Withdrawal from the world is something we can, and perhaps should, do every day. It completes the movement of which entering fully into life is only one part. Just as a loaf of bread needs air in order to rise, everything we do needs an empty place in its interior. I especially enjoy such ordinary retreats from the active life as shaving, showering, reading, doing nothing, walking, listening to the radio, driving in a car. All of these activities can turn oneself inward toward contemplation.
Mundane withdrawal from the busyness of an active life can create a spirituality-without-walls, a spiritual practice that is not explicitly connected to a church or a tradition. I have never forgotten Joseph Campbell's response when he was asked about his yoga practice: laps in the pool and a drink once a day. Anything is material for retreat- cleaning out a closet, giving away some books, taking a walk around the block, clearing your desk, turning off the television set, saying no to an invitation to do anything.
At the sight of nothing, the soul rejoices.
- Meditations on the monk who dwells in daily life by Thomas Moore