RETREATING IN TOTAL
... is a common practice for many of the ancient spiritual traditions from around the world.
Their dark rooms have appeared in many different forms — from the pyramids for the ancient Egyptians, to the catacombs for the ancient Romans and the caves for the Kogi Mamos in Colombia along with the lamas, monks, adepts and sincere practitioners throughout India, Tibet, China and other parts of the world.
THE GREAT PERFECTION
Dzogchen practitioners spend years in preliminary and regenerative stage practices before even entering into dark retreat. This also holds true for many ancient and traditional taoist and hindu practitioners.
THE KOGI MAMOS OF
... the highly respected tribal priests of the Kogis are taken from birth and put in a cave for the first 9 years of their lives to undergo strict training and discipline to assume this role.
Elder Mamas, along with their birth mother, care for, train and teach the child. In India, dark retreat is often times coupled with Kaya Kalpa retreats for very advanced practitioners. Kaya Kalpa is a specialized field highly revered within the Ayurveda and Siddha medical systems for regenerating the body. It is traditionally done alone in darkness along with the application of various herbal concoctions.
DIVERSE ADEPTS, MASTERS & SPIRITUAL ASPIRANTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD HAVE COME TO EXPERIENCE THE BENEFITS AND BLESSINGS OF DARK RETREAT.
Some lineages and traditions have taken the time to map out the science, the “why”, of the profound transformation that takes place during a dark retreat. Each of them express and share their understandings in different ways.
It is possible, yet not scientifically proven, that through prolonged dark retreat there is an overproduction of nocturnal brain chemicals made in the pineal gland, such as melatonin and endogenous DMT, a potent psychoactive molecule that is produced naturally in the human body.
We are currently exploring a collaboration with the neuroscientists from the Psychedelic Research Center at the Imperial College London. We plan to use both blood and EEG tests to track and monitor the brain's electrical activity and neurochemical processes during a dark retreat. We intend to explore many different factors that can both support and/or slow or inhibit endogenous DMT relative to the length of retreat, diet, degree of experience in meditation and other factors as well.
In our attempt to demystify dark retreats, we want to share links, videos, podcasts and as many resources as we can.
Check out these beautiful stories shared by dark retreatants who have emerged from Darkness back into the world of form.
" Let come what comes, let go what goes,
see what remains "
- Ramana Maharshi