SILENT MEDITATION RETREATS
Silence is golden. In an increasingly noisy world, we are seldom afforded extended times of silent stillness. In silence, we can learn to listen - to others and to ourselves. With no need to converse, the inner dialog lessens, and our minds become calm.
Every year, the silent retreats of Mindfulness and Vipassana (insight) have provided the sanctuary and solace everyone needs from time to time. Stepping out of the frenetic pace of life, taking time to reflect and gain perspective in between life events helps us live a life rooted in divine peace and harmony. The Nirvana Wellness Sanctuary retreat collection supports and nurtures your connection with that inner stillness.
Retreat practice is a central part of meditation practice. Nirvana Silent Meditation Retreats are suited to students of all levels of experience.
Please join me at these opportunities to deepen your practice. Nirvana retreats are amazing. They are great gifts for yourself or someone you love. The focus is on mindfulness and loving kindness, with immense, health, emotional and spiritual benefits. Each day there is meditation practice in sitting and walking meditation, and teachings on the path of awakening. We learn how to develop a deeper sense of care for ourselves and for our world through the revolutionary spiritual practices of the Buddha and the Vedas. We gain deeper access to our innate ability to live with ease and freedom. Effortless, naturally healing and deeply relaxing, you will eliminate stress at the very outset. But the results are far more profound. It teaches you how to bring yourself to a completely restful and peaceful state that infuses stability and balance. You are liberated from turbulence, anxiety and fear. Confusion is erased and clarity, focus and confidence are ushered in. Answers come fast and easy. You find new direction, ideas, solutions from the compelling meditation program at Nirvana that encompass a series of meditational themes that are suitable for both beginning and long-term practitioners. All are welcome. These are great opportunities to learn meditation and deepen understanding of the causes of happiness.
Come, join in, if you are already feeling anxious, tense, weary, burnt out, or just need a break from your living and working environment. Regardless of your age, physical condition or previous experience in meditation or yoga will gain immeasurably in health and happiness, peace and serenity.
WHAT IS MEDITATION?
Meditation is a natural state of the human mind at rest, open and alert. It predates all religious traditions and is used on one way or another by each of them. Undertaken as a steady practice, meditation allows the mind to relax and settle. It encourages inherent qualities of stability, clarity and mental strength to emerge. Great contentment accompanies meditative stability.
One of our most precious treasures is health. We do a lot to stay healthy, avoid diseases or get better when sick. Meditation practice and instruction play a central role in Shanti Yoga. Meditation is now widely recognised as a powerful tool in the field of mind-body health and wellbeing and using your own mind's powers to stay healthy. It is easily integrated into everyday lifestyles and is a powerful practice for personal growth.
The doors of perception have been opened by realised beings and the fortune of enjoying its wealth is within the reach of ordinary practitioners. To make this profound path meaningful and to attain complete liberation, it is of vital importance to practice. Earlier stepping stones, thought earnestly undertaken and immensely beneficial are based on theoretical understanding. Although one can find information and techniques published in various places (and Shantiji herself has written several books on meditation namely: Easy Guide to Meditation; Inner Peace Handbook; Meditation; and Sitting beyond Thinking), meditation remains essentially an oral tradition and personal instruction with transmission is important. Books, textural expositions and half baked understanding brought about by teachers who pridefully believe they understand the awakened state and non-dual awareness while still limited by inadequate learning, training and experience, must give way to honesty and humility, together with combining a study of the original scriptures with unexcelled oral instruction and practical experience that gives a new meaning to it. When confusion is purified, the wisdom that is our basic wakefulness becomes apparent. As we mature our being through practice, we ripen empowerments, reading, transmissions and liberate instructions.
To slay our demons we provide a series of exploration and study in meditation through the practice and science of non-duality, via the synthesis of experiential practices, which combines, meditation, gentle yoga postures and breathing, and contemplative, non-religious philosophy, suited to both beginning and experienced meditators. Whilst the program uses meditation practices developed as part of a variety of spiritual traditions, the program content, format and exercises are completely secular.
Research into the effects of meditation on the brain is gaining unprecedented public and scientific attention these days. Studies show that the practice of meditation has profound effects on the brain, including changes in both its functioning and anatomy.
The serene, natural, spacious beauty of the environment, and contemplative quality of Nirvana Wellness Retreat provides the perfect setting and a mirror for the beauty of the unfolding heart and the spaciousness of mind achieved through meditation practice. This favourable combination of conditions and teachings by one of the world's leading, living authorities on meditation, will provide you with the inspiration and contemplation that will help you to:
- quieten your mind, open your heart and develop clarity and depth of practice
- gain awareness into the energy and patterns of your emotions
- foster insight and a natural energetic release
- access the power of basis healthiness and wisdom energy, free of ego fixation. The only thing not rooted in desire is nirvana, which is the end of all phenomena.
About Nirvana's Meditation Retreats
- A meditation residential retreat at Nirvana Wellness Sanctuary is a sustained experience which provides a creative, re-creational and life changing opportunity to connect with the beauty and sacredness of your essence and the phenomenal world.
- Enlightened leadership and the resources of natural surroundings contribute to each participant’s physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing and growth.
- Meditation retreats present an opportunity to explore both the dualistic nature of our ordinary minds, allowing us to recognise and release the subtle holding patterns that constrict the body, energy and mind, and the non-dual nature of our essential awareness.
- The release of these patterns facilitates and expands non-dual awakening. The practice and science of non-duality is embodied non-dual awakening, called the realisation process. The fundamental wisdom uncovered in meditation practice, arises from a universal seed of enlightenment that is shared by all. This is not merely conventional wisdom, or intellectual knowledge, but the natural, intuitive wisdom-mind.
- The non-dual essence of our being has never been injured. As we uncover it, we become free of depression, anxiety, bitterness and confusion. We also develop compassion for ourselves and others, increasing our capacity for pleasure.
- All psychological problems are at root spiritual issues - symptoms of disconnection from our deeper nature. You will enjoy relating with yourself and nature through walking, sitting and mindfulness meditation, deep relaxation, gentle yoga stretching and rest.
- A meditation residential retreat is a sustained experience which provides a creative, re-creational and life changing opportunity to connect with the beauty and sacredness of your essence and the phenomenal world.
Everything that happens at a residential retreat is programmed: the planned, the unplanned, the organised and unorganised, the tangible and intangible, measurable and immeasurable, informal as well as formal. This is because all aspects of our inner and outer experiences (elements, forms, emotions, thoughts, sciences, arts, colours etc.) are an expression of the interplay and potential of archetypical forces and are different expressions of wisdom.
In order to understand the dance one must be still. And in order to understand stillness, one must dance.
Meditation Weekend Residential Retreats: Peace in every breath
A meditation weekend retreat starts Friday evening and ends Sunday afternoon.
Mindfulness and noble silence (functional communication only) is practised from Friday after dinner to Sunday breakfast. Longer retreats are also available. During meditation retreats we
• Live the virtue of simplicity
• Settle into our own Being
• Address bravery and leaving home (…“freedom from the known”, Krishnamurty).
• Breathing Peace - a wonderful state of mind and body where all is calm, where thoughts are quiet and serene, and where your muscles are relaxed and comfortable.
Weekends provide an opportunity for the participant to begin at, and then progress from their own level of ability. Such progression would ideally challenge the skill and intellect of the participant and be an enriching experience. You will participate in:
- The essential practice of mindfulness.
- Guided contemplations. A guide to move you beyond your meditation stumbling blocks.
- Silent sitting. The mindful practice of sitting silently.
- Walking meditation. The mindful practice of walking - literally, step-by-step
- Mindful Eating. The mindful practice of eating.
- Small-group discussions, and no easy answers
all of which make for a rich and provocative experience. We purify negatives, avert obstacles and establish a connection which will ripen in the future.
During group meditation retreats, you will experience the mindful practice of being grounded in the rhythm of your body via periods of sitting and walking meditation. The two meditation polarities of moving and sitting, together mirror the dance of life, in which we are constantly in motion, between these two spectrums. By learning not to cling, nor to avoid, we learn to hold the place of the silent witness and be with all that life offers.
There are also opportunities during dharma talks for teachings, dialogue, questions and answers and group discussions, deep relaxation (nidra), a spiritual movie, a short work session, the integral relationship of the mind and body through the optional practices of yoga or pranayama, reflective contemplations, and creative and expressive art.
The entire Nirvana campus observes noble silence and functional speech, including time in and out of workshops, during meals, at the waterfall, and in the evenings. Noble silence is the experience of finding a sanctuary within you. In the shared space of living at Nirvana, we practice mindfulness - being fully in the present moment, with the heartfullness of cultivating kindness, interest and inner peace.
A fixed menus for the day of delicious and beautifully prepared Ayurvedic vegetarian meals are served buffet style and eaten communally in the dining verandah, or under shade trees. Retreatants, volunteers and staff eat together in the beauty of simple peace.
Shanti Gowans believes that quality programs are essential if the retreat is to have impact upon participants and thus upon society. This standard is directed towards providing the participant with the opportunity to obtain breadth and depth in an activity rather than have merely a number of individual, unrelated activities in many, different areas. Programs are open to anyone and are a very powerful introduction to, and the subsequent deepening of mindfulness-awareness meditation.