Before joining the AYTL (2020) course, I have a sense, only in hindsight that my inner dharma compass kept pointing to engaging deeper with life to prepare for death, in a way that was beyond the occasional maranasati (awareness of death meditation) session. And in a strange way it came to be that one of the gifts of this course for me has been an accelerated development of a radical inclusivity of all of the parts of me.
Somewhere in the great haystack of hackneyed maxims lives a statement something like “everyone dies but not everyone lives.” True, yes. Yet trite because talk is cheap while taking action can be difficult and costly. In the face of such a gap this course offers a balm for heart and mind alike, gently applied through a deep look at the importance of living life well and fully in preparation for its well-known ending.
Throughout the course there was practical guidance and lifelong practices that encouraged me from my place of being an outer observer of life and into action and living the great question-mystery of life. All of this within the unwavering safe container of Anton’s presence, care, support, and unconditional positive regard. Paul Beaton
Before joining A Year to Live (AYTL 2020), I had known Anton from a previous course and responded positively to his authentic teaching style and ways of creating security so that I could explore my beliefs. I was very keen for AYTL as I had been trying my own death reflection practices and could see the importance of this. However, I had some trepidation at the thought of going inside myself for this long. It can feel easier to keep distracted and to ignore or avoid the inner world. The thought of committing to a course for a year felt quite intense and overwhelming for me. I was a little afraid of spending a year contemplating death and thought this might be quite depressing.
However, I wanted to be a part of a sangha…. I had felt the need for some time to deepen my connection with people with similar values. The fact that the group was held across a year helped me to feel that the connections developed would be deeper and more meaningful. Being at a stage in life where I wanted more….. I felt that there was something missing and I was keen to explore myself and what might be holding me back from feeling connected to my life in ways that were meaningful. I thought that a year to explore my inner world would allow this to happen
The course helped me to remember what is most important to me. Having a regular catch up and contemplative practices allowed me to frequently reflect on how I want to live this life, what matters most and how I get lost in living my most true life. This has led to me feeling more awake and conscious of daily choices and I have felt more content and peaceful as a result of the practices and a deeper understanding of who I really am without the stories and unhelpful beliefs.
The most important outcome of the course is a deeper understanding of how I have limited my life with false beliefs and ways of protecting myself that has led to my heart being closed off to life in some ways – I have seen and explored these stories and parts of myself throughout the course in a very safe way and now feel more open to life and living a life that makes me smile when I consider it.
I loved this course……the content and discussions were rich and deeply life changing. This course, the relationships and the space to truly be myself and be so deeply cared for will stay with me for life. The inquiries taken from the course discussions and learning continue daily for me. I feel incredibly grateful to have experienced this year to live as I now see my precious human life in ways that are profoundly sacred and my heart is open.
As a mentor and teacher, Anton did an incredible job of creating a safe space for all of us. I deeply value Anton’s level of authenticity. It is obvious how much he deeply cares for others.
I feel that my heart has softened, I am living with a deeper understanding of ‘every moment matters and is a chance to live in a way that allows me to feel connected, secure, and peaceful’. There is a place I can always come home to now. The inner work I did throughout the course has enabled me to see so many parts of myself and tend to them so that I feel a deeper contentment in each moment. Dr Rebecca Deering Phd - Clinical Psychologist
Much gratitude for steering the A Year to Live course (2020) through the stormy seas of Covid, in this year of 2020 Anton! Who would have thought? For me it has unfolded as a 'holy' year. A pilgrimage of sorts - with many 'holy' days peppered through this course. Explorations of what it is to be alive, to recognise our limits and be encouraged to grow our humanity. The course has been a mainstay for me. An inspiration on so many fronts and a source of nourishment for any dark days ahead. Stephen Jenkinson said... 'You start being in light and end in wisdom if the gods prevail'. peace, love and joy, Klara
meeting and working with you (1-1) has been one of the best experiences of my life. I'm incredibly grateful for your skills, wisdom, humour, support and deep honouring of the person I am.
Thank-you so much - every day is better for it. With much love and gratitude. Angela
Dear Anton, thank you... (re A Year to Live 2020)
For all the thought and efforts that have gone into preparing our monthly meetings
For all the insights and sometimes painful truths
For the encouragement to enjoy life more fully in the present
For the courage to face the future with more understanding and equanimity
For the kindness, openness and patience with which you have guided us through A Year to Live (2020)
For all that you have given me personally over the years - my love and deep appreciation and I am looking forward to continued contact and friendship in the future.... Warm wishes and love, Rena
I also can't believe how much insight came from that one session! Is that what working with you usually looks like? I find that most of the time when I see my psychologist, my rational brain is mostly the one in the session. So psychologist says "x, y, and z"... and rational brain says "yup, x, y and z makes sense." And there's lots of talking but somehow it doesn't seep down into the parts of me that can't follow "x, y, and z." Does that make sense? Something about closing my eyes and tuning so heavily into my body on Monday seemed to shut off my rational mind a little so that I could actually feel what was going on inside. I feel like just noticing all those different parts has given me a much deeper understanding of what happens when I'm anxious or afraid or triggered in some seemingly unexplainable way.... it's super intriguing and my neck still feels much less tense than it did before I came to you and somehow it feels like I can breathe more deeply. Keri-Ann
This retreat was a great introduction to silent retreats. I was a bit unsure as I drove up the hill, in terms of what to expect but it was fantastic. Anton's kind and humorous instruction (the group and 1:1 interviews) were particularly helpful and reassuring. Katrina's (manager) organisation and warmth and Katie's delicious vegetarian meals.... thank you so much. Maria - 4-day retreat feedback
Before working with Anton, I knew very little about Hakomi, but I had been vaguely looking for Internal Family Systems therapy and when I read up about Hakomi, it seemed to be very much aligned with that. I liked the inclusion of mindfulness practice in therapy but deep down I had cherished a belief that it wasn’t something that would benefit me. I think I was a bit scared of where it would take me as I have tended to shy away from talking about myself.
This changed when I had a 15 minute interview with Anton at a meditation retreat he was running. I was intrigued and interested enough to want to delve deeper and it gave me hope that I would actually be able to step out from under a boulder that was seemingly fixed in place.
When I first started, one of my goals was to be able to experience the bubbles of joy I feel without clamping down on them. I have been able to reach that goal and in doing that, I’ve become very comfortable and confident of who I am. Through the Internal Family Systems work I’ve come to love my internal cast of characters and enjoy interacting with them.
I think this work is an incredibly important development in therapy and the way it is delivered. I think the concerned interaction and compassion that seem to be key components of the therapy are what make it shine. The course of the therapy feels like a shared journey, rather than a witnessed one. Karen
.....I want to let you know how much of an impact you’ve had on my well being and personal growth over the last two years and how it’s really influenced me moving in this new direction (of studying psychology). I hope to weave as much of this influence into my psychology studies as possible. I really value your ability in holding a powerful presence and attention to the therapeutic process and know how unique that is. I also find you strike a great balance of love and tuning into the heart, with expressing the masculine energy side - ‘take no bullshit’ approach ;) So I appreciate that as men we can embrace both. Words probably don’t say enough but I guess I’m just trying to honour your approach and the wisdom you share and the gentleness, care that you show towards me and others.... I would love to stay in contact and have seen the Awakening Joy class, which I was very interested in doing, but due to time couldn’t fit it in. I have been attending the Monday night mediation sessions at Ceres, but also keep me in the loop / email chain for any day meditation courses that you might run. Anyway, hope you are well, and that we see each other soon! I’m sure we’ll cross paths again at some point.
Take care, Alex (Jan 2019)
I began to meditate semi-regularly in January this year (2018), fitting in 15 minutes or so sometime through the day, wherever I could squeeze it in and the 3 day retreat at Kallara in September was my first meditation retreat. The most profound realisation for me during the retreat (which was actually pretty thick with profound realisations) was the sense of being exactly where I belonged and exactly where I needed to be, doing exactly what I needed to be doing. Anton's dharma talks, the music selections late in the evenings, and the beautiful clarity of mind I experienced in the morning sessions will literally stay with me for ever. Since I got home, I have woken up early every weekday (6:10AM!) to sit for 30+ minutes before school drop off/work, and even on the weekends it is the very first thing I do. It couldn't be further from an obligation though - the regularity and discipline of the practice, and the practice itself has a steadying, calming effect on everything in my life - I think equanimity is the best word for it.
I feel INTENSELY grateful for the fact that the Dharma Path website came up near the top of my August search for '3 day silent retreat meditation Melbourne'. Annie B
'Anton, Thank you for a very interesting afternoon (1-day meditation) ... 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 Cahir
Anton, your 1-1 sessions have been a massive support, encouragement and a rich and generous spirit really willing to allow me to take the journey of healing into spaces that had been tied to trauma and/or unchallenged notions of the self. You have a continuous thread of attention, unwavering kindness, and a profound ability to connect with the threads of a story that often felt disconnected. Andrew B.
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
"I am full of admiration and gratitude for the unique and wonderful opportunity of this combined Insight meditation and Feldenkrais retreat..... Anton, thank you with the deepest sincerity for a profoundly moving introduction to Insight meditation" Carol
Thank you Anton for your generosity in sharing the teachings with us and for holding a safe and loving community. Michelle
What a wonderful blessing to journey so deeply with you. Your kind and generous reflections provide wonderful stepping stones that will help pave a more loving path into my future. thank you, Nicole
Thank-you for making this retreat happen. It is a huge gift. Immeasurable and life changing.
with metta.... Kat
I would like to do all I can to support your work in the future. What I have received is truly immeasurable and I don't say that lightly. My whole world has turned completely upside down since the transformative May retreat..... it was a little destabilising at times but its actually quite nice here on this new side of the world 😊 Terri
I want to thank you for the inspirational retreat today. It is wonderful to have these urban retreats for people who are unable to attend longer retreats. May you receive great merit for your kindness and compassion and for how you benefit others. Pina
This work has been ground breaking....Going through all these excruciating feelings is worth it after all! Thanks for believing in me Anton. Katrina
I had inherited an old barn. Remember I told you about it? I knew it was disused, it had mess inside, I didn’t know what. I did not feel comfortable going to see it. I stayed away. I had it out of my mind. I was troubled by feelings of lack, of worthlessness; also agitation after my consultations.
Thank you for coming with me to have a look at it. We showed up, we looked around, we walked, we went around the back, we entered a space way beneath, we got lost at the darkest point, you encouraged me, I found a way inside, you were right by me. We shared stories, we laughed. I felt you were really with me, even as I felt worthless. We kept going.
In gratitude and Love Chris
A poem from Chris
The barn of my heart
has creaky doors that bang shut and open with the wind the space is quite wide
up the back is density,
mass with roots like strings pulled toward
a knotted underground presence.
High up on the loft
dusty joy now rises
like mist to the sunlight streaming through cracks
Re the MTC (Mindfulness training course) experience with you... It was a very positive experience and I'm glad I was able to do it with you because you are sensitve, you knew me already, you are willing to talk about any issues that arise and to go deeply into them and you are very generous with your time. I think your experience in a range of therapies and modalities means that you are able to talk to me on a variety of different channels. You are also very good at picking up on the small things and following them through, meaning that you are a good listener and you have the courage to go to places that need to be gone to!