After the great success of 2016's art and mindfulness course, Isobel and Alistair are returning to Gayles for a slightly longer, 5 day retreat at the beautiful South Downs coastal retreat centre at Gayles.
This is really not a course for people who are 'good' at art or want to improve their technical skills. Using her experience in teaching art, Isobel challenges and tickles us into letting go of our sense of control and perfectionism and with delightful exercises, indoors and out, we gradually expand our sense of possibility to take in all sorts of unexpected experiences.
Using a whole variety of materials and practices, we work singly, in pairs and as a group to create a profusion of art until the Cow Shed yoga studio is full, literally to the rafters, with colour and design.
Underpinning this is the daily structure of Alistair's meditation practices which ground us in the natural world, relax our judgemental minds and expand our sense of the possible over the course of the week.
We supply all the art materials you need. Just bring a curious mind and child's enjoyment of making marks!
At the moment of his enlightenment the Buddha defeated the force of ignorance and suffering, known as Mara, by uttering the words: "I see you, Mara".
Taking that as the starting point, Alistair will use this weekend to unmask the 'psychological Mara' that confounds our natural happiness and warm-heartedness with layer upon layer of deadening beliefs about our selves and the world.
Meditation and therapy give us tools to cut through those heavy stories about ourselves - in particular, the Buddha's insight into 'dependent origination', which explains how they arise so compulsively. Once we see 'Mara' in action then we can cut through the distortions and start living in a freer, more spontaneous and more light-hearted way.
This is a course suitable for beginners and practitioners wanting to refresh their practice. Some of the practises will be done lying down.
Starts at 10am and finishes at 5pm each day.
October 2017 sees Mindsprings inviting established practitioners to Holy Island for a special 7-day journey into the heart space of compassion and interpersonal warmth.
PLEASE NOTE THIS RETREAT IS OPEN ONLY PEOPLE WHO HAVE ATTENDED ONE OR MORE MINDSPRINGS RETREAT AND WHO HAVE AN ESTABLISHED MEDITATION PRACTICE.
If you are unsure whether you meet the requirements please drop us a note at email@example.com.
Most of us have grown up with our hearts buffeted and bruised from a number of causes. And the hyper stimulated world of the internet and consumerism can make us feel bombarded by the outside world. No wonder that many of us end up retreating into smaller and smaller bubbles of security.
Whilst meditation can offer a very profound feeling of safety and tranquillity, Buddhist practitioners have long realised that unless you can live with your heart open to the fluctuations and incursion of the world, then things get stagnant and bitter with alarming speed. Which is why there is a number of powerful meditation practices designed to open the heart: firstly, to ones own experience; then to the presence of other humans; and ultimately to the living experience of the whole world in which we live.
Alistair and the Mindsprings team create a warm and safe container in which you can explore these life-enriching practices with in a group that supports you. Drawing on his 16 years of experience as a meditator and his knowledge of contemporary psychotherapy, Alistair holds the group safely enough that we can use the week to explore:
- the energy and warmth of our own heart centre and its natural 'feel' for things
- how the heart can close and harden in response to the world
- techniques to relax those defences without being overwhelmed
- an understanding of how interpersonal energies work
- an embodied understanding of human connection
- a energetic experience of love in the body and expanded outwards
- a connection to the natural world of the island with its beautiful landscape and wildlife
This week-long retreat requires will be a deepening for those who practice already. There will be periods of silence and we encourage people to spend the week mobile-, book- and journal-free.
Please book and pay for your place on the course with the button above, however, you will need to book your accommodation direct with Holy Island on their website.
The Dalai Lama says that "all our suffering comes from caring about ourselves and all our happiness comes from caring for others". And yet we live in a world that puts "self" first and the 'me-me-me' culture we live in pre-programs self-interest.
Buddhism famously questions the nature of that 'self' and does so not from an intellectual place but one of meditative experience. The deeper we sit with the raw experience of the heart the more impossible it becomes to wall ourselves off from the experiences of others.
We become more empathic but then a surprise happens: we start to realise that opening up to the "otherousness" of the World actually makes life brighter, more adventurous, wider and wiser.
This weekend course is looking to explore the meditative path towards that experience of the gentle heart. Drawing on his experience as a therapist as well as long-term meditator, Alistair uses meditative practices, bodywork and group exercises to explore the world of emotions, togetherness and heart-felt connection know in Buddhism as 'bodhicitta' and to sound out the blocks and anxieties that stop us getting there.
It's suitable for beginners or those who want to re-visit the bodhicitta practices from a somatic place.
In the last few decades of neuroscience, there has been an explosion of fascinating research into 'embodiment'. This field looks at the way that the thinking mind is much less important in a healthy life than we have previously thought. The body becomes central...
Using his mix of research, therapy and Buddhist meditation, Alistair is running a 2-day exploration of this revolutionary way of experiencing ourselves. Using the tools of somatic meditation and focusing, we will look at how a stronger sense of interoception can deeper our understanding of our emotions, lessen the power of toxic thinking, reduce stress and heighten the sense of connection to others and the World.
Research shows that a healthy sense of ourselves as embodied can protect against depression, disordered eating, unregulated anxiety and a lack of vitality.
Come along to the lovely space of the Spa Road shrine room and open up to the wonders of the Body. Beginners and all levels welcome.