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Autumn Retreat: Compassion, the Great Connector

October 3 - October 10


Our annual Compassion retreat on Holy Island 

This autumn’s Mindsprings retreat on Holy Island is again looking at the subject of compassion – this year completing our exploration by moving from maitri (loving self) to karuna or compassion (loving the ‘other’).  Held by Alistair Appleton, Jenny White and   Kirsty Davidson

Every Autumn we create a space for people who have been practising with Mindsprings for a while to come together and go deeper into this heart-opening work. This retreat is a more intensive practice that allows us to go much more deeply into the practices and enjoy longer periods of silence with less need for teaching. You need to have experience of a Mindsprings retreat in the last 3 years and have a regular sitting and lying-down practice. Please write if you have any question about whether this would be suitable for you. 

Embodied and somatic practice of Compassion

This Compassion Retreat follows on from last year’s exploration of  Maitri or loving-kindness for our own experience of Life.  Very often with compassion training we skip over our own experience to concentrate on making others feel better. So we with maitri  we learn to stay in the open heart and be aware of the various ‘parts’ of our unique being that play out each day. 

Once we have some tender relationship with these, often warring, parts and can breathe the gentleness of Big Self or ultimate bodhicitta on them, then the space clears for us to connect truely with the vast panoply of the world around us – people, animals, the natural world, the Universe. 

It’s like we’ve been hypnotised into thinking that the endless spiralling of our inner world is the world, but the World with a capital W is a sacred one that is dazzling and ego-shattering when we really touch into it. The move from maitri to karuna is one that brings great joy but also a huge spur to wise action. We recognise how our own patterns have held us back from this luminosity and great space, then we can’t help but want that others feel it too. Their constriction becomes part of our expanded awareness and we are unable to judge in anyway whatsoever. 

In the embodied space of the expanded heart, the illusion of a separate ‘other’ falls away and we rest in a state of Mahakaruna or Great Compassion. 

What you can expect on a Mindsprings retreat

Mindsprings retreats follow a general pattern over the week. 

  • the first few days are for arriving, stilling the mind and relaxing into the wide open field of the body
  • we will be in silence most mornings from lights out the night before till lunch time. There will be three full days of silence. 
  • everyone on the island is used to silence and it’s warm and friendly quiet
  • each morning there is the chance to warm up the body with some yoga led by Kirsty
  • a limited number of afternoon sessions of shiatsu with Jenny are also available
  • the teaching and practice runs from 9 in the morning till lunch and again from 3.30 till soup at 6
  • the afternoons from end of lunch till 3.30pm are free for exploring the island or practising alone
  • the evening sessions are for practice, chanting or group experience
  • the food is delicious vegetarian – much of it from the island’s organic gardens – most intolerances are catered for

To hear more about the container of a Mindsprings retreat, listen here. 

Not suitable for complete beginners

We would like to keep this retreat for practitioners who have experience of a Mindsprings course in the last 3 years or have some preferably embodied compassion practice. Some understanding of Richard Schwartz’ IFS work is also useful. I have given some teachings on it here and here. It’s not really suitable for complete beginners. If you have any question about the fit of the retreat for you then please do write to [email protected].

The Island

Holy Island is a stunning granite outcrop in Lamlash Bay off the isle of Arran in West Scotland. It’s been a holy site since the times of Celtic Christianity when St. Molaise lived in a cave here. In the last few decades it’s been a place of Buddhist-inspired contemplation. But the World Centre for Peace and Health where this course takes place is open to all faiths or none. It’s a  uniquely nurturing place for practice and draws people from all over the world .

I recorded some thoughts about the Island and compassion here. 

You can visit our Holy Island Gallery here and hear more about the Island here

You need to book here but then book your accommodation too!

Once you have booked the Mindsprings course below, you will need to book your Holy Island accommodation separately here. You can chose to stay in the room of your liking and stay a little longer on the island if you can… 

Bursaries are available

Mindsprings would like people to practice even if they are struggling financially, for whatever reason. We offer a limited number of partial and full bursaries for these retreats. Please write to [email protected] for more information. 


October 3
October 10
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Holy Island
Lamlash Bay KA27 8GB United Kingdom + Google Map


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HI October Retreat 2020
£ 250.00
7 available