of retreat the focus is totally on you and no time is wasted on issues that belong to someone else. If the teacher(s) are truly qualified, the changes you experience will be profound and lifelong.

There are two disadvantages of a personal retreat. First, you must be willing face your issues head on and alone. This takes real courage. Second, the cost is usually higher since there is no group to spread the cost. In simple terms, a private yoga session is far more productive than a class, but costs more.

SpiritQuest Sedona offers several group retreats per year, but our true specialty is customized personal journeys for individuals and couples. For clients who are in real crisis, we have found this approach to be the most effective way to facilitate personal transformation. The company was founded to help people just like you rediscover their joy and inner peace. Since we were founded in 2007, SpiritQuest has guided over 1,500 people through our spiritual retreats in Sedona. Our mission is simple: help people who have shut down to feel again, people who have isolated themselves to trust again, and people who dislike themselves or others to forgive. Our clients work with a team of top spiritual guides (a very balanced, functional pack) in one of the world's most powerful locations.

"We bestow thoughtful care upon inanimate objects, but none upon ourselves. What a robust people, what a nation of thinkers we might be, if we would only lay ourselves on the shelf occasionally and renew our edges!" - Mark Twain

Ed Preston is the co-founder of SpiritQuest Retreats in Sedona.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Ed_Preston/960552


Ed Preston

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