Illness as retreat

 

It seems not uncommon for people in a “spiritual emergency” to experience illness, which in turn may function as a form of retreat.

In some cultures, they recognize the symptoms of a spiritual emergence or emergency, and support it in various ways, including through retreats. In our culture, there is often not such an understanding, so illness may sometimes serves that function instead. It’s what’s possible for us, so it’s the direction life takes. (The lack of understanding of – and support for – these types of processes, may in itself contribute to fatigue and illness.)

The purpose of a retreat is to remove us from our daily routine, the business of daily life, and allow us time and space for meeting what’s already here.

And that’s exactly what an illness can do, and perhaps especially fatigue. (Which seems a typical symptom for some in a certain phase of a kundalini or awakening process.)

An illness allows us a retreat setting. It allows unmet, unquestioned and unloved things to surface in us, so they can be met, loved and examined.

And some of the things surfacing will, most likely, be about the illness itself. An illness is often perceived as a threat to some of our most cherished identities.

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Retreat re-entry

 

Going into or coming out of retreats, there is an invitation for me to ask: How much difference is there for me between retreat and daily life? How do I experience that difference?

And if the difference is quite noticeable, there is an invitation for another question: How – if at all – am I drawn to bring my practice more into daily life? How would that look?

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