Types of retreats

.There are many kinds of retreat.
There are meditation retreats, study retreats, silent retreats. There are retreats centered on specific meditations or practices. There are solitary retreats, group retreats and seminar-like study retreats.

You can do a retreat on a mountain top or in a busy monastery, There are even home retreats where you stock up your kitchen, turn off the phones, unplug the T.V. and don’t answer the door for a specified amount of time, concentrating completely on your retreat agenda.

Retreats can be undertaken according to many different guidelines. They can be of any duration of time:0 one-day, weekend or month long retreats and long retreats of one year or the traditional three year, three month, three week retreat. Some retreats provide tightly structured schedules, while others offer retreatants more freedom.

In order to choose a retreat, you could ask your spiritual friends/teacher for suggestions  or ask yourself questions like: What are my reasons for wanting to do a retreat, what are my spiritual interests and experience, and what environment would best facilitate their actualization? What are my limitations, physical, mental, financial, time-wise, etc.? Do I want to be silent and solitary, or am I looking for new like-minded friends?

For how long should I retreat? This will depend a lot upon your prior retreat experience. For some people, it may be best to start small with a half-day, daylong, or weekend retreat rather than jumping into a week or ten days of silence and/or solitude. What kind of structure would suit me: many scheduled activities, or lots of open time for my own established practices and interests? What kind of surroundings would be most conducive? Do I need to conduct other activities while on retreat, or can I sequester myself entirely from the world during that period of time? What specific practices might I like to engage in? Do I need to ask a friend to provide cooked meals, groceries and shopping while I’m on retreat.