During the Covid lockdowns, we all gorged on online teachings and as we know, at some point this mass of information all becomes very dissatisfying. Listening to someone else’s truth will never set us free and the peril lies in believing too much of what you hear and developing untested opinions. When you listen to a teaching, you may like or dislike what you hear but still don’t know the truth. Another person’s words will never set us free.
True wisdom is not a matter of faith in a doctrine, but rather come from testing that teaching out to see the truth for ourselves. This is what practice is all about and this is what refreshes our deepest being. The true dharma is not something that can be communicated with words. You take the teachings, reflect on them, feel into them and digest them until it’s a sure thing and really seen for yourself.
“The Dhamma that comes from the heart, flows like water from a spring that never runs dry. But the knowledge that comes from memory is like rainwater in a jar. Once the rainy season is over, it soon comes to an end.” Ajahn Chah
This is an Insight Meditation retreat where we will offer teachings in the service of meditative ease and grace. Along with encouraging mindful and loving presence, we will do so with a curiosity about "What are your habits of awareness?" and in line with Buddhist teachings, what else might you include to broaden and claim other aspects of your being?
There will be meditation instructions and guided meditations, Dharma talks and inquiry, question and answer sessions and also opportunities for personal interviews if you wish. Along with sitting and walking meditation, we encourage you to experiment with meditation, and at times try lying down for meditation. Deep rest turns out to be surprisingly and delightfully, undemanding and rewarding. As the mind and body become deeply rested, a natural meditative awareness emerges where awareness becomes bright and clear.
We emphasise the importance of tuning in closely to your unique path, of falling in love with your own awakening, including all its joys and challenges. Along with our own awakening, we encourage an awareness of connections with others and rather than looking for short lived meditative spiritual highs, we cultivate long-term friendships. We also continually experiment with different formats for teachings and retreats with the aim of bringing love and wisdom into life.
Friendship is the foundation of the spiritual path and on this retreat we'll take some time to explore what this may mean for you. Freeing up old habits of connection can allow us to offer deep support, encouragement and wisdom beyond words. Some aspects of this are
Loving Presence: Looking for the good in others while holding a kind and present-centred state of being while relating. If someone has a large or small energy we can learn skills to be with that in ways that don't dominate or surrender our will.
Bringing forward our capacity for bright, clear awareness. Cultivating a continuity of awareness is central to the path of Buddhist practice.
Noticing and exploring our internal world and the influence it is having on how we engage. Without knowing it, we may have some habits that sabotage our good intentions and aspirations. With a light curiosity we can start to know and change these and give our meditation a much more solid basis to be a support for our well-being.
Developing our capacity for being truly present for others by recognising and responding with skill, care and humour. When we look for the good in others, we start to see that everyone wants to be happy. It can be a great joy to let go our ideas of how this might happen.
This retreat is suitable for beginner or experienced meditators.
This retreat will be mostly held in noble silence except for interviews and question and answer periods and group study on the retreat theme. For beginners, please note that noble silence does not exclude common sense communication in times of emergency or at times when communication is needed to clarify meditation or work period instructions or questions you may have about anything you need to clarify.
'Dear Anton; I wanted to take some time to email you following up from the retreat.... For me, the retreat was a transformational experience. It's hard to put into words everything that I received personally and spiritually, but I can say that I am now on a life path that is lined with meditation practice, dharma teachings and mind/body/soul nourishment. I have you to thank for this and I'll always have a heart full of gratitude to you for your dedication, care and the wisdom you imparted- especially for helping me to understand and accept myself in a more loving way....Louise'
This is a fully residential retreat. There are only single rooms with shared toilet facilities. (no ensuites are available)
See the FAQ section below
This retreat will be held in alternating periods of silence, conversation and guided group practices. For beginners, please note that noble silence does not exclude common sense communication. At times communication is needed to clarify meditation or work period instructions, or questions you may have about the practice or simple things like 'I forgot the toothpaste!'. We have a retreat manager who will look after your practical needs, and the teacher will happily answer any questions and give guidance about meditation or what may come up in meditation.
Mobile Phones and Computers
Please finish your communications before coming to the retreat. We will ask you to turn off all electronic devices during the retreat so we can respectfully engage with the meditation teachings. Mobile reception is limited and is not guaranteed and there is no wifi.
Giving of service ~ Insight meditation retreats are run on a non-profit basis, so in this way we are able to keep the costs down. Therefore In the same spirit we ask that everyone who comes to our retreats contributes one hour of their time each day towards the running of the retreat. This may be anything from washing up, veggie chopping, cleaning or something else connected with running the retreat. We thank you in advance.
Drugs and Alcohol
This retreat is a drug and alcohol free zone. We have no judgement about these things but this is not a place for alcohol or recreational drugs of any description. If you're after that then we recommend you find another event or venue that might suit your needs.
Please note: If you are in the midst of a life trauma, emotional upheaval or instability that might require individual support beyond the scheduled meetings with teachers, this retreat format may not be a good match for you at this time. Should you have any questions about this, please contact us via email
FAQ's and Retreat Information
Food: To help you make the most of the retreat, we will provide 3 nutritious vegetarian (includes dairy) meals each day and this is included in the cost. Vegan, Gluten Free & Dairy Free can also be catered for and you can indicate this in the booking process. Please note we don't and can't cater for individual preference eg. I would like 2 eggs fried with spinach and sourdough!
Question: I have very specific dietary needs, (eg Fodmaps) can you cater for special diets? Answer: We can offer a simplified diet that often satisfies most special needs, including Fodmaps. If in doubt, please send us an email to clarify before booking.
Question: I snore and there are only share rooms available... what to do? Answer: Please don't go ahead and book a twin share and potentially put the other person in a situation where their retreat may be compromised. Thanks for your care about this. On this retreat camping is an option. You will need to bring your own camping equipment.
Question: Do I have to bring all my bedding? Answer: Yes. This venue only provides a bare mattress.
Question: With meditation, do I have to sit on the floor on a meditation cushion? Answer: No, for some people sitting on a cushion is not possible and we understand that. There will be chairs there for you to use. We encourage you to find a posture in meditation that allows you to be comfortable and easy.
Question: Will there be sitting cushions and mats provided. Answer: Yes, we have a good supply of meditation mats and cushions. You will need to bring your own yoga mat.
Question: I've never meditated before & I'm worried it will be too much. Can anyone come along? Answer: Yes ... Meditation instructions are the same for everyone. We can assist with things from finding the right posture for you, through to clarifying the meditation instructions and finding your right level of engagement.
Question: Can I do just part of the retreat? I would like to arrive late or leave early. Answer: No, for all sorts of reasons. Your respect for this is deeply appreciated as late arrivals puts pressure onto the retreat staff and teachers. If you are planning on coming to the retreat, please plan on arriving on time and staying for the whole retreat. If you can't do this please wait for a future retreat.
Question: I'm coming to the retreat with my partner, can we share a room? Answer: No. On this Insight Meditation retreat, as with most, we don't allow partners to share a room. We do this so that each of you can have their own experience and their own retreat, without fitting into the usual patterns of relating, communication and thinking that are part of being together. Also on retreat we have precepts that we follow and one of those is to abstain from having any sexual relations with ourselves or others. Being in separate rooms is a simple, helpful way to support meditative awareness and freshness of experience.
Question: Do I have to do the yoga? Answer: No, the yoga is optional. If you do choose to join the yoga/movement class, you are always encouraged to find your own pace with whatever is being offered. If you don't do the movement class, you are encouraged to do some other form of movement to give the body some exercise, like walking.
Question: Do you have a rideshare option to get to the retreat and back home again? Answer: We do and while we don't guarantee a ride, it usually works out somehow. It all depends on where you are coming from and where the other lifts are leaving from. When you sign up for the retreat, you can put yourself on the "ride needed list" and we'll do our best to put you in touch with someone who is willing to take an extra. If in doubt, please be in touch and we'll see what's available.
Question: What is the cancellation policy? Answer: This is in the Retreat Practical information document.
The retreats we run are not for profit and we rely totally on the good will of organisers and volunteers to make a retreat like this happen. If you would like to assist in any way, please send us an email and let us know how you might be able to help. Specifically we are looking for assistance with
Retreat managers: To fill the role of retreat manager, you need to have completed at least 2 x 5+ day Insight Meditation retreats before and be known to Anton. Please do make contact if this interests you.
Help at the retreat. We often need help with setting up the venue, in the kitchen and packing up at the end.
Pass the word around. Letting other people know about the retreats and what they are about is a great way to support the teachings and truly appreciated
Lifts to the retreat and home again: For people without cars and to keep the sharing culture alive