Why visit a retreat

May we recommend the following readings before and during a stay at My Retreat. They were our personal favorites.

Quiet please

Are a few days of silence good for the soul? An investigation.
William McGowan, The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 4, 1998.

Upon entering a spiritual center McGowan writes,

"...There is a common misconception that silence is the means through which the contemplative achieves a oneness with God. In fact, the point of silence is to allow one to recognize that the oneness already exists, and that feelings of loneliness and despair are unfounded...

Once I settled into the routine ... hours of solitary walking, reading and exercising punctuated by basic meals ... seemed like the most natural thing in the world. Although there were plenty of people around, I found myself not really interested in conversation ... hardly a hair shirt, the verbal deprivation and solitude seemed almost luxurious...

I came about as close to a ‘still' point as I have ever come... [There was also] anger, in part, at living in a media culture that so readily marginalized anything to do with the sacred, a culture ready to drown authentic spiritual striving in an ocean of irony... I could just hear my friends groan..."

Wherever You Go There You Are

Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Hyperion, New York 1994

Kabat-Zinn quotes Thoreau

"[he] felt the need to go off on a solitary retreat for an extended period of time...'I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived'...[in praise of non-doing]...perhaps such moments of non-doing are the greatest gift one can give oneself...[on selfing] if we could only recognize the process of selfing as an ingrained habit and then give ourselves permission to take the day off, to stop trying so hard to be ‘somebody' and instead just experience being, perhaps we would be a lot happier and more relaxed..."

Marry Your Muse

Making a Lasting Commitment to Your Creativity
Jan Phillips, Quest Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1997
"...Do not doubt that you are born to create...that the realm of art belongs only to others. Do not believe what you have been told or think you heard: that you are incapable, unimaginative, not artistic. This is blasphemous-it denies the potential to create, which is your birthright. If you believed these things and woven your garment from doubt and fear, disrobe and look within. Find what brings you joy and go there. This is your place to create, to move with the spirit, for the Muse lingers near the home of your joy."

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