Last year I went on a Mindfulness Retreat at Sharpham House in Devon. That was the first time I had even been on anything like that but I felt that I needed some time away from Bristol and the pressures of modern life. I have to say that it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
When I arrived I was shown to my room, which was huge and had a four-poster bed! All the rooms are single occupancy so that you can really soak up the true essence of the retreat. We had meditation 3 times a day and each meditation lasted for 30 minutes. We also had periods of silence, which could be very testing, particularly at meal times.
For me personally, it was all about being in the middle of the country with no mobile phone signal, no wi-fi, no internet and no television! The food was absolutely delicious and the scenery spectacular. The periods of silence were very freeing as you didn’t feel obliged to make conversation and you could just go and be by yourself.
A retreat offers the benefits of physical, emotional and psychological withdrawal from the stresses and strains of everyday life and a chance to escape from the effects of 21st century living. Life is very simple and every aspect of the day allows you to relax and enjoy your environment with meditation and walks in the country. They give you the time and space to go into a deeper part of yourself and to regain a sense of self.
When we were leaving, someone described the retreat as ‘stepping off the world for a few days’ and that’s exactly what it felt like. I felt refreshed, rejuvenated and at peace with the world.