Mindfulness Tips Blog...
Our second retreat of the year!
This past weekend we were joined by 13 participants for our second retreat of the year. It was a wonderful, healing and growth experience for me and many of the participants have mirrored these feelings. Every retreat experience is different and this reflects every moment of life. It's not the same and this is both a blessing and at times challenging. Whether there is a challenge, a blessing or a neutral space, with this practice we are invited to notice what is happening both within the body, mind and heart and in our external world. How are we relating to experience as it happens? This was the topic of the retreat and we had many moments, space and different opportunities to practice.
The 7 Factors of Awakening - Investigation, Curiosity and Compassion
The topic of the retreat was the teachings on the 7 factors of awakening and how these seven factors can set the conditions for the awakening of spacious mind and a compassionate heart. It isn't that we are "driving the bus", in fact we it's the opposite! It's a letting go of controlling, manipulating, fixing or a whole host of ways we get busy trying to change what's happening to suit some idea we have about how life should be in order for us to be okay. So in retreat there is an invitation to let go of doing and become aware of what is happening in with a beginners mind. We invite curiosity into the space which helps us to see on a deeper level how different phenomena (sensations, thoughts, emotions, sounds, etc.) arise and pass away within this open spacious awareness. As we stop the doing we can begin to see the busyness of the mind and how energy follows attention. So, if we are stuck in some negative mindstate we can sense in real time how the body, mind and heart react to the thoughts. Perhaps there is an impulse to react that arises and that two is fertile ground for practice. So, instead of automatically reaction we notice what reactivity feels like in the body. If we are getting overwhelmed or lost in the story line, we can then shift our attention to the stability of the breath or to feeling our bodies in the present moment. In walking meditation we bring all of our attention to being embodies, to movement, to the sensation of the feet touching the earth. This is a living vibrant practice that takes us beyond the virtual world of thoughts, beliefs, opinions and into contact with the aliveness and vibrant life that is right here.
Sangha (Spritual Community) is also a very important part of retreat...
During our retreat we practice entering Noble Silence knowing this is what helps us to stop doing, avoiding or distracting ourselves and sometimes putting off living! While it is for a Noble cause it can bring up a lot of anxiety, fears and aversion. For me there is a sacredness about practicing in community. Even while sitting, walking and eating mindfully there is a feeling of support, care, kindness and connection. It is also the recognition that as we go about cooking, cleaning up or ringing the wake bell we are taking care of each other. That though we may not know each others stories, there is a feeling of connection and genuine compassion that arises as we shared this time together. These are some of the blessings of going on retreat.
Thank you to all that took the time to be here and give so generously of your time. Your willingness to set aside time and explore this healing practice with us was greatly appreciated. It was truly a heart opening experience for us as facilitators. We really feel blessed! We wish all of you the best and hope to see you at the next retreat!
Our last retreat of the year will take place at the lovely Casa San Carlos in Delray Beach, Florida on October 20th-22nd. You may register for it at 3 Day October 20th-22ndMindfulness Retreat-Delray Beach, Fl.
Cindy Ricardo is a compassionate and experienced Psychotherapist, Gentle Yoga Teacher and Mindfulness Meditation Guide. She facilitates a Dharma/Meditation Circle in Weston and Coral Springs alternatively, 3 times a month at 11am on Sundays. Her focus is on helping others learn about peaceful practices that help cultivate insight, connect with wisdom and awaken the compassionate heart. For more information about her please visit acaringcounselor.com, contact her at 954 793 6442 or email her at wbmindfulness.