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Maitri: Holy Island Compassion Retreat 2019

October 5, 2019 - October 12, 2019

compassion retreat on Holy Island Oct 2019

Our annual Compassion retreat on Holy Island 

This autumn’s Mindsprings retreat on Holy Island is again looking at the subject of compassion – focusing particularly on the experience of loving our complete Self. Taught by Alistair Appleton and  Kirsty Davidson.

This retreat is a more intensive practice opportunity for experienced somatic practitioners. It 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 5 years and have a regular sitting and lying-down practice. 

Embodied and somatic practice of Maitri

Following on from last year’s exploration of Ultimate Bodhicitta, this retreat is focusing on the practice 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. But as Alistair’s teacher Reggie Ray says, ‘If you still hate even one part of yourself, it’s almost impossible to truly love someone else.’  

Loving all the aspects of our life is no easy matter. We are often mired in a lot of self-criticism, self-erasure and self-punishing. Really shining the light of ultimate bodhicitta onto the mess and tangle of our personal lives can be a shocking business. But it really needs to happen if we want to be loving and free in the world. 

Using embodied and somatic practices to stay with the parts of ourselves we usually push away, the retreat gives us a chance to really open to the full gamut of our human existence. When we can be with ourselves without flinching, then we are able to be with others in a full and compassionate way. 

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
  • the teaching and practice runs from 9 in the morning till lunch and again from 4 till soup at 6
  • the afternoons from end of lunch till 4pm 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 5 years or have some preferably embodied compassion practice. 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 .

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 5, 2019
October 12, 2019
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Holy Island
Lamlash Bay KA27 8GB United Kingdom + Google Map