It’s nice if you can take a month off from work to move into a cedar cabin in the woods, but you can also go on a refreshing meditation retreat without ever leaving your home. Try these suggestions to set up and enjoy a restful and enriching experience.
Steps for Preparing Your Home
- Clear away clutter. Minimize distractions by putting the TV, phone and computer out of sight. This is good time to discard possessions you rarely use or store them away. Physical clutter also tends to cause mental clutter!
- Set out appropriate objects. Select a few items that help to put you in the mood. You may want to arrange a small vase of flowers or serve yourself tea on a pretty tray.
- Prepare to eat light. Foods that are easy to digest will let you concentrate your energy on other activities. Fill your refrigerator with yogurt and salad greens. Drink protein shakes.
- Dim the lights. Soft lights will calm your mind. Light candles or use shaded table lamps.
- Gather inspirational reading material. Browse online or visit your library for books that you can read during your retreat. Pick whatever is meaningful for you.
- Keep track of time. When you’re new to meditating, it may help to use a device that will let you know how much time is passing without watching the clock. Put your alarm clock behind you and set it to a pleasant sound. Or sit for as long as it takes one stick of incense to burn down.
- Find a cushion. You can buy an official looking cushion or use your bed pillow. Sit in a straight backed chair if you find that more comfortable.
Steps for Preparing Your Mind
- Pick a good time. Make some free time on your calendar. Your best dates may be when your spouse is away on a business trip or your kids are spending the night at a friend’s house.
- Slow down in advance. The weekend after a major convention could be a difficult time to switch gears. Become more deliberate and mindful in the days before your retreat so you’ll need less transition time.
- Try to resolve any pressing issues. Take care of doctor visits and car repairs before you go on retreat. Put aside future plans as much as possible.
- Let people know you’ll be out of touch. Write an auto reply for your email letting people know you’ll reply on whatever date your retreat is over. Ask your loved ones to avoid contacting you except for emergencies.
- Focus on what you want to attain. Set a goal for your retreat. You may want to strengthen your determination to pursue a new career path. Maybe you want to draw closer to your family and friends.
During Your Meditations
- Breathe deeply. Breathing correctly improves your mental functions. Take full breaths from down in your abdomen. Let the air travel in and out of your nostrils.
- Straighten up. Good posture also helps you stay alert and concentrate better. Straighten your back, relax your shoulders, and hold your head erect and slightly forward.
- Observe your thoughts. Watch your thoughts without making judgments. Identify any concerns or goals you want to spend more time reflecting on.
After Your Retreat
Much of the value of any retreat lies in the aftermath. Develop a practical plan of action for reaching your goals. Review your progress daily to help stay on track.
Get away from it all while you stay at home. Meditation retreats occur in your mind, so create a peaceful setting and generate positive thoughts you can take along with you when you resume your daily routine.