How to prepare for your solitary retreat
If you are having your solitary retreat at Sudarshanaloka ...
Please read our FAQ page about what you need to bring.
Bring enough to be reasonably comfortable & bring a few things that give you joy
Bring enough to avoid irrational worry, anxiety, and discomfort. Especially on your first few solitary retreats, don't try to give up coffee or sugar or start your new diet. It is not worth it. You might have some success but solitary retreats are not primarily an opportunity to make such superficial lifestyle changes. Solitary retreats give you the opportunity to see underneath your behaviors to the root cause of why you do things in the first place.
Tie up any loose ends before you arrive
Let your friends and family know you'll be away, provide them with our contact details in case of an emergency, and sort out anything that needs to be done before you leave. Once on solitary retreat, turn off your mobile phone and trust that people will let you know if need be.
Take the time to arrive and settle in
Although it is possible to dive straight from work or busy family life into a solitary retreat, but why not arrive and settle in more gently? If you give yourself a little time to arrive and settle, you'll be more sensitive to what is helpful and productive.
Bring some inspiring input: good books & good talks
Put some preparation into the reading and listening material you choose to bring with you. Don't bring too much, don't bring too little. Listening is very different from reading, best to have some of both available.
Coloured pencils, blank paper, and anything else creative
Prepare to find yourself in a more creative space. Even if you don't consider ourselve 'creative' or 'artsy' still bring at least a small box of crayons / coloured pencils, some blank paper and put them out in the open during your retreat. Don't hide them in a drawer. Creating can be very revealing and enjoyable.
Make a plan but don't take it as law
It can be useful to have a plan, but plans are simply ideas and preparation for what might happen. What actually happens on a solitary retreat might not be what you expected. So don't let your plans make you insensitive to what you actually find.