Reconnecting with Your Source: An Anxiety Easing Retreat
A major cause of anxiety is that we lose our connection with the ordinary goodness of life. We become speedy and stressed and we forget how to simply relax and enjoy. We also lose touch with our ability to actually get back in touch.
But we are not so far off as we might think. Through simple practices done in a caring community atmosphere, we could find ourself suddenly relaxing and feeling a deep sense of ease.
This two-day retreat is an opportunity for you to slow down, tune in, and relax deeply.
Our natural basis as human beings is fundamentally open and good: we have an innate capacity for relaxing and appreciating our life. But unless we take the time to tune it, we forget how to, and we stay stuck in speed and disconnection.
During the weekend we’ll spend some time going deeper with our own experience, and have opportunities to share with each other in a meaningful way. We’ll work with three simple practices: Mindfulness Meditation, Life Rebalancing, and Circles of Society.
Sitting and Walking Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness practice helps us tune in to how things really are, just beneath the surface of our anxiety. Mindfulness doesn’t “create” a particular state of mind, rather it’s more of a “letting go,” of clutter and speed so that the natural mind can shine through. The technique itself kind of short circuits our speedy-grasping mind. As a result, the positive qualities of the mind are able to be expressed naturally, without our needing to crank anything up.
Chances are you probably can, but you may have a mistaken idea of how meditation is supposed to work. Meditation is not in any way trying to empty your mind or stop your thoughts, which are impossible anyway.
When most people try mindfulness meditation they think, “I can’t meditate, my mind is too speedy!” Yet, according to the tradition, this experience of speedy mind is actually the beginning point of the journey of meditation. Seeing our mind, exactly as it is, is where we start. From there the path unfolds and we gradually learn to settle.
Mindfulness practice teaches us how to slow down and be more fully present, for ourselves, for other people, and for society. Our distracted and busy mind is not the basic thing, rather it’s a habit that has become engrained. Mindfulness practice helps us gradually let go of that habit.
By gently and repeatedly coming back to the present moment, the habitual mind begins to relax and we tune into the natural openness of our experience. It’s not easy, because the momentum of our speed is intense. But if we stay with it something starts to shift, and we find ourselves suddenly here and now.
What aspect or aspects of your life are you most wanting to work with and change? Each day of the workshop we’ll go through a process to help us reflect on areas of our life that may be most out of balance, and how we can gently and realistically move back towards more balance. The process involves time for reflection on some simple questions, sharing with a partner in a safe “dyad” process, writing down what you’ve discovered, and some time to further share and reflect in the group.
Circle of Society
The Circle of Society is a talking circle format where people have the opportunity to speak their heart’s truth of the present moment. Talking circle is the oldest, simplest, and possibly the most powerful form of social gathering ever practiced by human beings. Talking circles are completely safe and kind, and everyone has the opportunity to share, or to pass if they don’t feel like sharing.
The weekend will also include several presentations by the facilitator Craig Mollins, time for discussion, as well as breaks for refreshments.