It’s only fitting I would lead a short weekend meditation retreat with, well, two short people. Tara, Ruth King and I led a three-day retreat at Pearlstone Retreat Center in Reiserstown, MD last weekend.
Traditionally we offer a weekend as part of a seven day retreat. That was always problematic as we’d have a disruption on Sunday before the rest of the participants would settle in for the long haul. With so many folks battling to get into the week longs, we’ve now separated them out. (We’re actually going to a lottery system soon.)
This brings up a question I’m asked from time to time: Is a weekend meditation retreat worth it or is it better to hold out for a longer retreat?
It’s quite common, when you settle in for a meditation retreat, to come in contact with fatigue and exhaustion. The first day and often the second and third can be filled with sloth, torpor, sleepiness and lethargy. Some people find they are just beginning to feel some clarity when it’s time to pack up and head home.
I assure folks who are struggling with sleepiness on a retreat that if they slept the whole time, their life would feel very different afterward. We are an over-stimulated, exhausted and depleted culture and no doubt, as yoga says, “the more dynamic your rest, the more dynamic your activity.” If you can afford the time and fortune to do a longer retreat, by all means, lock one in. It can reshape your life. You’ll feel more energized and alive.
If you can’t do a longer one, do consider a weekend retreat. You may not ‘break on through to the other side,’ as Jim Morrison would say, but you’ll start to reset and recalibrate your body/mind in a way that is both direct and sometimes quite dramatic.