“Within you there is a stillness and sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself” Hermann Hesse
Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending shared time with like-minded and like-hearted people in the peaceful surroundings of Holland House in Worcestershire.
The focus for our weekend was to spend time energising our bodies and relaxing our minds, whilst enjoying wholesome home-cooked food and hospitality.
For many of us this was the first time we had met in person, having practised together for several years on Zoom.
It was wonderful to meet in this sacred space, joined together by our shared love of this ancient healing art.
On Friday evening in our opening circle, we set our intentions for the weekend – connection, friendship, openness, peace, love, growth and transformation. No pressure there! – but all manifested in the space of a weekend.
To retreat is to withdraw to a quiet, secluded space, to rest, relax, recharge and renew.
As humans we have been drawn to retreat for many, many years and as our busy modern lives threaten to overwhelm our mind, body, emotions and spirit the need to retreat is more important than ever.
“Qigong is the art and science of refining and cultivating energy” Ken Cohen
As a practise it complements my work as a healer, spiritual mentor and educator beautifully, and I have been practising for almost ten years, although I still regard myself as a beginner.
It is the perfect way to ground and centre in your body, become present and to still the mind. For me it is a form of moving meditation and is both gentle and active in the flow it generates as I move through a form.
Practising in nature heightens this experience as I connect with the energy and life force of the trees and plants around me.
When we practise with others we are connecting to their energy field too and as we move in perfect synchronicity our connection increases our vibration and frequency, elevating our consciousness. The silence we experience isn’t empty, it’s full of answers awaiting our attention.
Renewal requires us to be open to new ways of thinking and feeling, to be curious, and on retreat I experienced a new form of meditation – Anapana.
The intense focus of paying attention to breathing through each nostril – doing what comes naturally – led to a feeling of alertness and greater self-awareness. I was intensely aware each time I wandered off and could bring my focus back to my body with kindness and compassion.
I also had the opportunity to experience Kirtan devotional singing using a mantra to inspire internal focus and connection to the authentic voice within. This was a most uplifting experience, opening my heart centre and bringing tears to my eyes. My intention for the weekend was for Peace and our singing brought a deep inner peace which has remained with me days later. It was a powerful reminder of the peace that goes with me wherever I go.
It was an inspiring weekend of deep connection, love, warmth and laughter.
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly” The Teaching of Buddha