The world is in the grip of a pandemic. Many parts of the world including India, where I live, is under lock down. Some of us are working from home. I realized that this is the best time to go into retreat at home. You may go for partial or full time retreat.
Here are some suggestions on how you can go into retreat at home:
- Practice: Practice meditation. Practice Yoga. No matter what discipline you belong to now is a good time to practice. You may do one session or multiple sessions spread across the day. If you are new to mediation you can find many guided meditations on the internet. If you are familiar with any healing modalities you can practice them too.
- Loving Kindness: During difficult times loving kindness is needed. This is a good way of sending good vibes to others. The instruction for Loving Kindness meditation is as below:
a) Sit in a comfortable posture with back straight.
b) Bring your attention to your breathing. Observe your breath for a minute or two.
c) Generate a feeling of loving kindness towards your self and say, “May I be happy and free from any kind of suffering.”
d) Think of your family and generate a feeling of loving kindness towards them and say, “May they be happy and free from any kind of suffering.”
e) Think of your friends and generate a feeling of loving kindness towards them and say, “May they be happy and free from any kind of suffering.”
f) Think of your extended community and generate a feeling of loving kindness towards them and say, “May they be happy and free from any kind of suffering.”
g) Think of all the medical, medical support and essential services workers and generate a feeling of loving kindness towards them and say, “May they be happy and free from any kind of suffering.” Those on the front line of this pandemic need our support.
h) Think of all those who have been affected by the pandemic and generate a feeling of loving kindness towards them and say, “May they be happy and free from any kind of suffering.”
i) Then finally say, “May all sentient being be happy and free from any kind of suffering.”
- Listen to Dharma talks or read spiritual books. There are many talks available on YouTube. If you are not too spiritually inclined, then you may also listen to the thought leaders in your field. You can also catch up on your readings.
- Reflect and Journal: Set aside some time to reflect and journal. Ask questions that are of importance to you and reflect on them. Some examples are:
a) What are my values? How am I expressing these values?
b) What gives meaning and purpose to my life?
c) What would I really love to contribute to the world?
d) If you don’t have a vision board, create one.
e) Do a self inventory in the areas of personal, family, profession, community, etc.
f) Another form of self inventory could be in the areas of physical, mental, emotional, relational and spiritual aspects of self.
g) Revisit your long term aspirations and goals.
- Fasting: It is beneficial to do intermittent fasting. Since you are not commuting or going out, this may be a good time to fast. If you have never fasted before, I would suggest skipping one meal, preferably dinner. If you are not inclined to fasting then make a resolution that you would not snack in between meals.
- Observe Silence: Observe silence for a day. Don’t talk. Stay off social media chatter. This will allow your practice to deepen. If you are adventurous you can observe silence for three days or may be even seven days. If you are working from home then fix certain time slots to be in silence. For example, you could take care of emails and calls in the morning and observe silence from 11 AM to 4 PM. Customize it as per your needs and/or capacity.
- Work on that creative Idea: Did you have a creative idea that you could not find time to work on? Well, now is the time to work on it. Write that book. Work on that painting. Learn that song. Or, work on that business model!
Feel free to take the suggestions that resonate with you. You may also add your own activities to the above list. Have a great home retreat. I would love to hear about your experiences. Please leave a comment here or write to me.