There are two primary paths people tend to follow when looking to experience personal enlightenment: either through spiritual tourism or a spiritual life-journey. Each has the same starting point but take very different paths.
The past year has shown the world the beauty of human resilience. The ability to adapt and find a way forward after a global pandemic that has touched the lives of every one of us. As we have changed how we live our lives in response to the virus; from doing zoom calls at home to shifting to virtual offices, we are, more rapidly than ever, losing touch with our physical world – and each other. It is a path that will shape not just our generation, but future ones to come. This big pause.
As people look to grow, regain, or discover a path of spiritual enlightenment, destination retreats have always been popular. Many people love the idea of travelling far from home to have these pseudo-spiritual experiences. The big western brands behind much of Bali’s spiritual-tourism industry has always been a quick-visitor focused alternative to many traditional Australian retreat holders.
An unfortunate aspect of spiritual tourism is the idea that the experience is linked to the location – and without it – the benefits of a spiritual awakening can’t continue after people go home. While venturing to a far-off place can seem appealing, it also delivers the mixed message that you must travel far in order to take a meaningful journey of your own.
The past year has seen many people use this time to seek a new spiritual awakening within. However, due to travel restrictions, more and more people are discovering why traveling closer to home can provide an even more enlightening spiritual journey they seek.
When people retreat closer to home, we have seen and felt the positive experiences firsthand that it brings to our communities. You don’t need to be somewhere far off to connect with your inner self. You cannot construct an exotic spiritual storefront and think stepping inside will be enough to provide the gift of spirituality. It’s not a souvenir you buy, it’s an awakening you feel.
The idea of sangha is to grow the positivity within the community around you. Besides the obvious lower carbon footprint from staying closer to home, Sattva Sanctuary provides the transformative spiritual awakening people seek, not a beach bar yoga retreat.
By embracing a path of spiritual awakening closer to home, we have found so many Sattva Sanctuary guests continue to practice together, long after the retreat is over. Many of our teachers who help guide Sattva Sanctuary guests, also provide weekly classes where limited space is always at a premium.
People want to stay connected to the community they helped build, together. The gift of spiritual balance and harmony is a benefit to all living things in our environment. So, leaving it all behind at a resort after taking a few classes can slow the chance for inner growth.
When you are doing transformational spiritual work, the energy of the land that hosts these experiences can elevate a person’s connection to it. It is why we have sacred locations in all cultures and religions. The belief in a stronger spiritual connection that goes beyond just the physical experience of sitting and touching. As we are both spirit and body, we must recognize so is the rest of the living world.
The more chanting, the more meditation, the more spiritual practices you do on a land, the more the shift of energy happens to the land. All living creatures draws life from the physical earth. The vast interconnectivity of all living species is rooted within the balance of our common environment. Our own spiritual health is linked to the health of our physical environment.
It is the harmonized connection to one’s environment that helps channel growth of a person’s spiritual enlightenment. We cannot cut ourselves off from the natural world. We are all co-inhabitants of it, not masters over it.
As we bring this positive energy with us and spread it around our neighbourhood, more neighbours feel the benefits and slowly we can help with positive community alignment. This has a much more lasting effect for everyone, than going for a week to Bali and having an “experience” you only bring home on a postcard.