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CREATING A PERSONAL RETREAT.

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Are you time poor with too many demands from work, family or other commitments to attend a retreat or do you simply not have the money to pay for one? Whatever the reason, there is a simple solution, CREATE YOUR OWN.

With a little planning and preparation you can honour yourself and take the time to focus on renewing your spirit and getting back in touch with yourself or perhaps even reach out towards the spiritual awareness you desire.

The first thing to remember is that you are worth the effort. If that isn’t a good enough reason to make time then perhaps for some reason you haven’t yet discovered the importance of self love, in that case, for the moment, focus on the benefits a retreat will bring to everyone around you. A calmer, happier, more positive and peaceful you will be able to give them greater support.

PREPARATION.

* FIND A SUITABLE TIME.

What is the best day of the week to do it. Fewer commitments. Easier for those living with you  to support your need for silence.

Children at camp, away visiting, partner away, quieter time at work etc. If none of these are happening organise for them to happen.

*PREPARE YOURSELF.

Look forward to this time. Think what will make it really work for me? If you are addicted to coffee, tea or some other stimulant that will prevent your mind from settling cut back gradually. It will almost impossible to meditate with a screaming headache.

You might like to purchase some small item to enhance the experience for you. (This is not essential but if this is a treat you are giving yourself buying a special candle, some incense, a crystal, religious object, flowers or some special music can mark it as special and make it more significant.)

*TELL EVERYONE YOU ARE UNCONTACTABLE.

If it is difficult for you to do this for any reason, for example if you feel you don’t wish to share what you are doing at work, but need to take time out, then give a good reason, there is no need to lie simply tell the truth. “I am  going to visit a close friend who needs me and I won’t have phone/internet reception until I return.” Remember that no one is so important that they can’t be done without. It will only be for a day. If you were to die right now it may be a nuisance to some but they would quickly find a way to do those jobs. Look at it this way, at least you’ll be back and most if not all the jobs can wait till then.  If any can’t then delegate them for the day.

*DRAW UP A PROGRAMME.

Decide the length and number of your sessions. Four 30 minute sessions may be enough for a start (or six to eight 30 minute sessions).

Decide on the type/types of meditation techniques you will use. Sitting with focus on breath, object, mantra or walking.

*FIND A SUITABLE PLACE TO MEDITATE.

It needs to be quiet, not too warm and airy.

*CHOOSE SUITABLE MUSIC IF YOU ARE USING IT.

*DECIDE WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO BETWEEN SESSIONS.

If you plan to read choose suitable texts. Spend time outside if you have a quiet garden. Physical labour is also suitable as is creating a mandala or artwork. Whatever the task focus mindfully on

*PREPARE FOOD BEFOREHAND.

Keep meals simple and frugal. Fruit, salad, bread, nuts, cheese. Drink only water or fruit juice.

*PREPARE YOUR MEDITATION SPACE.

HAVE WATER AT HAND.

HAVE A WAY OF MARKING THE PASSING OF TIME.

Suitable music with timed pieces can be used or have a watch/ clock in sight so you can time your sessions.

HAVE A BLANKET OR RUG AT HAND.

If you are sitting still you may get cold and hunting for one can be distracting.

*ENLIST THE SUPPORT OF ANYONE WHO LIVES WITH YOU.

So that you can keep silent all day. If you have pets and they may distract you take steps to prevent them doing this during your meditation times.

*TURN OFF ALL PHONES AND COMPUTERS.

BEGIN YOUR PERSONAL RETREAT.

ENJOY YOUR JOURNEY!

TIBETAN HEALING

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Venerable Lobsang Tendar with some students (I am in the white top) at a retreat last year.

I am looking forward to August when at another retreat I will learn more.

Tibetans use an ancient form of medicine called “The Knowledge of Healing” whose origins are believed to be based on the teachings of the historical Buddha.

In the Tibetan medical tradition, the concept of well-being takes into account the full dynamics of mind, body and spirit to achieve effective and comprehensive healing. It utilizes the power of mantra (a creative repetitive sound) and the power of meditative stabilization.

In Tibetan Buddhist healing the notion of the law of  karma implies infinite interlinked causes for any single event.

Three emotions known as the “Three Interior Poisons” are considered to be the root of all illness.

The first poison is desire or passion, which manifests as grasping at objects or pleasant experiences.

The second poison is hatred which manifests as  pushing away of unpleasant experiences or objects.

Finally, ignorance or confusion, the third poison involves misunderstanding the nature of an object or a particular experience.

It is vital for anyone involved in healing to develop compassion for without compassion for self and others no true healing can take place.

If you are interested in learning more about Tibetan Healing or studying it contact Venerable Lobsang Tendar (There is a link on this site just click on the smiling Buddhist Monk widget) or google Tendar. He is an amazing, humble monk whose life is dedicated to healing. He now lives in Melbourne, Australia but if you live anywhere else in the world I am sure he can advise you on avenues of further study.

If you are motivated to study, learn and change I encourage you to do it.

We all say ” Tomorrow I’ll do that”  but tomorrow never comes, so I say,” the perfect time to start something never comes so best do it now!”

Remember  Michael Jackson said in “Man in the Mirror”

“If you want to make the world a better place,

take a look at yourself and make the change.”

Such wise words but like most of us I suspect he was going to do it tomorrow.

Make the change today, become a healer, you don’t have to be Tibetan to develop compassion. Mind you they have an awful lot to teach most of us. The teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tendar have been a great light to me personally and I am deeply thankful for their sharing of their knowledge and life’s journey. People like them change everyone they come in contact with and in doing so they certainly are changing the world.

Blessings on your journey.

We All Need Guidance In This Life.

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On our journey through life things can change quickly from smooth sailing on calm seas to tough going on a stormy ocean. We all need guidance and it must be reliable or we can be overwhelmed, unable to cope and end up sinking. Where to get the guidance we need is often a challenge. Many people turn to God in prayer, or to a trusted relative or friend. Others use tarot or some other system that they feel works for them. These methods are all fine but I have found that you only tend to go to the trouble of doing these things when it is “important” which translates as if there is a problem. The little decisions in life are let flow without much thought, until something big  knocks on your consciousness. This approach to living can find you swinging wildly all over the place, without any clear direction, creating havoc without meaning to. It frequently also results in taking a less direct path to your destination, one that takes a lot more effort, not just physically but emotionally and spiritually as well.   By refining your awareness and getting to know yourself better you will become more in tune with your own inner spiritual guidance. This greater awareness of the subtle nudges being given to you in your daily life also makes it much easier to steer a straight course. The funny little feelings that just pop up, the body language of those around you, things you’ve heard repeated more than once in a short time or read and then seen put in a different way, these chance encounters can be used as  guidance, as can insights gained from reflection on inspirational poems, bible readings etc. When taken on board they can cause an awareness shift that allows you to subtly refine your course or approach to things, preventing the need for major changes or corrections. Taking time to meditate is vital. I have said meditate on purpose, because meditation is listening and reflecting, it is waiting to receive. Prayer is talking, it is active, you doing the asking and sometimes even demanding a specific outcome. The possibilities we can envisage are limited by our prior experience and perceived abilities but if through meditation we are in tune with the creative life force of this world the possibilities may be endless and we can be given the necessary skills to achieve them. Our goals may be more readily attainable. If we take the time daily to reflect and meditate, life’s little nudges will steer us just as surely and safely as the small nudges of tiny tug boats steer mighty tankers through narrow straights. Interestingly the pilot when he boards a ship always asks permission of the captain to take over the steering of the ship, if like myself you are a Christian, you may want to hand over the steering of your life.” I have already done that,” you may say, but I wonder if on reflection you may find that you have actually taken back control and grabbed back the wheel, just as we do when we hand our worries and then take them back to worry about them some more. Meditate, know yourself, your boundaries, what pushes your buttons, makes you unique. Find your spiritual oneness within, your course will become clearer and you will avoid getting stuck or running onto the rocks. Enjoy the journey. (This picture was taken on a recent trip to Newcastle, Australia a beautiful city with a working port. You can sit on the foreshore and almost touch the mighty ships as they enter and leave.)

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It is all too easy to sit as life drifts by, unaware of your life’s purpose.