Teachings from a Spiritual Retreat

Ana Pinto
4 min readJul 21, 2020
Photo by Ana Pinto

Precisely a year ago, I allowed myself to embark on a meditation and yoga retreat. The initial objective was to rest from the mental noise that surrounded me and to return only when I felt calm. I remained in social isolation for about a month, and what I took from this adventure was much more than rest. It was a rebirth for life, full of love, gratitude and a latent desire to live my dreams.

Since I had no big goals in mind, I chose not to sign up for any specific program, looking for places where I could create my own path on my own. As I reflect on my first retreat, I find it difficult to put my experience into words. Today I know that learning is only completed when we share it with others. And this is how I can say that after the moment of pause, I made some simple, but profound, commitments in my day-to-day life as a result of this change. These were the great teachings of my retreat:

Mental discipline always.

It is important to have discipline and a schedule that is flexible but with routines. I realized on the first day that even in a retreat, where we supposedly have no commitments, the lack of self- discipline makes us lose precious hours and our brain becomes rebellious. We should, ideally, adapt to the local times and create space for our tasks.

Compassion for our soul.

Social isolation can cause us some insecurity. For everything in life you need time and space to adapt. Even if we are not conscious, our body lives stressed and dramatic on a daily basis. In fact, the body and mind do not know how to live otherwise. We can feel calm about this change and the body can be accelerated. It’s all about practice and mental discipline.

Anonymous heroes.

There are people who can make all the difference in our life and stay with us for a week, as we can have discreet but toxic relationships that last for lots of years, who do not bring the essence and the learning of the true connection of human life. We must accept that different relationships have different durations and that it is in love that the presence of our most beloved remains.

Put yourself first.

When the mental noise disappears, the first thing that becomes clear in us is what love means. And when we gain the ability to love ourselves, we are ready to be with those around us in a healthy way.

Life is not that complicated.

On the third day of the spiritual retreat, it became difficult to remember why I felt tired and sad. This has made me realise that perhaps our problems will become trivial the moment we begin to live in the present.

The silence is no longer embarrassing.

This is the power of a quieter life: less distractions and more concentration on the Inner Self. The art of speaking only when it is necessary transforms us into more thoughtful beings and we start actively listening, instead of just hearing, to apprehend the wisdom of whatever is around us.

We are all the same.

We are all the same on Earth and in the appreciation of what makes us happy, in the purest of things: nature, the dusk, the wind and love.

Our body tells us everything.

When there is widespread and excessive tiredness, we should avoid staying active or reflecting on major topics. The moments of greatest fatigue are those that make us vulnerable and insecure. We must have the ability to listen to our own bodies.

Food is sacred.

We are what we eat, hence the importance of consciously managing our food. The act of eating becomes an act of meditation, enjoyed and lived intensely.

Write not to forget.

With the return to social, relational and professional life, it is natural that over time the whole experience becomes a distant memory. It is very important to write as much as possible during this period, as it will be the details of our day-to-day life on the retreat that will forever remind us of who we really are, and that there is always a place in us that is only ours, where only peace and tranquility can reign.

Photos by Ana Pinto