Recently, I attended the Boundless Compassion Retreat at Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center. My initial purpose in attending a retreat was simply to step into another space and time to quiet the noise of my life, slow down, and clear my head. I chose this retreat to support my quest to become a more compassionate soulful being.
Though I am very familiar with Spirit in the Desert, I had never attended an extended retreat there wholly immersed in the moment. Facilitator Joyce Rupp was the compassionate, calm and self-aware person I hoped she would be. Her extensive knowledge of scripture and writings from people throughout history reminded me of how all of humanity and creation are connected. The sounds of nature and the tranquil setting of the retreat center along with the fellowship of community affirmed that connection.
It was good to be away mentally and physically because I found the connection between suffering and compassion, to be a deep topic with which I needed to spend time pondering. Suffering is experienced in all of humanity and creation. We all have the capacity to suffer and to cause suffering. Compassion means looking beyond the fear and anger that accompanies suffering. Compassion is the love, the comfort and the caring response to suffering, whether it is being compassionate to another human, to yourself, or to creation.
I left the retreat refreshed in body, mind, and soul feeling more equipped to handle life’s challenges.