Many years ago, after an intensive meditation retreat on the Satipatthana Sutta I decided to dedicate myself to studying and practising the richness of this teaching. Discovering how to practise embodied awareness in any situation, on and off the cushion, in daily life, in relationships, at work and at home through the four foundations of mindfulness: body, sensations, mind (thoughts/emotions), dhammas (reality) was revolutionary for me.
More than that it had the taste of freedom. Freedom from grasping, attachment and aversion, when the heart hardens, the mind narrows and we once again circle round in ignorance. Over time Satipatthana practice became a key to discovering the liberating truth of the Dharma in my own direct experience.
The other aspect that convinced me of the immense value of this practice was its connection to kindness and ultimately to compassion. We practice mindfulness with relaxed, receptive, non-judgemental, kindly awareness. I feel passionate about not letting Satipatthana become a dry, cold, analytical practice. If we are truly aware then the heart is open, there is connection with ourselves, with others and with the world around us. This is how we train the aware, compassionate responsiveness that will make a difference to life. At the same time cultivating a sense of wonder, play and lightness that treading this path requires.
Most of the retreat will be in silence, except for meditation reviews and designated Q&A sessions. Opening up to the truth of the moment, befriending experience, whether pleasant or unpleasant will be strengthened by “heart-practices” such as ritual, devotion, metta. Additionally, we’ll engage the grounding power of body awareness with gentle mindful movement and body scans.