Monday, May 08, 2006

Solo, Silent, Spiritual Retreat

This is the little cabin in the pine forest of Bastrop State Park where I recently spent several days on retreat. But it wasn't any ordinary retreat. A national magazine offered to pay for me to "escape" into the woods for a totally silent, totally solo spiritual retreat, and journal about the experience for their publication. I said yes, and for three days I swore off TV, radio, ipod, cell phone, conversation with other humans, and even talking to myself. In fact, I didn't even hum!

Instead, I listened...

I awakened today with the dawn. No alarm—just birds singing, which was a far nicer affair. I listened for a little more than half and hour before finally rising to start the day. After grabbing some granola and coffee from my stores in the kitchen, I headed outside.

I love the smell of the earth in the morning. These trees and this soil around me are all far far older than I am, and in all probability they'll be around long after I’m dust. But all of it looks and smells so completely new at first light, like it’s the first day all over again, reborn by the baptism of dew from heaven.

Lamentations 3:22-23
The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

Why does it seem that, through creation, God is constantly winking at me?

(from my silent retreat journal)

Can you imagine what it would be like to simply disappear from your regular routine, travel to some beautiful, natural setting and for three days do nothing but sit in absolute silence, ponder your heart, and listen to your life?

If you think such a trip would drive you absolutely crazy, consider: You may be the one who most needs to go.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more, my mind feels so cluttered, hearing what seems like a million voices telling me what I should do with my life and people are just pushing me away, but I think they are pushing me away to something similar like this. Sometimes you have to step away from the noise to hear the still small voice, that refuses to compete with the rest of the shouting voices trying to draw you all sorts of different ways... whether 3 hours of silence or 3 weeks of silence, you got my vote...

-Chicago, IL