People are searching for a deeper meaning of life and want to be more mindful and introspective, but how does one do that? Well, they can read articles online, buy books, watch YouTube videos or immerse themselves in a retreat. For all the “newbies” out there, here are a few suggestions to help kickstart the path of enlightenment. Be aware, these are true in-depth experiences, not a spa getaway.
The Monroe Institute has been helping people expand their consciousness for 40 years. Their main campus is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. They offer a five-day/six-night consciousness program, as well as weekend workshops. The Institute describes their programs as “the exploration of human consciousness and the experience of expanded states of awareness as a path to creating a life of personal freedom, meaning, insight and happiness.”
Mepkin Abbey is next on my list. The Abbey is an actual monastic community on the Cooper River in Charleston, SC. You are welcome to book one of the guided retreats or a silent retreat. Their guided retreats offer different studies and both guided and silent offer prayer services with the monks. Dining is in silence with the same vegetarian diet as the monks. For those looking for a more in-depth spiritual experience, you can actually be a monk for a month. (Out of curiosity I looked into it and decided one has to be pretty dedicated to keep their required work and prayer schedule during that time. However, I have no doubt it would be a life changing experience.)
One of my favorite places is Sedona, AZ. With its powerful vortexes and red rocks that emanate their own energy, you can easily go inward. Sedona is known as a spiritual mecca and is the perfect place to nourish your soul. You can contact the Sedona Metaphysical Spiritual Association and The Enchantment resort is not only a fitting place to stay, as it is nestled in the red rocks, but they can give you the name of a local Shaman. As you can imagine, there are multiple websites dedicated to spiritual retreats in Sedona, so just do your homework on reviews.
Another superb resource for not only spiritual retreats, but also mindfulness and manifestation, is The Chopra Center. Founded by the one and only Deepak Chopra, the center offers everything needed for a spiritual journey. As bucket list items go, this is a must do!
Looking for something not as intense? Check out The Art of Living Retreat in Boone, NC. Here you will have the opportunity to combine the serenity of nature with several different types of retreats, along with Ayurveda spa treatments to come to a place of rejuvenation, peace and a greater vision of yourself. With five different types of retreats: Happiness, Silent, Yoga, Meditation and Rest & Restore, visitors are bound to find one that resonates with their soul.
Wherever you want to start out your spiritual awakening is up to you but a retreat will definitely jump start your journey. Namaste.
Debbie Martinez is a Miami Dade resident and Travel Editor for The Florida Villager. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.