Thoughts on Retreats

I have just returned from a twenty-four hour retreat. I went to Willow Pond Retreat House in Oakland City, Indiana. It is a small “kuti” ; however, small is not really needed to describe kuti. Kuti is the Pali word for meditation hut. This house is much more that a hut. Bathroom with a shower, kitchen facilities and bed/couch. The kuti is located on the pond with the sound of a waterfall outside the door. Breakfast food is included for the daily rent of $45. I love this place. (1-812-782-3775)

This is not an advertisement for Willow Pond. It is encouragement to do retreat. It can be 24 hours or five days or fourteen days or six hours. The purpose is to have an environment that supports your meditation practice. Monastics have such an environment which is one reason they choose to become a monastic. Our minds respond to stimuli of the senses. A quiet place removes that first layer of mental noise.

Nature, like the arts, points to the spiritual. So if you are doing a retreat day at home (with the phone off) take time to walk outside. Similarly if you come Sunday for the monthly extended sitting choose to do walking meditation out-of-doors.

I have been discussing personal retreats but group retreats are important too. They provide a teacher and the strength and power of a group. We learn from each other which is why the sangha is one of the Three Jewels. At a group retreat the agenda for each day is planned. On a personal retreat you can be lead by your own mental and physical needs. Our sangha is sponsoring a group retreat this June.

—– Mary MacGregor ¬†¬†Evansville IN