An outline of what's in store over the weekend…
The retreat starts properly on Saturday morning but most of our guests prefer to arrive on Friday, it gives you a chance to settle in, relax and start to slip into a mindful state of awareness. Arrive any time after 4pm, don't worry about arriving late, there's no fixed time and we know some of you will be coming after work, we’ll have a warm welcome and a hot drink ready for you.
Get yourself settled into your accommodation, meet the others, chill out at the retreat or you can go for a mindful walk on the Thornham estate if you prefer. You’ll get the chance to meet the team and explore what it is to live mindfully and you’ll get a taste of what we’ve lined up for the weekend.
Dinner is at about 7.30pm a hot vegetarian meal, if the weather permits we’ll get the camp-fire going play some mindfulness games and if you want to really “get in the zone” Paul will be leading some meditations in the Meditation room.
8.30am: Breakfast – Coffee, Tea, Herbal Tea, Paulette's very special porridge, fruit juice, cereal, toast, fresh fruit
9.30am: Welcome – Outline for the day and Mindfulness of Breathing Meditation
We’ll start with introductions and a short welcome talk followed by a 20 minute meditation. You’ll learn a simple meditation technique to help you develop your mindful self observation and to help you centre yourself and anchor to that silent space within. 20 minutes can seem like a very long time to meditate, particularly for beginners, but the group energy and the tranquil setting are invaluable in helping you achieve this and you’ll be surprised by your ability to be still. Something very interesting seems to happen when you meditate for this long and often after about 15 minutes you’ll find yourself “dropping away” into the silence. It’s a great way to really cultivate mindfulness for the day ahead.
11.15 – 12.45pm; Teaching with Adrian
Adrian will give a talk exploring the key principles of Mindfulness. We will explore what Mindfulness really is, but most importantly we’ll do some mindfulness exercises to help give you a direct experience of thoughtless awareness for yourself. Together we’ll explore the main portals into mindful awareness and the possibilities they offer.
You’ll discover how to become the watcher of your thoughts, how to stand back and observe your thoughts without judgement and how to let go of troubling or painful thinking and free yourself of the suffering it creates. You’ll learn how to observe the functioning of your own mind and with that awareness take real effective control of yourself. Before we can have self mastery, there must first be self awareness!
The Portal of Now
Adrian will take you into the portal of now and explore the simple logic and profound wisdom of the art of living in the moment. He will reveal “the secret” that can transform your life and we explore how this can free you from mind made suffering and how it is the vehicle to a full and rich experience of life.
Short break tea coffee
The Portal of the Body
Mindfulness is the art of aligning mind and body. Adrian will introduce you to the mindful practice called The Way of the Body and he’ll explore how body awareness is the perfect way to bring mindful attention. You’ll see how the body is a portal to mindful awareness and the perfect method to bring mindfulness into your everyday life. Jason will lead a mindfulness of breath exercise and show you how to make the simple act of breathing into a powerful meditation practice, as he will then lead a short mindful walk to the dining room
1.30pm – 2.30pm: Lunch and Mindful Eating Meditation
The essence of mindfulness is to make everything a Mindful experience. Meal times are an important part of the retreat and when we eat mindfully a meal can become an all-round sensory experience. Jason will lead a mindfulness of eating excersise, so you can learn how to make eating into a profound mediation experience. Martine will be providing wonderful hot, tasty, vegetarian food (vegan option available on request) at the retreat, Martine’s food is a visual, flavour and texture sensation, each meal designed to be healthy and balanced and to support your meditation practice. Martine adds a big dollop of love to each dish and that’s a rather special ingredient, it is an all-round mindful sensation. If you eat in mindfully I'm sure you'll taste it
2.30pm – 4.00pm: Walking the Mindful Mile
Mindful breathing, mindful walking, mindful everything.
If you could bring mindful attention to walking then you are going a long way to living mindfully. Feel every step, wake up to the world around you and learn how to use walking as a way to come alive and achieve mindfulness. Each mindfulness teacher with lead a small group of 4 or 5 guests on a mindful walk through the Arboretum on the Thornham Magna estate. You'll learn how to make the simple act of walking into a profound meditation practice. In a small group your teacher can help to hold each of you in a high state of mindfulness for the duration of the walk. They'll get you to feel every step, feel every breeze, notice the light the colours and wake up and suck every juicy drop from your experience of the world around you. You'll learn how to use walking as a way to “come alive” and achieve extended periods of mindfulness.
A mindful mile takes about 2. hours to walk, that's because Mindful walking involves a fair bit of sitting still, being, watching, listening and absorbing every experience fully. And since the essence of mindfulness is realising that you aren't going anywhere, then there is no rush. At various stages on the walk you’ll be introduced to an expression of mindfulness as each of our teachers introduces you to a new aspect of mindfulness and guides you steadily deeper and deeper into a mindful state of awareness. If you could bring mindful attention to walking then you are going a long way towards making your mindfulness practice a way of life.
Don’t worry if you have mobility issues, we've chosen a route that is easy walking and suitable for wheel chairs.
Short break tea coffee and cake
5.00pm - 6pmpm Meditation techniques with Paul
Mindfulness is an essential part of many meditation traditions, it’s often called other names but the principles are the same. Someone one described practicing meditation without mindfulness as like trying to carry water with a hole in your bucket. Mindfulness keeps the benefit of your meditation practice going throughout the day. Ultimately you can make your whole life a meditation. Equally if you really want to get the full benefit of your mindfulness practice it would be a good idea to incorporate some formal meditation too. Meditation has been practiced for at least 5000 years and thousands of years of dedicated research and exploration into the nature of consciousness have uncovered some amazing stuff.
Paul will teach you some basic and more advanced meditation techniques that will really help your practice and deepen your mindful experience. Paul lives pretty much all the time in a state of mindful awareness and he’s the most awake person you are likely to meet. His journey has taken him to explore Vedic meditation traditions and he practices and teaches kriya and kundalini yoga. If you were to include one or two of these into your practice, you might find some staggering results. But we’ll let you discover this for yourself.
7pm: Dinner and an evening of fun and games by the camp fire
Hot vegetarian meal and mindful conversation , Adrian and the team will be on hand to discuss your practice and answer questions etc.
Fun and entertainment to include:
1.Kundalini Yoga with Paul – This is not the kind of yoga you’ll learn at the gym, yoga means pathway to union and there are many different forms. These forms require a good pair of lungs but no bending or stretching and they are practised seated.
The Famous Appreciation game – A simple mindfulness game to play on your own or with friends. It’s a great way to practice mindfulness and really helps you to cultivate energetic intention.
Seeing and drawing with a quiet mind with Sophie
Sophie is interested in getting you to sit and be still inside and out. She is a mindful artist and she wants to introduce you to a world that you may have been overlooking. She’ll teach you how to really see, how to look with mindfulness. She’ll help you to hold a high degree of mindful attention and show you how to look without judgement, without criticisms, comparison or description, to see as it is, without the screen of thoughts. Notice how the colours come alive, notice the shape, shadow and definition. If you just want to sit and be still and see that’s fine, but if you feel the urge you can pick up a pencil and begin to draw.
Mindful drawing is about the experience. There are no goals, aims or pursued outcomes, all the lessons come from the experience of the moment not the end product. Mindful Drawing promotes a simultaneous act of seeing, discovering and being, making it a wonderful vehicle to awareness.
But we’ll let you discover this for yourself.
8.30am: Mindful Movement with Jason
Jason will introduce you to the art of mindful movement through his own form of dynamic meditation. A little standing meditation, some gentle exercise and mindful movement, to help wake your body and to help you to align your mind and body and connect to that mindful space of awareness. It will also get your chi energy flowing and help you be mindful of subtle energies, clear your mind and connect to nature. It's the perfect start and great preparation for the day ahead
10.30am – 12.00: Mindfulness and Emotions – heal within and heal without
Adrian will explore the link between thinking and feeling and how with mindfulness it becomes possible to manage painful emotions within your body. He’ll show you how by being mindful of our emotions you can process them effectively and move from “unconscious reaction” driven by your emotions, towards “right action”, which comes from a place of calm mindful clarity.
Adrian will show you how to sit mindfully with your emotions, and explore how when you are mindful of your emotions this results in more conscious interactions with the world. You’ll discover how mindfulness allows you to create a better world within yourself and how that can be reflected in the world at large.
We’ll explore why feeling is a good thing, how it connects you to your humanity and leads to the cultivation of compassion. You’ll discover how emotions are nothing to be afraid of and how they are the vehicle to a rich fulfilled life and to realising your humanity. You’ll explore how mindfulness of emotion is ultimately the key to your higher states of awareness, your higher intelligence.
When you run from your feelings you are running from yourself, if we can help you to stop running, be still, and mindfully face yourself, then you are in for a rather pleasant surprise!
1pm - 2pm - The Energy of Mindfulness - Einstein and the Buddha with Adrian
Many traditional schools of mindfulness express the importance of energy and mindful intention. Buddhist mindfulness for example will include practices such as “Loving Kindness Meditation” and encourage us to be mindful of our communications and to be compassionate and gentle in our interaction with others. The wisdom is simple, if you put out an energy of loving kindness and you tread gently in the world and act with true compassion, then you put a different energy onto the world and the world starts to reflect that back. If you are happy and nice to people, they tend to be pleased to see you and they are usually nice back, and so your experience of the world changes – you have changed the world with energy and intention.
Central to this wisdom is an understanding of energy and the nature of reality. Every culture and tradition in the world has an understanding of our life force, an inner energy field of the body. In China they call it Chi energy, in Japan Ki, and in India it’s called Prana. Scientists are telling us, what the ancient masters knew many thousands of years ago, that when you explore physical reality at its most fundamental level, the atomic level, then you discover that there is pretty much nothing there at all. The atom is tiny specks of matter, that are held together in a vibrating field of infinite nothingness. Physicists call it the “quantum field” Taoists call it “the Tao”, and in India they might call it “The web of illusion” and Buddha simply called it “emptiness”.
Adrian will introduce you to the world within, the energetic universe. They will help you find your inner space and show you how through mindfulness you can develop awareness of the energy field of your body. This can bring a profound experience of contentedness and a shift of understanding that opens up infinite possibilities for deepening awareness, self healing and ultimately influencing and bringing about the change in the material world.
2pm - 3pm Lunch
3.00pm – 4pm Emotional Clearing Meditation
The Emotional Clearing session for many of our regular guests it is the highlight of the weekend. Based upon the work of the American psychiatrist and Vedic master John Ruskan, the Emotional Clearing meditation is by far the most powerful meditation practice that we’ve found for freeing and releasing past emotional pain. In the east they call this practice karma yoga. It can have a profound effect, resulting in cathartic releases of trapped emotion and leave you feeling deeply anchored in awareness.
3.00pm – 4pm Processing emotions with Barry
4.15pm: Thank you, good byes and where now?
Adrian will explore how you can take your mindfulness home with you, how to make mindfulness part of your life and spread your new found awareness to others. He will introduce you to the wider work of The Now Project and the support we can provide and introduce you to our little community and the part we play in the international Mindfulness Movement towards a loving compassionate world.
4.30pm: Retreat End
The Now Project Mindfulness Retreat venue nestles within the fabulous Thornham Magna Estate, in mid Suffolk. It is immersed in nature, there is no sound of human activity at all, no traffic, just woodland, forest animals, bird song and the sounds of nature.
The ancient woodland collaborates in our work and just by sitting quietly you can feel the stress of the city, worries, problems and all that head stuff simply dissolving as nature begins it’s work. Switch off your phone and your gadgets and unplug from the madness and let nature bring you home, back to yourself, back to the source. Blessed with miles of parkland, free open spaces, wildlife, ancient woodland and one of the finest arboretums in the country, it's is the perfect get away and the ideal environment for you to discover the simple joys of mindful living.
It’s about 1 hour and 40 minutes drive from London and 1 hour 20 minutes by train to the nearest station (Diss) and if you ask nicely we can probably arrange a lift from the station.
How to get there:
Full address for Google Maps / Sat Nav:
The Suffolk Cabins Red House Yard Gislingham Road Thornham Magna IP23 8HH
The Retreat is approximately an 1 hour 40 minutes drive from London (according to google maps.)
The Retreat is about 5 miles from Diss Station which is on the main line from London Liverpool Street to Norwich (Approx. 1 hour 20 minutes) Trains run half hourly from London. We will provide transport to the retreat centre from Diss station from the most popular trains. Discounted train tickets can be purchased in advance from Trainline.com
All meals are included and mindful eating is a really important part of your mindfulness training.
We don't insist that you are vegetarian and some of our teachers will openly confess that they eat meat, but vegetarian food lends it's self this kind of work; we want you to get the most from your retreat experience, so all meals are vegetarian (Vegan options also available). When you practice mindfulness meal times can become an important part of your practice, each mouth full can be a meditation and you'll discover a far greater appreciation of everything you eat.
Meals are prepared from fresh produce with loving mindful attention which an essential ingredient and an important but often overlooked aspect of it's nutrition. For the winter season, we'll be serving porridge, warm hearty soups, baked potatoes, hot bread, stews and Martine's Toffee Apple crumple! For dinner on Saturday there's some seriously advanced mindful dining, we've got “A Trio of Rafi's World Famous Curry's”, if you don't like curry don't worry there will other options, but eat these with a beginners mind and you might find yourself coming back next month just for the food.
We'll provide fresh fruit, snacks, and as much tea and coffee as you want, but if you could mindfully make it yourself, it would be helpful.
Some of the lovely things our guests say about the weekends…
“Thanks for a wonderful weekend. Beautiful people and a beautiful setting. Everything was a highlight, even the quiet moments of nothing! Love to you all xxx” Julia
“Brothers, Sisters: You guys have changed my life, and this daft grin on my face (that refuses to go away) is all thanks to you! Love and light your way, every way, always.” Natalie
“Hi everyone Thanks for a wonderful weekend full of challenge, laughter and enlightenment.” Amanda
“We had a fantastic weekend. Thank you so so much for sharing so much with us.” Ellen
“Great weekend, thanks guys” Stephen
“Thanks a million to you and your enlightened, caring team for a truly uplifting experience. From start to finish the weekend was an adventure and quest to live in the “now”. It’s Monday morning and I feel so alive, all my senses are turbo charged. The retreat weekend does more than it says on the tin. The welcome, location, fun, food, friendships, challenges, exercises etc etc make you come alive and I celebrate a new beginning.” Gerry
"A huge thank you to you, Paul, Jason, Sophie and Brad for a fantastic weekend. Thank you for helping me on Sunday morning, I really appreciated it, you have made a big difference to my life. Looking forward to hearing details of the Winter retreats." Jeanette
"I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I absolutely loved it – the people, the food, the teachings, the practice, the peace…I have been so chilled out and mindful ever since! Thank you" Helen
"I came to your retreat at the weekend with a simple expectation…..to relax and find some head space. OMG!! I have been truly blown away by my experience. I CAN ACTUALLY FEEL AGAIN. How amazing is that:-) every single one of the orange tshirt gang helped me in one way or another. I’ve never felt so comfortable in a group of strangers, and NOW I feel comfortable in myself. Thank you sooooo much. See you all soon." Jean
"Thank you for an amazing weekend. I can’t stop thinking about how inspiring it was and everyone was. My life has changed for the better, I already feel like a different person. Truly perfect!" Kirsty
"So…It’s unlike me to post something as earnest as this but it’s been a week now since I went on a meditation retreat run by the guys at the Now Project and I can honestly say it was the best £200 I’ve ever spent. This is not a sponsored post and I’m still the tax paying Tory-voting science geek I’ve always been but the effects have been so profound I had to share my experience.
At work, I’ve found myself smiling at the sort of minor nonsense that a week ago would have angered me to the point of ruining my day. I’m getting more stuff done and I can just feel that I’m a happier and possibly nicer person to be around.
Anyone remotely interested in bullet proofing their minds to stress get involved on one of their intro evening courses at Portland Place, or better still go to a retreat. Meditation is an ancient practise that is fundamental to yoga and Buddhist philosophy but there’s nothing religious or New Age about these guys all the techniques they teach you can do while sitting down in a chair and they’re all backed by clinical studies that have shown how beneficial meditation is. However, there is one thing weird about them, they are all seasoned meditators and they’re quite literally OFF THEIR TITS on happiness. Which is something you don’t often see in human beings beyond the age of 4.
Anyway, I’m rambling on. I’m looking to attend one of the six week evening courses starting mid October. If anyone wants to join me let me know. It’s not “some bloody hippy free for all”*. It’s great and it’s too good not to shout about. Michael
I have noticed changes to myself being alot more happier than ever, letting this go more than before, and even other people noticing my happier being, they have been asking what's happened and I've told them, my best weekend i've had in years at the retreat and they should go!