Successful At-Home Retreats
To some people, an at-home retreat sounds like a contradiction.
We usually think of going far away for a retreat, emphasizing the physical aspect of retreat. But it’s actually the mental aspect that’s the most important part of a meditation retreat. By setting aside everyday activities for a while (whatever the location), we’re better able to focus our minds on cultivating helpful states. With a little bit of planning, it’s possible for most of us to create good conditions for an at-home retreat.
The mental aspect of retreat is the most important part.
The following points are just suggestions, not requirements.
1) Find a quiet corner with minimal distractions.
That's not always easy, especially with many people's daily routines disrupted right now. But as much as possible, find a spot that’s different from where you work or sleep. It could be in the same room – just facing a different direction, or in a different chair. Whatever you can manage.
2) Between sessions, try to stay within.
The more you can stay mentally within, the more you can sustain your peaceful, meditative state. You’ll also be more likely to pick up right where you left off in the last session. This means it’s best to avoid things like doing work, watching TV, going online, or running errands. Instead, you might go for a walk, read a Dharma book, watch a video of a Dharma teaching (see below), sit quietly with a warm or cool drink, or turn in early.
3) Ask others to give you space.
If there will be others around, ask them to avoid disturbing your meditation sessions. You could also let them know that you’d like to stay within as much as possible between sessions, so you may be more withdrawn than usual. If they need convincing, you could let them know that you’re doing the retreat to become a better person, someone who’s nicer to be around – better company for them.