Secular Retreat

30 May

A while back I wrote on a different blog about my belief that there should be more secular retreats. The entrepreneur in me almost said there was a gap in the market for them.

What I’m talking about is a weekend, or maybe longer, where people could come together for relaxation, reflection, and decompression. The point would be to have an environment that was free of religion and woo, which most retreats seem to be built upon. But I think some things that are often associated with woo (e.g. meditation, yoga) can be valuable if presented in a non-woo way. So this would be a weekend in an environment where your chakras don’t get realigned, and anyone mentioning homeopathy is only doing so in the punchline to a joke. I’ve no problem with spiritualism, religion, or alternative lifestyles that encompass such things, but they often seem to have the monopoly on self-awareness, reflection, and taking stock.

Edit: To clarify – this is not about anti-religion. Anyone of any faith or belief system would be more than welcome to attend, and even discuss their beliefs. It’s more that the activities and focus of the weekend (if there are any) would not be focused or founded in any religious or spiritual belief.

Over the last couple of years (3.5 since I originally wrote that blog post) I’ve been kicking the idea around in my head, mainly because it’s something I’d value. And it occurred to me that I might organise something.

It might be in a big cottage, or a village hall. It might have loads of structured activity, or it might have none. It might be full of technology, or I may confiscate all electronic kit at the door. Whatever it is, I’d be interested to know what others think. And to that end, I’ve created this very quick and simple survey, which I’d be grateful if you could fill in. It’s completely anonymous (unless you provide your email address, of course).

Oh, and yes, I am slightly regretting the theme of the form I chose below. Was going for something upbeat. But it just looks like a two year old’s birthday party…..

 

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4 Responses to “Secular Retreat”

  1. Maf Lewis 30 May, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

    Whereas I love this idea, the issue that you’ve kind of touched upon is that one man’s science is another mans woo. There are a tremendous about of people who claim to have a scientific mind, love science and dislike religion etc… only to come out with something spiritual misquote about quantum physics, or some “science” they read on Natural News about GM crops or how radiation from Fukushima is poisoning our fish.

    To cut to the point, is is possible to have woo free people, or is it best to have certain subjects off topic?

    • Neil Cocker 30 May, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

      Agreed! It’s not so much about it being a weekend *focused* on rational thought. Just a weekend where that kind of stuff isn’t the foundation on which it’s built.

      • Maf Lewis 30 May, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

        Makes a lot of sense to me. As the [paraphrased] saying goes – it’s harder to herd cats than sheep. It’s easier to get people together under the banner of a common belief, or issue, not so easy without it. I’m in though! ;)

  2. noreenblanluet 1 June, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

    I go off on retreat at least once a year, when I can I try for twice. A few days somewhere beautiful and with plenty of nature around – the results are best if there’s neither wifi or phone – and where I have time to think about the meaning of life, work and everything else. Thing is, that works best for me in isolation; that’s kind of the point: removing myself from daily life and other people. Horses for courses though. Good luck with the group thing.

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