Thank you everyone who came to our last retreat, what a fantastic weekend, even the weather colluded to make it special . There was a real sense of spring in the air, nature is awakening and the ground was covered with snowdrops. I love this time of year, we are by no means out of the grip of winter yet, but the light is returning and the bulbs are breaking into flower. Maybe it’s because my own awakening really kicked off in early spring, but I associate this time of year with the awakening of human consciousness. In the scheme of things, maybe we are still in early March, but very soon everything will come into flower.
Our guests are like the snowdrops, the first of the bulbs, a short while ago none could be found and we were in a barren winter, but now the ground is carpeted with snowdrops and all the other bulbs will soon flower too. You can’t really describe the type of person who comes to our retreats, they just don’t fit any demographic profile. Just when I had concluded that our work mostly attracts women, life proved me wrong again, because this weekend we had more men than women. Our guests don’t seem to fit any age profile either, the youngest so far was 18 and the oldest well into the their seventies. Teachers, lawyers, cab drivers, full time mums and used car salesmen, they come from all walks of life, and from all religious and political persuasions. But one thing they all have in common is their readiness for shift. And that shift is happening so so much faster now and so many people are now ready.
I always intended our winter retreats to be intensive, the centre can only accommodation a small number of guests, so our team can give everyone personal attention and the venue it’s self carries a powerful energy which adds to the intensity of the work.
Many of our guests have been to our events before and some are regulars. They come not to learn anything new, but to deepen their appreciation of where they are. Mindfulness is all about the practice and it is much more about realising what you already know and very little about learning anything new. Our winter intensives are great for those already on their way and already living mindfully because by holding everyone in a high state of Mindful awareness for the entire weekend they can make great progress
Right from from inception I wanted to make our winter retreats suitable for beginners too. There is nothing more satisfying than helping to open someone’s eyes for the first time, just holding them still in the moment until their mind becomes quiet, and then in an instant the world comes into true focus and the glory of life with and without is plain to see.
Once you have had a glimpse there is no going back, the process of awakening has started. In truth the process of awakening for our guests started long before the retreat. Why else would they book a weekend away with some strange people deep in the Wiltshire countryside? They come because they are ready, they may think that they want to learn Mindfulness because they are suffering from anxiety, depression or whatever, but that’s just a symptom of the awakening. The crisis is an essential ingredient. The great teacher Krishnamurti once said “it is no measure of health to be well adjusted in a fundamentally sick society” And he was right, if the insanity of the world hasn’t made you ill then there’s something seriously wrong with you. Make no mistake, the maddest are the closest.
Our latest recruits embraced our madness from the outset, they laughed and cried and bonded. Within hours everyone was anchored in the moment and they were to remain there for much of the weekend. For some it was a revolation to realise that they were not their thoughts, for others it’s enough to rest in the space of no mind.
The thing with snowdrop bulbs is that they spread. Each snowdrop can reappear next spring with new bulbs attached and so it is with our guests, they come back year after year and they send along friends and family who are ready to come into flower too.
often wonder how many awakened people it will take to change the world, I suspect that even as few as one percent of the population was to awaken it would become a critical mass. One person can have a massive effect on many. I taught Mindfulness to some senior managers of one the main supermarket chains last year and now I see the influence everytime I enter their stores. Between them, these mangers are responsible for 80, 000 people. They’ve changed their relationship with their staff who are now on improved contracts and had their name changed from staff to colleagues, bottom up management, where ideas invocations and insights come from the shop floor is replacing top down dictatorial management. They are now buying more locally from small suppliers and have changed their payment policy to ensure suppliers are paid on time and the trading relationship is more equal. They are embracing fair trade, removing gmo’s, donating money to community projects and have even widened the aisles to give more space to shoppers. What’s more the change in approach is working wonders for the bottom line and without giving away the name of the company, they are the one that’s doing really very well against their non Mindful competitors.
Teachers of course have great influence and there were two teachers at the retreat, can you imagine the effect these people can have? One teacher can help transform hundreds maybe even thousands over the course of their career. They can inspire young people to be wakeful, show them how to access their higher intelligence, and how to be happy healthy loving caring, productive members of society and ultimately conscious parents and grandparents bringing wakefulness to the next generation.
But every Mindful person has an effect, they effect their families their friends, colleagues, in fact they effect every human being with whom they have a Mindful interaction. That smile given freely to a stranger could be passed on many times over before the end of the day. That friendly interaction with the shop keeper may lift their spirits and effect their interactions with others, spreading light and love, it is infectious you see. Every Mindful person has influence, their very state of being brings change. To be calm in a crisis, peaceful in the face of conflict and clear minded in dealing with challenges, effects outcomes, not just for the Mindful person but also everyone else involved.
Mindful people give off an energy, they are healing to be around their presence increases the entire vibrational field, without doing anything they change the world around them. The momentum is gathering pace now and just like the first flush of spring our guests can return to winter for a short while, but ultimately they will awaken from and sleep and will flower in their full glory, it’s inevitable.
Thank you again all our guests, it was an absolute joy to work with you. Take your presence and spread the love