A Wide and Wonderful Path
4-14 September 2018
Venue: Brimpts Farm
On this 10-day retreat we will open to the full potential of our life: Applying heartful practices that calm our mind and soothe our body, we can gently and sincerely journey towards our “sure heart’s release”. Along the way seeing deeper, understanding more profoundly, and learning to live more wholeheartedly.
Meditation is cultivation, and retreat is an integral part of that refinement. Those who have had exposure to week-long retreats will have enjoyed the depth of experience that comes from sustained kind attention. They will also have noticed that the first days of any retreat are devoted to settling the heart-mind, and getting the body energy used to stillness. This adjustment is an essential part of the cultivation, which should not be forced. We wish to give the possibility of more spaciousness, more experiences, and more understandings to unfold by adding 3 more days to the retreat. There are many ways of seeing this; we could imagine more time benefiting a more gradual sinking, a more integrated rise from retreat to daily life, or a longer duration in the depth of retreat.
Just as all the great oceans of the world have but one taste – the taste of salt – so too do all the teachings of the Dharma have but one taste – the taste of freedom. Buddha
This retreat is open to all. However, on a retreat of this length the group will benefit enormously if we can ensure a good number of experienced meditators are present. For this reason, meditation and silent retreat experience will be increasingly considered as the retreat fills up.
We anticipate running this retreat will cost us around £230 per person. Thanks to the generosity of those who have attended previous retreats and left donations, you can come along knowing your place will already have been paid for. Amazing! At the end of the retreat we will invite donations – this is an opportunity to practise generosity yourself and to enable others to receive the same gift in the future. We truly appreciate, on behalf of these future retreatants, whatever you feel able to give. (So you know, because all the work putting on these retreats is done by volunteers we have almost no overheads at all – the whole thing is run on generosity and love. That means all your money will go straight into the kitty for future retreats, paying for nothing but absolute essentials.)
We will also invite a separate donation for the teachers. Teachers do not receive a fee for leading retreats, whilst giving enormously of their time and energy. Dharma teachings are considered priceless and therefore teachers offer their understanding freely. The livelihood of most Insight Meditation teachers depends wholly, or to a large extent, on voluntary contributions from retreatants who value their guidance and wish to support the ongoing teachings of the Dharma. Your generosity to the teachers is greatly appreciated.
Coming on retreat can be an invaluable boost for your practice whether you’re only just beginning with meditation or have been practising for decades. Everything is set up specifically to help you feel supported and to foster the calmness of mind necessary for meditative insight.
One of the conditions that we find particularly helpful to offer retreatants is an opportunity for shared silence. We agree as a group not to converse with each other for the duration of the retreat*, we turn off our phones and gadgets, we disconnect from social media, and we put down our books.
Why do we do this? Because silence provides the opportunity to develop a new relationship with ourselves and the world, rather than simply being a gap to be filled. Free from the usual distractions that stimulate the mind, we begin to experience an altogether different and sublime dimension to life, one that was hiding there all along. And as silence starts to reveal its irresistible and profound beauty we allow the possibility of our innate wisdom to show itself.
* During the week there will be talks, meditation instructions and opportunities to meet in small groups with the teachers. Outside of these times the retreat will remain in silence but the coordinators are always present and can be communicated with via notes if any problems arise.