Why should we care about spiritual retreats?
The nature of life is such that you cannot change the journey but you can change where you view it from. We all see the same movie, but have different seats.
What everyone tells you is that it a big scary world out there, when you are growing up, but what they don't tell you is that there is a big scary world inside our heads as well. We all relive stories inside of our heads. We all also live out different scenarios inside our heads as well. This is just as real as the real world that can you hit you in the face with bird shit or a bus, Thought do the same thing. They can either be a petty annoyance, or the end of you.
So prepare yourself properly for the "real" world by first figuring out that closest to you. The surest path to happiness is start inward and build from there.
This can begin with something like a spiritual retreat. There are many different ways to understand a spiritual retreat. Please do not think of this as finding anything but yourself. To take you away from the everyday noise and allow your mind to flow freely and absorb information, appreciate information and beauty instead of trying to process it. As we know from Heisenberg is that the act of observing changes the nature of the thing being observed, in this case reality. There is real scientific grounding for a understanding the spiritual if you allow them to coexist as two versions of the same thought.
A personal retreat is as much a mind set as it is a place. Remembering this allows anyone to benefit from this experience. Spiritual retreats can and do happen in all places imaginable. But there is no better place than to be among nature to seek spiritual guidance.
The first places, and certainly some of the best, environments for spiritual retreats are those that are experienced amongst trees and water. In nature there is a beauty present which exists outside of the human realm. We can paint beautiful portraits and compose a masterpiece but the reality of sunset is more inspiring. The sunset, the beautiful ocean, the rivers and lakes are the sources of many of humanities finest creations.
The first type of retreat is that done without guidance, a simple "retreat." These can be considered mini retreats in the sense that they are not over 24 hours, can occur within a normal day and serve as a recharge. This is done with a walk in a park, or sitting beside a body of water. A quiet 15 minutes among nature can act as a personal daily spiritual retreat.
Expanding the daily retreat (spiritual retreats) idea into the balance of the year, there should be extended periods of "being" with nature. This is the difference between a vacation and a spiritual retreat. There should be little to no stress in planning and once there all the worries of what to do and see should be non-existent. Vacations as they are taken to places like Europe or exotic travels are more environmental learning and trips of academic nature, as they tend to be among people and civilization and provide another necessary but different viewpoint in which to view reality.
A spiritual retreat is one spent in self reflection. A sense of calm should really be the ultimate goal, the oneness of understanding that as much as nature is beautiful and the "outside" world, we are part of this amazing nature as well. We often separate our humanity from the fact that we are made of materials of this Earth. We are no separate from the Earth than our arms are from our body.
Another type of retreat is that with guidance. A guru or spiritual guide leads you on an inward journey through ritual and self exploration. They show you a path and help guide you down but they can not force you to go, you must make the steps. That is why spiritual retreats are always personal in nature.
For a different experience call your best friend and find a state park, or national park in your area, even half way between where you live if the friend is at a distance. And spend time together discussing life among the trees and waters. It may seem a bit corny until you try it. The natural quietness yet energetic environment that nature provides will give you insights into all the important areas in your life and sharing them with someone you trust encourage even more inward growth as you gain an alternate perspective to work from.
Another great way to supplement a spiritual retreat is to work one-on-one with a spiritual life coach.