Reflections: Spiritual Retreat


A Spiritual Retreat is time set aside to examine, explore, and embrace the power of your soul. To accommodate my vision of making spiritual retreats accessible to everyone, I have adapted the classic Retreat to an online experience, making it possible for you to attend at a time that best suits your own schedule. And because this is an online Spiritual Retreat, you may attend it again and again as needed.

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Learn more about Spiritual Retreat”

A Retreat is permission to “vacate” your ordinary consciousness and slip into the mystical part of your nature so that you can ask soul-sized questions that reveal not answers to you, but truth. Examples of the questions in this Retreat include: What are my higher instincts, and do I respond to them? What are the natural impulses of my soul? How well do I know the content of my own soul? (Never mind the idea of finding a soulmate. We must first know the content of our own soul before we shop it out to another person.) Am I deliberately silencing guiding impulses because I live a distracted life? How different a person am I this year from the person I was last year at this time? What new directives are rumbling in my soul, telling me to make different choices? Does the thought of receiving guidance that is truly from the Sacred domain terrify me?

How would you know the answer to such delicious questions – unless you gave yourself the “inner space” to listen to your soul. Your mind cannot answer these questions. They are not logical questions. They are mystical questions – rooted in the exploration of inner mystery and the quest for sacred guidance. We go on Spiritual Retreats to enter into the deeper mysteries of our life journey and to set foot upon the life path our soul is directing, as that is the path we are really walking.

In an ideal world, each of us would find a way to go on a spiritual retreat for all of these reasons and so many more at least once a year. But it is not easy to exit our lives for a day, much less a week. And retreat centers are not easy to come by, much less ones that suit you. Our lives and lifestyles are not likely to change. There is a reason that the great spiritual leaders always sought out their retreat space. Whether you review the lives of Jesus or Buddha or the more human Ghandi and the Dalai Lama, they maintained the needs of their souls as their priority. Earthly concerns could not be attended to unless their spiritual stamina was taken care of.

As you are all aware, we are living in extraordinary times but what makes these times so rare is not only what is unfolding in the world around us. We are rapidly changing from within. Our health patterns are shifting. Our perceptual skills are expanding. Our sexuality is evolving. Our psyche is deepening. If ever there was a time to move past the religious idea of the soul and understand your soul as the source – the source – of your higher, mystical consciousness (your nuclear consciousness, if you want it in scientific language), it’s now. Hopefully we will come to see spiritual retreats as essential to our spiritual and “mystical” well-being as we view vacations and our physical/emotional health.

So, in order to accommodate my vision of making spiritual retreats accessible to everyone, I have adapted the classic Retreat to an online experience, making it possible for you to attend at a time that best suits your own schedule. And because this is an online Spiritual Retreat, you may attend it again and again as needed.

Like all spiritual retreats, this program has been designed as an uninterrupted nine-day experience that includes both you and me. I will lead you into the retreat with two online lectures. Then for five consecutive days, you will be given daily spiritual instructions to guide you for that day. I have organized the flow and structure of this retreat in a way that supports the classical retreat experience. A brief description of the purpose and focus of each day is provided below. The guidance that you will receive on the actual day will include a deeper examination of that day’s inner work as well as prayers, meditative guidance and specific grace to focus on. At the end of those five days, we will meet again for two more online seminars. A journal is an essential tool for this retreat.

Lesson 1:

Online Seminar One: Entering the Retreat

Our opening session begins with a discussion on how to establish an atmosphere of being “on retreat” while being in your ordinary world. You are vacating your everyday life, setting aside your usual routine. But obviously you cannot put aside the whole of your life, especially if you are sharing your life with others or going to work. So, how do you create the sacred space you need to reside in for the next nine days? An important realization for everyone to learn is that you are not withdrawing from your world for this retreat but remaining within it. You do not have to leave your world in order to achieve an inner state of reflection. This is a jewel of truth that will remain valuable to you long after you complete this workshop. In addition, I will also discuss in this first session:

  • The needs of the soul
  • Holy listening
  • Stating a purpose
  • Importance of commitment
  • What to avoid
  • What to read
  • Fasting – reasons to fast and why fasting is a part of the spiritual life
  • Expectations
  • Staying in the sacred space
  • Prayer time

Lesson 2:

Online Seminar Two: The Deep Dive

Each day of the retreat is a practice with a focus. There is an order and flow to these practices and they work as archetypal coordinates to generate deeper processes within you. As is often the case, the reasons why we go on a spiritual retreat are distractions that serve to get us to begin the process. To say this differently, our ego signs us up for the retreat, but then our soul takes over. Once we set ourselves in “retreat motion”, our inner wisdom inevitably takes over. This second seminar will cover:

  • The essential practices of the retreat and their purposes
  • Working through a personal matter on this retreat
  • Expected inner – and external – struggles
  • Exploring faith
  • Relying on yourself to navigate personal change
  • Observing distractions and cravings
  • Fears you might encounter along the way
  • The need to become impersonal about your own life

Lessons 3:

Personal Retreat Day One: Beyond the Chaos

We fill our lives with distractions all the time. Noise, movement, television, busy work, cravings that we must have, and of course the Internet…the Internet…the Internet. And then there are the more serious distractions that exist behind our eyes, like the narratives we create about what we think is going on in someone else’s life or what we fear the future will hold. Distractions eat up our creative energy and consume the Light in our imagination. Distractions fragment us. They break our consciousness into millions of little pieces that spin like cosmic shrapnel in the universe. Collecting our fragments is the journey – the means – through which we become whole and balanced. Self-esteem – truly holding yourself in high esteem – is the result of feeling “unfragmented”; feeling that no part of you is controlled by something or someone other than yourself. Finally, distractions are how we sabotage our own spiritual clarity. The more distracted we are, the less we are in touch with our intuitive guidance.

Your first day, therefore, is devoted to observing distractions and how much they drain your energy. Like the First Mansion of Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle, she noted that we must confront the “earthiness” of our own life as the first stage of entering our interior castle.

  • Journal your observations at the end of the day
  • Prayer time and holy listening

Lesson 4:

Personal Retreat Day Two: A Day of Silence and Holy Listening

Your second day is devoted entirely to holy listening, to turning your attention inward. This is a day spent in silence, of attunement to your soul. Holy listening is the experience of becoming available to anything or nothing at all from the Divine. What does your soul’s energy feel like to you? Beyond the distractions of your life is a constant sound within you, an ever-present sensation or feeling. Sometimes that feeling is uncomfortable or annoying. Sometimes it is calming. Sometimes it fills you with a sense of wonder that you are exactly where you should be. That sensation – that voice – is your soul.

  • Journal your insights
  • Prayer time and holy listening

Lesson 5:

Personal Retreat Day Three: A Day of Fasting and Reflection

Your third day is devoted to fasting, however your own health can manage a day of fasting. We fast to cleanse ourselves of toxins; we fast to observe the power of our own cravings over our will; we fast to consciously participate in releasing energetic patterns from our psyche and soul. Fasting has long been a part of the maintenance of the soul. Some people can fast for 24 hours; others for 12 or 8 hours. Every person should do a fast appropriate to their health and medical concerns. If you need to eat due to sugar, then do so, in other words. A fast for some people can mean giving up bread for a day. The point of a fast is to experience the struggle of your physical body – cravings – and the strength of your soul to get you through.

On this day, your focus will not be on fasting, however, but on reflecting upon the psychic weight that you are carrying that needs to be released.

  • Journal your insights
  • Prayer time and holy listening

Lesson 6:

Personal Retreat Day Four: Getting High on Soul Food

After the fast comes the meal. Your fourth day is devoted to reading holy, sacred writings that fill your soul with joy, faith, hope, courage and the truth that with God, all things are possible. Prayers and recommending sacred writings will be sent to you. This day is also about movement – walking, sacred dance, swimming. Today is a merger of body and soul, of heart and mind, a day to focus on being a congruent human being, fully at home in the life you are blessed with.

  • Journal your insights
  • Prayer time and holy listening

Lesson 7:

Personal Retreat Day Five: Holy Choices and Divine Intimacy

Your fifth day is devoted to examining choices in life that matter: Am I afraid of God?

Do I fear Divine intimacy? Are miracles possible? What do I really believe in? This day is about personal sacred truth and Divine intimacy in your life. What is a personal holy choice?

  • Journal your insights
  • Prayer time and holy listening

Lesson 8:

Online Seminar Three: Power Choices and Life Changes

Back together again, I will share insights into your journey. My own focus is addressing how to integrate insights and changes into your life that come up during a spiritual retreat as well as discussing how to proceed with initiating life changes, should anyone need to do that. Sometimes the most powerful choices we make, incidentally, are personal decisions that no one ever knows about, like the decision to devote one minute a day in prayer time for peace or to truly fight the inclination to judge others. Power decisions are not to be measured by actions on the outside world.

Lesson 9:

Online Seminar Four: Nurturing Your Spiritual Life

The final day of the workshop is devoted to ways in which you can maintain your spiritual life within your everyday world. Given the challenges of our time – and the openness of our psyche and soul, the awakening of our own intuitive nature – it is essential to have a spiritual practice. Just as we protect our physical immune system, we now have to nurture and protect our “spiritual and psychic immune system.” Included in our last session is a discussion on healing prayer and grace.

Caroline Myss

About Caroline Myss

Caroline Myss is a five-time New York Times bestselling author and internationally renowned speaker in the fields of human consciousness, spirituality and mysticism, health, energy medicine, and the science of medical intuition. Caroline established her own educational institute in 2003, CMED (Caroline Myss Education), which offers a diverse array of programs devoted to personal development and draws students from all over the world. In addition to her written work, Caroline maintains a rigorous international workshop and lecture schedule and has produced more than eighty audio/visual products on subjects that include healing, spirituality, personal development, and the study of archetypes.

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