Attuning our awareness to the way we function and our relationship to the universe is the primary aim of most spiritual practice. Many teachings point out that our main enemy is ignorance. Awareness is our only defense against ignorance. This is why the practice of silence in spiritual retreat is so beneficial -- it raises and expands our awareness... A spiritual retreat is medicine for soul starvation. Through silence, solitary practice, and simple living, we begin to fill the empty reservoir. This lifts the veils, dissolves the masks, and creates space within for the feelings of forgiveness, compassion, and loving kindness that are so often blocked.