Realising Our Inherent Value – Going Beyond the Inner Critic
9-15 September 2019
Venue: The High Heathercombe Centre
In this retreat we will contemplate a natural sense of ease with ourselves as we are, and explore what gets in the way of that – in particular the conditioning of the inner critic.
This critical inner voice is a concept used in popular psychology to refer to a sub- personality that is judgmental and demeaning. It is usually experienced as an inner voice attacking us, saying that we are wrong and inadequate, and producing feelings of shame, deficiency, and doubt. It is a major obstacle to the path because it doesn’t allow us to simply be as we are.
In this retreat we will practise experiencing present moment connection to our body and mind to allow what is here in our field of awareness. In this way we can see what drives us; and how often the directives of the inner critic interfere with our capacity to be at ease.
Through meditation, inquiry in pairs contemplating specific questions related to this topic, and Feldenkreis exercises, we will contemplate the impact of the inner critic and how it effects our capacity to trust and open. And we will explore the alternative to this critical voice – a compassionate, wiser guiding quality within our hearts.
The Feldenkrais Method, also known as Awareness Through Movement, is an exploration to go beyond the habituated organisation of our action and perception to discover something vitally alive and new, towards a more integrated sense of being in our bodies. By being guided through gentle movement sequences, you are invited to get curious and explore the unique relationship of how you move, and becoming more at home in your own skin.
We aim to keep costs below £140 per person. Thanks to the generosity of those who have attended retreats in the past, and left donations, you can come along knowing that 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. The schedule will also include inquiry exercises in pairs, contemplating specific questions related to the retreat theme. 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.