This retreat centre has been my home for the last week, with a Triratna Buddhist community. I am not a Buddhist, however as a Mindfulness teacher and practitioner, the importance of attending retreats for my personal practice and personal and professional development is vital.
The silence which is part of the retreat allows deeper connection, indwelling and reflection of what is going on for me without the distractions of verbal communication. The lack of phone signal and wi-fi naturally leads to “unplugging”, and there are no TVs or radios to hide behind. I went with work on myself to do, and do it I did! I was processing “stuff” and exploring my feelings, bodily sensations and thoughts very much as I would do after receiving counselling. Yes it felt painful, and I also felt great peace and joy with a bubbling up of child-like playfulness.
There were 7 meditations a day with lots of opportunity to perform tasks and activities with your full attention, such as walking or washing-up. There were also daily teachings with a Buddhist slant and a rota for kitchen duties and cleaning. But we also had lots of free time to use as we liked- in silence.
The retreat centre in Hereford is one of my favourites and is set in beautiful grounds and countryside. I like to explore and so when I could I took off into the countryside. The space and silence is important to me not just on retreat but in my daily life too. I try to find this space while walking with the dogs and in my meditation practice. I also try to maintain a work:rest:play balance. I find it is a constant negotiation between my my wants and needs and those of others. However with open and honest communication, in my little world, we find a way.