Retreat and Advance
As I was researching the subject of retreat and advance, I was struck at how negatively the military, political and business brokers of all kinds viewed retreat. On the other hand, the artists, philosophers, religious and scientists viewed retreat as a necessary part of their inquiry. In the more dualistic and power over approaches to life, retreat and advance are viewed as polar opposites. In the more wholistic, non dual, power with approaches, they’re viewed as complimentary, part of a sacred unity.
Being in the autumn of my Life, I’ve been reflecting on the many battles I’ve viewed, explored and fought in. I’ve come to understand a bit more about this life on earth by turning away from the world on various occasions for extended periods of time. As one who has always been close to Nature, both inner and outer, I’ve been able to discover the many perspectives that come from zooming in for up close and personal inquiries and zooming out for broader, more expansive and transpersonal explorations.
I’ve come to realize that any retreat and advance can be both helpful and hurtful depending on our intentions and awareness. There are years, even decades in our lives where the only retreat we get is the occasional escape we seek in the carnal pleasures that can numb us to our struggles and plummet us further into the depths of disconnection. The mantras of “No retreat, Never give up, Go fight win, Might makes right,” ring out clearly in our day to day dramas of competition and dehumanization.
What are we advancing to? What’s the destination, the sought after goal? How have we come to believe that fighting, pushing, driving, striving, always being on the make will bring inner and outer peace? What does it take to realize that struggle, resisting and advancement without retreat causes chaos, alienation and disconnection? How many sleeping pills will it take to wake us up from this sleep? How many wars must be fought to finally bring us all together with acceptance, understanding, compassion and peace?
I speak these words as one who knows the darkness of strive drive and the light of grow slow. Through it all, a benevolent something can come to help us see that our best success comes after our greatest disappointments. Embracing this reality, this contrast of retreat and advance, we explore our wounds, our intentions and our follies. Here we commune with one another and learn to speak truth from our hearts. Here we retreat from the fray and learn to play in a way that together helps us find a new way.
Today I pray, which is to sit with all the pain and sorrow, joy and delight in this space of retreat from the so call advancement in this world. From this place, the very real Tree of Life radiates lovingkindness to every Heart and Soul that’s Here and on its way Home. This energy is clear and pure. The design is retreat and advance, ebb and flow, stop and go, contract and expand, winter and spring, summer and fall, darkness and light, laughing and crying, living and dying and….we’re all included… all part of this Whole…
- Today take an intentional retreat from your ordinary pattern of activity even if it’s only for a few minutes. Take a meditative walk where you simply enjoy each step, each breath, each sight, each sound with no evaluation or purpose. Enjoy being alive in a world of aliveness with no agenda and no judgement. Be in Presence with what is.
- Somewhere in the week take a retreat from the mass media for a whole day. Turn off your computer, your hand held devise, your television, all the ‘stuff‘ that pulls you away from your Inner Being. Do this with intention in a non judgmental way. Alert others if need be by a simple message of “On retreat, will get back tomorrow.” See what happens and feel the pull of the outside world and the Be-longings of the inner world.
- Have some conversations with loved ones, colleagues and friends about retreating and advancing. Be generous and authentic. Share your reservations and revelations. Maybe even form a retreat and advance circle of companions to support one another as you explore the possibilities of retreat and advance as a Wholeness
- Notice how retreating and advancing compliment one another as you intentionally engage and embrace each one throughout your day. Give attention to the rhythm that comes when you consciously participate in this Infinite Creative Rhythm of Life. . . .