Here’s the Mindsprings news for July, August and September 2018.
What’s been happening
Summer is a time of retreat here at Mindsprings.
My teacher Reggie Ray and his wife Caroline Pfohl were in the UK teaching a 10-day retreat in the North of Somerset in June which was a really powerful gathering for the 100+ people who came along.
In the run-up to the event we learned that it would be the last public teaching before Reggie returned into semi-permanent retreat. So we were delighted to hear him when at the end of our week at Croydon Hall he spoke enthusiastically about coming back next year to teach again. News of his retirement seems a little premature – which is a blessing.
Then, at the beginning of July, 30 of us gathered up in a sun-baked Holy Island off the coast of Arran in Scotland for the annual Summer Retreat.
Like the Somerset course, this year’s retreat concentrated on the practice of “simply sitting” made popular in its Zen form – shikantaza (‘just-so-sitting’). It was a really powerful course exploring the very somatic version of this core meditation practice. Helped and intensified by stunning weather, daily swims in the inky black Firth of Clyde and the company of otters, seals, red squirrels, ponies and happy residents.
Excerpts from the Holy Island retreats will eventually surface in the Mindsprings Podcast which is available all year round…
What’s coming up
Things may be quiet on the Mindsprings site over the month of August as I head off to the mountains of Colorado for 3 weeks studying with the Vajra Sangha around Reggie.
When I come back at the end of August I am leading a August Bank Holiday early morning meditation on the cliffs where I live in Newhaven, Sussex. It’s a very relaxed Sunday morning affair, totally suitable for beginners and if it the weather continues as hot and sunny as it has been then you will need sunscreen!
On the 15th and 16th September, I am heading up to London to teach at the Spa Road Buddhist Centre. This weekend is looking the ticklish subject of our emotions. How can we work with these primal building blocks in an insightful and powerful way? This 2-day course in London aims to give us tools to do that…
What’s on the horizon
October sees the second of our retreats up on Holy Island. From the 10th to the 17th we will be gathering again in the beauty of the island to practice around the subject of Compassion. We ask people to have had some experience of retreat and especially some exposure to ‘somatic’ meditation before signing up. At the moment there are still some spaces left.
If you can’t manage a week in Scotland then we’re running a Tonglen workshop in London directly after the Retreat on the 27th and 28th of October. Tonglen is a traditional practice for compassion and, as usual, I’ll be taking a very somatic approach…
I’m also very happy to announce that I’m teaching the Mindsprings Anxiety weekend course in Edinburgh on November 24th and 25th. It’s Mindsprings’ first visit to the Scottish capital and so we hope lots of you will come to the new weekend there.
We are also planning a weekend in Dublin at some point and our usual winter 6-week course in Brighton.
As always there are regular posts on the Mindsprings blog and if you enjoy our podcasts then please do take time to review it on the iTunes store…