Frequently asked Questions
- What is a Spiritual Retreat?
- Who may benefit from a Spiritual Retreat?
- I’ve taken group retreats. Why should I consider an individual retreat?
- How do I choose a retreat guide?
- Where will I stay during the retreat?
- What is the role of the Retreat Guide?
- What happens when the retreat guide visits?
- Do I spend the whole time sitting in the hut or room?
- What and where will I eat?
- When should I arrive/depart?
- How much does it cost?
What is a Spiritual Retreat?
Tulip, why have you opened your lips?
–To tell you what I have learned in the silence.
What did you learn?
–To make of myself an empty cup.
The spiritual retreat fosters an inner experience and a break from the routine and business of everyday life for a number of days of guided reflection. The purpose of a spiritual retreat is to develop greater self-understanding and to rekindle a sense of meaningfulness and wholeness and integrity of self and others. The retreat is a process of healing, transformation and rejuvenating to one’s body, mind, heart, soul and spirit.
Who may benefit from a Spiritual Retreat?
A retreat is for those individuals who seek to deepen self-understanding, to nourish and renew their spirit, to rededicate themselves and find ways to better manifest their highest ideals. It is grounded in a holistic perspective on health and spirituality, one which views meaningfulness and creativity as emerging from the nurturing of physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
I’ve taken group retreats. Why should I consider an individual retreat?
An individual retreat starts with attunement to your goals, intentions, and proceeds according to your level of experience. It unfolds at your pace and often permits a deeper experience of the practices than is possible on a group retreat.
How do I choose a retreat guide?
All retreat guides are trained, experienced, and certified by the Sufi Order International. Most have been guiding retreats for many years. Feel free to ask to speak with any of us. If you don’t know the retreat guides on staff, call the Abode’s retreat coordinator. S/he will ask you what your intention is for the retreat, about your background and experience with spiritual practices, and if you have a preference for a female or male guide. S/he will then choose someone who is a good match for you. Usually you will call and discuss your retreat with the retreat guide prior to the retreat.
Where will I stay during the retreat?
Many retreatants choose to stay in one of our newer cabins nestled near a whispering stream. The heated cabins are comfortably furnished with a bed, fridge, fan, kettle and meditation cushions and have access to a heated composting toilet. Showers and toilets are located an easy five-minute walk away. Another option is to stay in a more rustic hut, located in a meadow a 5-minute walk uphill from the main community buildings.
Each hut and cabin has heat and electricity, and is simply furnished with a bed, altar, lamp, hot pot, fan, and meditation cushions and benches. There is an outhouse located in the retreat meadow; showers and toilets are available in the bathrooms of the Abode Meditation Hall. Some people choose to stay in a room above the Meditation Hall or one of the other Community buildings, giving them direct access to an indoor bathroom. Here are maps of the Abode (an overview), and of the Mountain Top area.
What is the role of the Retreat Guide?
A trained retreat guide meets with you every day and suggests a schedule of practices. All retreat guides have undergone extensive training in the retreat process, have taken many individual and group retreats, and are individually certified. Some retreat guides are counselors, psychologists or healing practitioners by profession and all are familiar with the physical, psychological and spiritual aspects of the retreat. You can check out the Bios of our retreat guides.
What happens when the retreat guide visits?
Visits may be once or twice a day. The guide will meet with you every day at least once. S/he will sit in silent meditation with you for a few minutes. Then s/he will suggest practices for you that generally include work with breath, light, sound, walking in nature as well as meditations and prayers from the Sufi and other spiritual traditions. S/he will explain and demonstrate all the practices as needed and will answer any questions you may have. S/he may also provide meditation and music CDs for you to listen to.
Do I spend the whole time sitting in the hut or room?
Not unless you choose to. Some retreatants continue their daily yoga or tai chi practices while on retreat. Many do practices while walking around the hundreds of Abode acres; some like to swim in the pond in the summer months. Being in nature is an important part of a retreat and you and your retreat guide will discuss how and when to incorporate outdoor activities. Most retreatants observe a vow of silence during the retreat.
What and where will I eat?
Typically you will eat breakfast and lunch and dinner in your cabin hut or room. We provide a large container of simple vegetarian foods from which you may prepare your own breakfasts and lunches: granola, juice, rice cakes, fresh fruits, dry soup cups, almond butter, herb teas etc. Each evening a delicious, freshly prepared, vegetarian meal is served. If you have any food allergies or concerns, we will try to accommodate them.
When should I arrive/depart?
Arrival and departure can be scheduled at your convenience. Typically some people arrive for a 3-day retreat on a Thursday afternoon/night and leave Sunday afternoon. You can also arrive on a Sunday night for a 5-day retreat and finish your retreat on Friday afternoon.
How much does it cost?
The retreat fee of $110 – $150 sliding scale for a room and a range of $85.00 -$150 for a hut/ cabin per day includes accommodation, a container of food for preparing your own simple breakfast and lunch in the hut and one warm meal (dinner) delivered daily to your room; the service of a trained retreat guide who will meet with you at least once daily. Please see the Payment page on this website for more information.
To ask other questions, request a brochure, or to schedule a retreat:
Call the Sufi Retreat Center at the Abode Coordinator at:
(518) 794-7285 or you may use E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.