Training and practise in mindfulness, focus attention, loving kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity
Friday 31/8/18 till Friday 7/9/18 (3-day option Fri 31/8 till Mon 3/9)
Mt Carmel Retreat Centre in Varroville, NSW (Sydney outskirts)
Meditation Teacher: Malcolm Huxter
Yoga Teacher: Lisa Brown
Organiser: Karen Plumbe
Onsite Manager: Amy Dempsey
Venue: Mt Carmel Retreat Centre in Varroville on St-Andrews Rd past Campbell town outside Sydney. Here is the link to venue: http://carmeliteretreats.com.au/
Food: The venue has a meat and fish menu for their residents and they will cater for vegetarian, vegan (dairy free) and general non-coeliac gluten free diets.
Dates and times: Both options begin Friday 31/8/18 at 3pm. Three-day retreat finishes lunchtime Monday 3/9/18 or as required by participants. Seven day retreat finishes Friday 7/9/18 at lunchtime.
Fees for three-day option: Share ensuite room with one other person = $375 + dana. Private ensuite room = $425 + dana
Fees for seven-day option: Share ensuite room with one other person = $830 + dana. Private ensuite room = $910 + dana
The first three days of this retreat will focus on training in the cultivation of stillness, serenity and insight meditation and the remaining days will involve attention given to the cultivation of the four heart qualities (loving kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity). There will be evening talks and workshop style morning instruction with Mal as well as morning yoga sessions with Lisa. Short individual interviews with Mal will be possible after Monday.
Meditation involves the cultivation of mindfulness and focused attention. Insight and serenity are the two aspects of Buddhist meditation. The four heart qualities (benevolent or loving kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity) can be cultivated as meditation practices and ways of relating to oneself and others.
Mindfulness is considered as a meditation practice, a way of being, a cognitive style, a mental skill, a core therapeutic process and a coping skill. Mindfulness has become a powerful psychological strategy for an array of mental health presentations as well as a practices to increase psychological wellbeing and enhance effectiveness in areas that include parenting, education, relationships, the workplace and more. Some of the core contemporary third wave approaches that use mindfulness include: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
Developing focussed attention or concentration is a key component of most meditation practices as well as many psychotherapeutic interventions. When cultivated systematically it can result in relaxation, a calm mind, a peaceful heart and profound transformations in consciousness.
The health and relationship benefits of compassion and loving kindness are becoming evident with current scientific research. The development of therapeutic and educational approaches such as Compassion Focussed Therapy (CFT), Cultivating Emotional Balance (CEB), Mindful Self Compassion (MSC) and Rick Hanson’s Positive Neuroplasticity Training (PNT) are gaining popularity with therapists and educators because they work to reduce mental and emotional suffering, harmonise interpersonal relationships, increase wellbeing, peace, joy and generally enhance functional agility in our complex modern world.
Two and a half millennia ago the Buddha taught the meditative development of mindfulness . (satipatthana-Pali) and concentration (Samadhi) as well as the four heart qualities as part of the eight fold path to awakening.
According to Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, a one-line description of mindfulness is: “to remember to pay attention to what is occurring in one’s immediate experience with care and discernment”. The Buddha named the four divine abodes in Pali (the language closest to what he spoke): metta (warm friendliness or loving kindness), karuna (compassion), mudita (appreciative or empathetic joy) and upekkhā (deep peacefulness or equanimity).
In the time of the Buddha mindfulness and samadhi supported by and including the four heart qualities were taught in order to gain psychological freedom. The heart qualities in particular were taught in ways that would provide antidotes for unhealthy, divisive and destructive relationships towards self and others. Like medicine for an illness, the different qualities and different ways to cultivate them were prescribed dependent on the nature of the afflictive relationship.
Silent retreats are opportunities to focus on cultivating the heart-mind and awakening psychological freedom. They provide the external circumstances conducive to inner transformation, peace and harmony with oneself and others.
Retreats provide a break to recharge and remember what is important in our lives. For professionals, such as teachers or therapists, retreats give us the opportunity to refine the skills we teach to our students and clients. Meditation retreats provide an opportunity for personal stress management and self-reflection. They often clarify life’s directions so that there is renewed vitality and enthusiasm towards that which is important. These personal gains help individuals become more effective in what ever they do including their professional roles. For those therapists who wish to use mindfulness, compassion and loving kindness in therapeutic settings, retreats provide the opportunity to deepen therapeutic skills and understanding of these interventions. In some mindfulness and mindful compassion approaches (e.g. MBSR and MSC) attending cloistered silent residential retreats are essential qualifications for teacher training programmes.
General aims of the retreat:
Who is this retreat for?
This silent residential retreat is for anyone who has had some prior experience with meditation and wishes to enhance and practise his or her skills. The retreat is suited to the general public as well as health care practitioners, therapists, educators, programme leaders and it will partially fulfil CPD requirements for some professionals. For those with aspirations to teach, this silent retreat will also partially fulfil requirements for teacher training in programmes such as Mindful Self Compassion (MSC) and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
What will the retreat involve?
Mal will draw on his training in the ancient Buddhist as well as the contemporary psychological practices. This retreat will involve evening talks, morning guidance and discussion, optional yoga sessions, time to sit, walk, move and be silently present. It will also involve the opportunity for 1:1 meetings with the teacher (Mal) if required after Monday. Silence will be encouraged but not enforced.
Though in silence, participants will have the opportunity to question, comment and discuss about the practices during workshops style morning guidance sessions. All experiential exercises will be voluntary and there will be an opportunity to practice daily Yoga sessions taught by Lisa Brown. On the final day some of these exercises will involve pairing up with another and engaging in interpersonal meditation practices.
Mt Carmel Retreat is a peaceful and semi-rural sanctuary of 300 acres with birdlife and walking trails, 45 minutes outside of Sydney, near the Minto train station. All ensuite bedrooms are spacious and you can have the option to have your own private room or share with one other person.
The fees for this retreat (outlined above) will cover food /accommodation and contribute towards the teachers’ accommodation and transport. The fees include an option for dana.
In accordance with Buddhist traditions, the fee for this retreat is dana based. Dana refers to the economy of generosity where the teachings are given freely and those who receive the teaching have the opportunity to reciprocate with a financial gift that they feel is suitable, after the retreat has finished.
Teacher: Mal Huxter (MAPS, AABCAP) is a clinical psychologist in private practice. He is the author of “Healing the Heart and Mind with Mindfulness.” Routledge 2016. http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Heart-Mind-Mindfulness-Ancient/dp/1138851353
A practicing psychologist for 27 years, he has been teaching mindfulness and the four heart qualities to the general public, a range of cultures, clinical populations, therapists and other professionals since 1991. He began training in Buddhist meditation practices in 1975, living in Thailand as a Buddhist monk for two years in the late 1970’s. As well as Theravada he has trained in other Buddhist and spiritual traditions.
Yoga Teacher: Lisa Brown is a Psychologist, Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) facilitator, Yoga teacher and mother to four children, two dogs, two horses and a goat. She currently works in private practice in Bellingen and Coffs Harbour, and facilitates Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction groups and Trauma Sensitive Yoga classes.
For detailed information, email firstname.lastname@example.org (please note Mal will be unavailable from late May till July 24th 2018)