THE RETREAT


The retreat dining tent

"Full moon, where will you be going from here?
– Into a retreat.
Why do you take a retreat after fullness?
– To make myself an empty vessel in order to be filled again."
 

Hazrat Inayat Khan


"Retreat time is an opportunity to withdraw temporarily from the outside world, to reduce worldly activities to a minimum for some time, to restrain the chatter within one’s mind, to keep silence, and to concentrate on the inner worlds. Silence is the key to experiencing new dimensions of one’s Self. During this time we reconnect with our spiritual source and regenerate our subtle energies. The paralysing routine of everyday life is interrupted."

"Concentrating on our spiritual exercises, our personality undergoes a transformative process. This is the time when we are confronted with our shadows, our fears and other obstacles within. We learn to develop forgiveness and other needed qualities in order to heal inner pain and to proceed on the path. Our aspiration is for the eternal source above diversity, the unfathomable light, the ecstasy of the Divine beyond any idea, indescribable and yet more real than anything we have experienced with open eyes. It is a gift to drink the wine of Divine bliss, which we thankfully cherish, but this is not the goal of the Sufi. When we reconnect with the inner source we discover fresh perspectives on all kinds of topics and problems. That is why we feel as if reborn at the time when the retreat is finished, and we return into the world."
- Munir Voss, Senior Teacher, Sufi Order International

We offer three forms of retreat:

1. Individual retreat
Tucked away in one corner of Camp is the silent retreat area, where you are surrounded by the soothing sound of water and held in the beautiful container of the mountains. The atmosphere that has been created here by all those who have been on retreat over the years makes this one of the most sacred spaces in the camp. When doing an individual retreat, your stay can be as short as a week or as long as four weeks.
The retreat process is carefully structured and led by a qualified retreat guide, who has undergone extensive training in the retreat process of the Sufi tradition as taught by Pir Vilayat Khan.The guides are familiar with all aspects of the retreat: physical, psychological and spiritual. 

The individual retreat is considered to be an advanced training , so it is necessary to have spoken to a guide  beforehand. You will meet daily to receive practices to do during the day and have time to discuss questions, which may arise during the retreat. We have a wonderful group of guides from around the world who come for the summer and you can find out more about them and the retreat process by clicking here.

It is advised to make contact with a retreat-guide of your choice before you come to the Camp, in order to be sure of their availability as well as clear any questions or intentions in advance.
And you can also book a retreat on arrival, where you will also find information on the guides that are available.


2. Group retreat
During the Group retreat participants walk together on the path of awareness, peace and silence. Usually the mornings are spent meditating together, using breath, concentration, wazaif (mantras of the 99 holy attributes of god) and zhikr (practice of remembrance). During the afternoons there is time for individual practices, given by the guide of the retreat. Evenings end with zhikr or other spiritual group practice.
A group can carry us far beyond the realisations we have had so far, and are sometimes easier to achieve in a collective meditation, when the individual energies merge into one.

3. Community retreat in the 2nd week with Pir Zia Inayat-Khan
During the Community retreat the whole Camp comes together to be in collective silence and our inner life takes preference over our outer interactions. We learn how community can be formed in the heart of silence. 
"The seers, the saints, the sages, the prophets, the masters, they have heard that voice which comes from within by making themselves silent. I do not mean by this that because one has silence one will be spoken to; I mean that once one is silent one will hear the word which is constantly coming from within. When the mind has been made still, a person also communicates with everyone he meets. He does not need many words: when the glance meets he understands. Two persons may talk and discuss all their lives and yet never understand one another; and two others with still minds look at one another and in one moment a communication is established between them."
- Hazrat Inayat Khan