White Dragon Retreat – November 2013

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Our guests

Thank you everyone who came to our mindfulness retreat last weekend. It was a fantastic success.

Our winter retreats are very different in flavour to the summer ones. The retreat centre can only accommodate 20 so with myself and the team it only leaves room for 16 guests, that's a ratio of one teacher to every four guests which makes for some pretty intense mindfulness training. Our winter retreats are a much more intimate affair and all being together for the whole weekend creates the perfect environment for presence to build and for shift to happen.

The Martinsell Retreat Centre is a magical place, tucked away at the foot of Martinsell Hill in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside it is surrounded by nature. The Centre sits on the Aylesbury ley, an important energy line which connects a number of ancient spiritual sites including the Aylesbury stone circle and three early hill forts. The ley line or Dragon line has a powerful energy and Nicola at the Retreat Centre has spend years cultivating a wonderful healing energy, she holds a high state of awareness and this influences everything. The vibration proved to perfect for our work.

My challenge when designing the format for the weekend was to make it a powerful experience for experienced practitioners and also open it up to complete beginners. I wanted the weekend to provide a vehicle to take experienced practitioners to another level in their awareness and to trigger a profound shift in consciousness. I also know that quite often complete beginners are ready to make these shifts too and I learned during our summer retreats that it's often the people who don't know what they are looking for who find the most.

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And you know what? We pulled it off. Half off the group had little or no experience of mindfulness until at weekend had never experienced thoughtless awareness. The Dragon's tail worked its magic and by Saturday evening every one of them had dropped in to awareness, freeing their minds to a new dimension of reality. Thank you brave adventures for suspending your beliefs and for having the courage to look within. Pleasant surprise isn't it?

In truth the work started Friday evening well before we stepped on the dragon's tail. Martinsell centre is such a peaceful place that it's easy to drop into a silent inner space and with the team of myself, Jason, Paul and Brad all holding a high state of presence the world outside and problems in the head were soon forgotten. The space was already opening.

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Porridge, warm fruit bread and coffee for breakfast – all consumed mindfully of course. Followed by meditation and a 90 minute crash course in mindfulness, then we started the walk and put all the talk into real practice. I took myself off ahead of the group and sat on bench in the grounds meditating and plugging myself in preparation for the work. Jason lead the class and I was expecting them to catch me up in about 10 minutes, after 20 minutes I went to look where the group were only to discover with absolute delight that they were all mindfully lost in the experience of eating an apple straight from the tree. They had gone no more than 100 meters in 20 minutes. Now that's mindful walking! Jason had got them feeling every step, feeling every breath of wind, smelling the wood smoke looking at every leaf and noticing the light in the dew drop. What's the rush when you aren't going anywhere and there's so much to notice on the way. It was only midday on the Saturday morning and they were all practicing like masters.

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At The old Ladie

We picked up the pace a little, but maintained the intense mindful attention. Each step of the walk became a vehicle to mindfulness. As we walked certain tasks were set, first task was to feel every breath consciously between the gate and the big Oak on the tarck to the footpath, next to listen to each footstep as we walked through the leaves, then to feel the rain drops on your nose. We made the climb very slowly, with full attention given to every step, never looking upwards and always focusing on the step we were on. Stopping at regular intervals to do a quick body scan and come alive through the senses and fully appreciate where we are.

The hill was hidden in the mist and as we climbed it had an ethereal quality. The whiteness blanked out the scenery and the rest of the world disappeared into the whiteness. It was magical. Magic is the most appropriate word to use because that's exactly what happened, the intense mindful focus and the energy of the dragons tail worked their magic and in that white emptiness shift happened. By the end of the walk everyone was immersed in thoughtless awareness.

A wonderful late lunch was devoured enthusiastically if not with the same mindful attention. Paul gave a class in Kundalini yoga and Brad led a meditation before mindfulness games round the campfire including two rounds of the famous appreciation game before coming in for a hot dinner by the log fire.

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A wonderful late lunch was devoured enthusiastically if not with the same mindful attention. Paul gave a class in Kundalini yoga and Brad led a meditation before mindfulness games round the campfire including two rounds of the famous appreciation game before coming in for a hot dinner by the log fire.

Sunday started with Chi kung on the end of the dragon's tail. Chi kung literally means energy work, it's my favorite form of meditation, it's a great vehicle for mindfulness and also works on the subtle energetic field of the body. After 15 minutes everyone was feeling chi in the body and the foundations were in place for a day of mindfulness and intense energy work. The shifts that happened on Sunday afternoon were remarkable. Way beyond anything I foolishly believed possible. Oh beliefs are such limitations.

Once again a big thank you to all our wonderful guests, you are all brave open minded adventurers and you make thus work such a joy. As for my fantastic team, what fantastic teachers you have become. .

We still have places for our next retreat in mid January. If you are ready to jump wholeheartedly into a new one mindful state of awareness or are simply looking to bring your existing practice to life, then we'd love to see you.

 

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