Jesus demonstrated great wisdom and insight when asked by his disciples to teach them how to pray. Jesus instructed the disciples the go within themselves to that place of deep connection with God. These instructions apply to us as well. When we take time out of our busy days to connect in silence to the deepest places of truth within us, we find peace, insight, healing and transformation. In the contemplative life, we try to set time aside daily to go into the cave of our inner self where truth and beauty lie.
While daily prayer and contemplation provide the foundation for the contemplative life, there are also times when we may feel called to set aside not just a few moments, but an entire day or several days to retreat within to our deepest self. There are times in our journey where a few moments of meditation will not suffice. We simply need more time to reflect, to process and to allow the inner transformation to become integrated within ourselves so that it can emerge to become embodied in our everyday lives. The saints and the mystics understood this call and frequently retreated to the desert, the mountain, the forest and the cave to simply be with God.
While we may not always have access to the mountain or the resources to escape into the wilderness, this does not mean we cannot embrace the call to our own private retreat. Our own private retreat can happen in this moment and in the midst of our busy, modern lifestyles. With the support of our families, we can carve out a day to simply be. Turn off the phone. Shut off the TV. Create a sacred space for meditation, prayer, movement, within your own home. Journal. Meditate. Sing. Draw. Paint. Prepare a sacred meal for yourself. Go for a walk in nature. Simply be and be open to how the Divine is speaking to you at this moment in your journey. Seek the bigger picture, the signs and the coincidences. Observe and appreciate the beauty of nature and the beauty of your own life. Just be. You deserve it and you will be amazed (as will your supportive family members) at the fruits of a day (or days) of going to your inner cave. You will be refreshed, rejuvenated. You will find insights and a rebirth of creativity. You will find insight, wisdom and sometimes answers to life’s most challenging questions. What are you waiting for?