If you are so inclined to pursue a solitary spiritual retreat as opposed to an experience within community or continuing education or a vacation or something else, the place should be determined by the purpose. For me the right context for contemplation, reflection, silence, reading, writing, and praying is one that provides space for solitude, quiet and the environs that foster growth in the inner life. If you desire alternating times of the day alone and the day among others, choose a location that affords that opportunity. If you desire the experience of a hermitage then find that. Don’t spend unnecessary energy on anything that will take you from your purpose.
If you choose the simple remote locale filled with natural beauty then you will have the experience of many who interface with the powers and witness of nature and her renewing energy. Traveling even a short distance to get there will create the dimension of pilgrimage. If you choose a set-aside location that has been designated for the spiritual purposes that will provide a different experience and you may find yourself haunted by the presence of the souls who sought much the same thing before you. You will indirectly commune with them as well as with your Creator in the depths of your spirit.
Rule number 1: Go simple in everything.
Rule number 2: Unplug. Only check electronic devises once or twice a day. No TV.
Rule number 3: Allow yourself to detox. It will take a good twentyfour hours for the static electricity to drain off.
Rule number 4: Bring a few devotional books or resources that feed the spirit and cause you to stretch.
Rule number 5: Sleep and nap more than usual. Rest and sleep are good. Follow the natural cycle of light and darkness for rising and going to sleep.
Rule number 6: Use physical activity to unite body and soul. It could be as simple as daily walks.
Rule number 7: Don’t run from silence. It is tempting to flee from the vacuous space. Just wait on it.
Rule number 8: The world will get on just fine without you for a while. Let go of feeling indispensable.
Rule number 9: Expect some momentous things to be revealed to you. Listen.
Rule number 10: Eat slowly and thankfully. You never break bread alone, not even if you’re the only one there.