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Understanding what a Retreat is.

Although in today’s western world a retreat may seem like a very modern thing it is an ancient practice that has been around since time immemorial and across a range of cultures. Retreats can be found in North American Indigenous cultures in the way that the women would ‘retreat’ to the moon lodge or the young adults would take a solo trek out into the forest to discover their spirit guides. It can be found in the Christian Mystics and their endless days spent wandering in the desert in search of Jesus. It can be found in the Sadhu’s of India and the way they would ‘retreat’ from society to find solace in the caves of the himalayas.

All of these various aspects of ‘retreat’ although seemingly different have the same commonality of spirituality and an inward honing of the attention. A ceasing to look externally for the heart’s desire and to instead turn inward and provide an opportunity for the heart’s desire to call us home to the Heart itself.

At Anuttara, although we do provide some creature comforts such as, Wi-Fi on the weekends, comfy beds, heated buildings, and delicious healthy meals. We are also rooted in the belief that a ‘retreat’ is a spiritual opportunity for the seeker or ‘retreater’ to turn away from the typical distractions of the external world and to travel inward. This means we spend our mornings and Monday’s in silence, we have sweets on occasion, and we maintain a consistent spiritual practice.

This kind of retreat is challenging, and especially when living off-grid. We are left to be with ourselves which can for some, be the most challenging thing we could possibly do. There of course is a very loving and supportive community of like-hearted beings in which you can surround yourself with and teachers and facilitators who are willing to provide guidance and lend a attentive ear.

All that being said, it must be made clear that moving towards the spiritual heart is what is most important for us at Anuttara. This is why our retreats do not reflect what may be the more common understanding in the modern world of sitting by the poolside with an umbrella drink getting our feet rubbed. We urge you to check in with yourself and know what it is that you are seeking out a retreat for and whether you feel it is in alignment with what we hope to provide.


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