Aaron Rodgers is going on an isolation retreat that involves four days of complete darkness and silence to contemplate playing on in the NFL.
Rodgers, 39, is considering his football future after the Green Bay Packers failed to reach the playoffs this year.
Speaking to the PatMcAfee show, he said: ‘It’s four nights of complete darkness. You’re not locked in, you can leave if you can’t do it, you can just walk out the door.,
‘But it’s a darkness retreat, I’ve had a number of friends who have done it and have had some profound experiences and it is something that has been on my radar for a few years now.
‘I felt it would be awesome to do regardless of where I have been leaning after this season. So it has been on the calendar months and months and months and it is coming up in a couple of weeks.
Aaron Rodgers is going on a darkness retreat to consider whether to keep playing in the NFL
Rodgers (right) has been working out what to do since the Packers lost to the Lions last month
‘It’s a room, it’s a little house. There’s a two-way, like a little slot where they will drop in some food for you. But it is isolation and darkness, no music, no nothing. Just myself, isolation.
‘I’m still in the art of contemplation about my future. After my isolation retreat I’ll be ready to make a decision.’
He was asked, almost jokingly, if there is a bathroom or if he would wear a diaper, to which he replied: ‘I think you can wear adult diapers if you want but there is actually a bathroom, yeah.’
He continued: ‘I think there’s a lot of sleeping involved, for sure. I’m not taking anything in there with me. Nothing in there. If it’s too much, I will just walk out. The door is unlocked – if you want to leave, leave.’
The Packers failed to make the playoffs after a defeat on the final day of the regular season to the Detroit Lions on January 8.
Rodgers said immediately after that game that he would need time to consider what comes next for him and it has since emerged that the Packers would be willing to trade him if he does play on.
‘It’s a real thing,’ Rodgers said of his struggle to reach a decision. ‘That’s why it is going to be important to get through this week, take my isolation retreat and just be able to contemplate all things on my future and make a decision that is best for me moving forward, in the highest interest of my happiness.’
Rodgers has previously spoken openly of using ayahuasca in the offseasons in 2020 and 2022.
Rodgers said he wants to make a decision that is ‘in the highest interest of my happiness’
Rodgers has previously spoken openly about using ayahuasca on two different occasions
Rodgers could be traded by the Packers if he chooses to play on for at least another season
‘[There was] me and me after ayahuasca,’ Rodgers told Joe Rogan last year. ‘It’s been really interesting to see the people reaching out, across the league — and there’s been a lot of people outside the league, entertainers, sports people, just friends from the past, people who work at the [Packers practice] facility, just the 9-to-5 people — all interested in plant medicine,’ Rodgers said.
WHAT IS A DARKNESS RETREAT?
According to the website Hermitage Retreat – it is not known if that is the company Rodgers has gone with – a darkness retreat is ‘an unparalleled experience in intense seclusion, in which the practitioner is deprived of all light and sensory distractions, and thus plunges into a deep witnessing awareness of the mind, and eventually experiences the perception of the inner light of pure consciousness.
’Retreating in complete darkness is a practice common to many of the ancient and contemporary spiritual traditions across the world.
‘From the monks and lamas in Tibet, to the Kogi Mamos in Colombia; the ancient Egyptians and the mystics of 15th Century France, Dark Retreats have provided revelation and illumination to countless practitioners who have sought the inner light.’
Each request is considered individually to participate in a darkness request. Participants get two vegan meals per day.
‘I think it’s been really interesting. I think there’s a hunger for what I experienced, what you talked about on mushrooms — this death of the ego, this realization that we’re all connected, this greater sense of what community is.
‘When you dissolve the ego, the amount of love that you can give back to yourself and then other people, it takes away, for me, so much judgement of myself and others, so much separation between myself and others.
‘The greater sense of connection was overwhelming when I kind of came out of that and got back to ‘reality,’ or whatever. It’s like ‘oh s***, now here’s the integration.
‘Here’s me in a different form. Here’s my reflection that I see of myself and you, and we’re all f***ing connected in such a deeper way. Just doing a plant that’s been used for generations in the Amazon jungles.
‘And I got the same feeling on mushrooms as well — just an incredible connection to nature and life and all sentient beings and all plants and fungi.
‘Of my previous self, I feel like the anger and bitterness and resentment and negativity, that I kinda like, standard, walk around with — and it wasn’t like a super-high level — but I felt like coming out of those experiences, it’s like: ‘that s*** don’t even matter,’ he said. ‘Like, kindness matters. Connection matters.
‘Being present with people, having conversations matters,’ Rodgers continued, adding emphasis as he began targeting digital communication.
‘Putting your f***ing technology away and connecting with them — because I think, on a deeper level, we all just want to be seen and understood — and that’s why social media is such a platform, because everyone is just: ‘f***ing look at me! This is my opinion, and it f***ing matters!’
Rodgers was targeted with social media criticism back in November, when it was revealed that the Packers QB was unvaccinated and infected with COVID-19.
Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers failed to make the playoffs in the 2023 season
Rodgers won the Pro-Am with Ben Silverman at Pebble Beach in California over the weekend
The controversy began before the 2021 season, when Rodgers was asked if he was vaccinated, and instead told reporters that he was ‘immunized’ against COVID-19.
What Rodgers didn’t explain at the time was that he did not receiver the vaccination, but rather, a doctor-prescribed therapeutic treatment aimed at bolstering his resistance to the virus.
That meaningful distinction was clarified in late 2021, when Rodgers tested positive for coronavirus and was subsequently required to quarantine for 10 days — the minimum amount of time an unvaccinated player is asked to quarantine, per league rules at the time (the NFL has since reduced quarantine time).
After initially blaming the media and the ‘woke mob’ for the misunderstanding, Rodgers told radio host and former NFL punter McAfee on November 9 that he wanted to apologize ‘to anybody who felt misled.’
Last week, Rodgers played in and won the Pro-Am at Pebble Beach in California alongside Ben Silverman.
But he was criticized by the PGA Tour’s Keith Mitchell, who said it was ‘absolute c**p’ that his handicap was adjusted from three to 10 to accommodate the demands of Pebble Beach.
‘I think Josh (Allen) and I won. Aaron Rodgers doesn’t count,’ Mitchell said, firmly. ‘His handicap was c**p. If we finish second to Aaron I consider us winning the trophy.’
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