Opening Awareness: The Freedom to Know Life
9 – 16 June 2017
Venue: The High Heathercombe Centre
Every conscious experience we have is known seemingly effortlessly from the perspective of awareness. When we feel into this it’s as if awareness is unperturbed by what it reveals. What can we learn from this? Also what could we gain from emulating the qualities of awareness? Could we bring more peace, well-being and happiness into our lives by shaping the way we look at, and meet, experience?
Awareness seems to have no preference when showing the full spectrum of experience. No picking and choosing between pain and joy, nor between tension and ease, nor even between life and death. There appears to be no problem in the potentially vast field of awareness. This quality of knowing experience also seems to be effortlessly sustained and almost imperceptibly subtle and gentle. Could we incorporate such soft steadiness into our way of meeting life?
On this retreat we will make use of this inquiry to develop a meditation practice that is calm and centred, friendly and compassionate, and playful and enjoyable.
The retreat is offered freely as the organisers intend to fundraise in advance to cover all costs (we anticipate these will be about £150 per person). Donations will be invited at the end of the retreat and these will be used to fund retreats in the future. This gives retreatants the opportunity to practice generosity by making it possible for future retreats to also be offered freely.
We will also invite a separate donation for the teacher(s). 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 teacher 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 either in small groups or individually with the teacher. 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.