About the Retreat: The realisations that lead to the Buddha's awakening all happened while he practiced and contemplated life while living outdoors, close to and under the bodhi tree. Once he started sharing and guiding others, he would encourage his followers to do the same. After a talk he might say, "There are trees and the roots of trees. Go there to the roots of a tree and establish yourself in awareness". At times it can be easy to lose touch with the importance of nature when so many of our retreats and much of our meditation can happen indoors.
Deep rest in nature allows us to come out of the mind, into the heart and in tune with our senses. Not only is it rejuvenating and healing, but it's also transformative. By giving up the effort to meditate 'properly' or to be a good meditator, we can open into what one nature researcher called 'soft fascination'.
Nature.... we need it!
Being in Nature - Read the Research
We all know that lying under a shady tree or sitting on the bank of a free flowing mountain stream feels good. Walking around a lake settles us and feeling into the calm of the evening sunset while sitting on the verandah of a country house has a calming effect on our whole being.
No one needs to tell us those things, mostly it's a matter of reminding us. But sometimes our rational mind sometimes needs the cold hard facts. If that's the case, here's a very small section of the research being down on the affects of being in nature .....
'Anton, Thank you for a very interesting afternoon.... Interesting because it was not in the format I anticipated (dharma talk and meditation) but was more experiential. It was like a group therapy with meditation. I thought it was very valuable. In the Tibetan tradition, as you know, they say wisdom and compassion are the two wings of a bird and you cannot fly if one is absent or weak. I think that you can also use that metaphor for spirituality and psychological health. Both are needed to soar and your session was catalysing both. I sat next to two fabulous people and it was a very connecting experience. :)' Ani Pat
What to expect
Mark and Anton are both trained in the Hakomi methodof psychotherapy, a mindfulness based practice steeped in Buddhist and Taoist philosophy. Mark is also a long time Zen student of Flint Sparks and also a trainer in Hakomi. Along with Hakomi, Anton is an Insight Meditation teacher. In this retreat we will use these practices 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 attention?" and in line with Buddhist teachings.... what else might you include to broaden and claim other aspects of your being?
We will offer meditation instructions and guided meditations, Dharma talks and inquiry, question and answer sessions and there will be opportunities for personal interviews. 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.
We emphasise the importance of tuning in closely to one’s unique path, of falling in love with one’s own awakening, including all its joys and challenges. Rather than looking for short lived meditation or 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.
Kalyana Mitta, good spiritual friends are the foundation of the path in Insight Meditation. On this retreat we'll take some time to explore what this means in a way that frees us from old habits and point in the direction of deep support, encouragement and wisdom beyond words. Some aspects of this are
Loving Presence: Looking for the good in others and sustaining a compassionate and present-centred state of being while relating.
Bringing forward our capacity for bright, clear awareness.
Noticing and exploring our internal world and the influence it is having on how we engage.
Developing our capacity for being truly present to another by recognising and responding with skill, care and humour.
Noble Silence is the doorway to receptive presence and aligns ourselves with our true nature. This retreat will be held with periods of noble silence as well as times of discussion & inquiry and social time. Meditation teachings and instructions will come from traditional and contemporary Insight Meditation Buddhist practices.
Camp Eureka is the perfect venue for a retreat. The meditation space, see photo below, has a wide roof to protect us from the sun, but the walls are open so we can feel the delight of the wind on our skin and hear the sounds of the bush. Tea trees line the western side of this space protecting us from the afternoon summer sun. The huts are simple, but have comfortable mattresses enabling a good nights sleep. The camping area is grassed and level. The Little Yarra river runs through the edge of the property so bring your swimmers.... it's only knee deep but perfect in summer to cool off.
Please note all accommodation is shared in this retreat. If you need your own space then check out accommodation option 2, below.
There are 2 options for this retreat.
Accomodation Option 1 - Stay in one of the share huts. The huts are delightfully simple and have very comfortable mattresses. If tents are a step too far, then this is for you. You'll need to bring your own pillow and bedding. Bed in a Hut Sharing with others: $620 + Dana for the teachingsClick here to book a bed in a shared room now - Rooms are same gender only
Food will be vegetarian with vegan, gluten & dairy free options provided. On the booking page there is a section to make your preference known. Allergies may also be supported depending on your needs so send us an email before booking and we can work out how to support you.
What to bring
If camping, your tent and mattress.
All of your bedding.
Meditation cushions and yoga mat.
Shawl and blanket as the evenings are cool
A hat and sunscreen
A torch and fresh batteries
Hammock or other relaxation chair (optional)
Anything else you might normally take camping
Dana is a Pali word (the language used at the time The Buddha lived) which means the practice of generosity, or offering. Dana is a completely different way of relating to what is offered. Rather than a commercial transaction, Dana expresses the love and appreciation for what has been received. The daily rate you pay for the retreat covers food costs, Airfares and travel costs, basic bills, organisational costs, printing and any other set-up costs for the retreat. Nobody receives any kind of salary. The Dana boxes that are put out at the end of each retreat support the teachers and the tradition itself. Dana is not tips, it is not a token gesture, it is the vital resource that allows these retreats and tradition to continue.
This is a living tradition that is thousands of years old and we are now the holders of this tradition. The generosity of countless people over the centuries has brought us to this point now where we can offer this retreat on the basis of Dana. In other words, when you come to our retreats you are being nourished by the generosity of people who came before you. Your financial generosity now is the resource that enables us to continue to offer retreats in the future so other people may also benefit and keep the tradition alive.
Giving of service ~ Insight meditation retreats are fully run by volunteers, no one gets paid for the work they do. 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.
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
- Help in the kitchen during the retreat
- Lifts to Camp Eureka for people without cars and to keep the sharing culture alive