Meditation is the art of being quiet and still… at ease with the moment.
This is a new and innnovative ashram course which combines two 5-day residential retreats with online teaching input.
Meditation is often thought of as something that we do: that we sit down and have expectations of making something happen. More accurately it is the process of learning to sit with the body, mind and emotions as they are in each moment. This cultivation of acceptance (1) gradually leads to a calming and quietening of the mind. Our mind and senses are designed and conditioned to look outward into the world around us, which is no doubt necessary for daily life. Meditation by contrast is becoming interested, even friendly, with the transient content of the 'inner space' – thoughts, emotions, feelings and so forth. Most of us have deep rooted tensions, at a subconscious level, that colour our thinking and emotions, which in turn influence our everyday interactions and experience. By cultivating such a patient approach to being with our own mind and inner feelings, founded on kindness for oneself, these tensions are allowed to rise to the surface and slowly dissolve. The spaciousness that arises allows us to cease identifying with the ceaseless mental chatter, ‘stories’ and imaginations of the mind and to Be with what IS.
On a day to day basis this process of acceptance and letting go allows us the possibility of a more authentic interaction with day to day life – we become more open and less stuck in habitual ways of behaving.
Moreover, as the mind and emotions quieten and become more spacious, we become open to the possibility of Insight and a deeper understanding of what we are at a more essential level. Generally, our sense of self is completely defined by the activity of the mind and emotions. Meditation opens us up to the realisation that there is a deeper level of our being which is aware of all of this activity yet is not defined by it.
Meditation is entirely practical, both in the change it brings into our day to day experience and in our openness to insight. If we persevere (2) with our practice then we will experience a quantum shift in the quality of our life on many levels.
Meditation thereby becomes a practice whereby we come home to who or what we really are. It is a letting go of the known so as to open to the unknown, thereby discovering the peace that lies beyond all concept, belief and self-identification – the peace that passeth all understanding.
(1): At times we must also accept that it can be very challenging to develop this attitude of acceptance!
(2): It has taken a long time for our mental and emotional patterns to be become established as they are, so we should not expect them to change overnight.