10 Lessons From a Meditation Retreat
While I was recovering from a life crisis, I left my home in Germany in search of renewal. In time, I fell in love again, remarried, and got a new job. Just when it started looking like I was going to live happily ever after I began to return to my negative habits. I found myself again trying to control everyone around me, while facing new marital problems and periods of intense fatigue and boredom.
Once again, I was totally stressed out.
It was around this time that I started to realize the problem might be in me and not in what everyone else lacked. As I faced this truth, I began reading books and attending conferences on self-healing. I heard speaker after speaker discuss ways that I could improve my life, and found that one practice was recommended time and again: meditation.
My Spiritual Path
I asked myself, “What is it about meditation that’s so important?” One of my favorite authors in this area was Deepak Chopra, M.D. I began intensely reading his books, one after another, fascinated by this new knowledge that was slowly changing my life for good. I participated in Dr. Chopra’s free online meditation challenges and found myself attaining levels of relaxation I had not experienced in a long time. I wanted to further my practice, so I signed up to attend the Seduction of Spirit meditation retreat at the Chopra Center.
Attending this retreat deeply influenced the direction of my spiritual path. It taught me many valuable lessons and helped me elevate my good—yet inconsistent—intention to meditate toward a deeper level of commitment to my practice, my spiritual growth, and my well-being in general.
The 10 Most Important Lessons I Learned at the Seduction of Spirit Retreat
If you’re considering attending a meditation retreat, it’s important to keep in mind that what you take away with you in the end will depend a lot on where you are in your own spiritual journey. Here are 10 things I learned at the Seduction of Spirit retreat that had the greatest impact on me.
1. I am not alone. There were at least 500 participants at the retreat who were looking to reconnect with their souls, and when the key speakers presented that number nearly doubled. I had the opportunity to listen to wisdom from Eckhart Tolle, Wayne Dyer, and Deepak Chopra, among others. It was truly inspiring to be part of this awakening. People from far away countries such as Dubai, New Zealand, France, Germany, Mexico, and Argentina flew in to be a part of this event in an effort to reconnect with their spirit.
2. All I needed was my mind. There was no need for fancy clothes or equipment or music or anything else like that. The only thing I needed to connect with myself was me.
3. I witnessed my own thoughts for the first time. I realized that I was constantly, chronically thinking in a nonstop and involuntarily manner.
4. I learned to be kind with myself. Meditation can be quite challenging in the beginning, especially if you haven’t done it silently for more than five minutes at a time. At the retreat, I entered fully into longer periods of silent meditation with my eyes closed. This required me to stop forcing my mind and learn to meditate effortlessly, thus finding deeper levels of peace. You have to be patient and kind to yourself in the process.
5. It’s OK to be vulnerable with your emotions. We met and interacted with other people at intimate levels by asking soul-searching questions, sharing personal stories, and gazing directly into other people’s eyes. I felt deep emotions of true compassion as I looked directly into the eyes of others who were sharing the experience with me.
6. I found beauty in early-rising meditation. We were invited to meditate very early in the morning, preceded by Hatha yoga. I found deep calm when meditating with the sunrise—just before the day fully began—as it allowed me to see the value of life with more clarity.
7. I learned to surrender desires and attachments. I felt as if my mental resistance was broken down by the long periods of meditation at the retreat. I witnessed people giving up and leaving the retreat as they could not stand being silent for more than 10 minutes, but I found the strength to keep going until the end, just to witness the beauty of surrendering my mind to pure silence. It was only when I stopped forcing my mind to concentrate that I found beauty in surrendering my attachments, worries, doubts, and fears.
8. Sutra meditation is one of the most beautiful and powerful ways to meditate. Sutra is a Sanskrit word meaning “stitch,” or a threaded connection. Sutras are subtle intentions planted in our awareness. Through Sutra meditation I learned to plant transforming seeds into my consciousness and energy centers by visualizing pebbles dropping in a quiet pond.
9. I learned to live after stress. I had completely forgotten how it felt to be relaxed, light, and clear, and have a positive attitude toward life. The retreat helped me to get that back.
10. I learned to let go of expectations through meditation. When you stop expecting and worrying, judging or analyzing what you think you should or should not experience, magic happens.
If you hunger to reconnect to your spirit, consider the Seduction of Spirit retreat. Maybe you, like me, will be willing to pack up your ego and direct your life toward the spirit.