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Mindful Embodiment, Compassionate Holding

Dates: July 28, 2015 - August 3, 2015

Course Leader: Choden & Angie Ball

Cost: 294singles, 222 twins each, 174 dorms. Course fee 300



This retreat provides an opportunity for deepening practice for the participants in the various trainings offered by the Mindfulness Association. It is also open to people who have trained in mindfulness and compassion in other contexts. We intend to set up a daily practice schedule with periods of silence each day from rising until after lunch. We will offer teachings and guided practices with sharing and inquiry. There will also be the opportunity for personal practice reviews with the tutors.

Retreat Theme

The theme of this retreat is deepening our sense of grounding and embodiment. Grounding is a key component of mindfulness practice. It allows us to come to land in the reality of who we are – to drop down to Earth, as it were. This is the starting point. It then leads to the practice of resting which is learning to be with our experience in a different way – to be in contact with our emotions, feelings and struggles in an environment of acceptance and kindness. Instead of constantly fighting with or running away from or suppressing our inner emotional world, we learn to meet it with a gesture of allowing and open inquiry. This enables us to come to rest, and space naturally opens up in and around ourselves. This is the basis for stability. It is like a secure base within ourselves that we can begin to trust. We trust that we can hold our ground despite what arises emotionally within our minds and despite what the world throws at us.

Compassion develops on the stable ground of mindfulness. We begin to build an inner resource of strength, wisdom and kindness. We realise that there is something inside us we can rely upon. It is like an inner compassionate voice that accompanies us and supports us as we go about our lives, encouraging us when we feel low or dispirited – in contrast with the inner critic that is always turning on us with contempt and self attacking. From this compassionate place we can learn to hold the painful, difficult parts of our experience.

This takes us to the centre of our personal mandala. ‘Mandala’ in Buddhism refers to a sacred space that has a centre and a periphery. In this context it refers to the space of our lives - the inner and outer world we inhabit. In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition ‘deities’ occupy the centre of the mandala. These deities are archetypal representations of inner qualities, such as wisdom and compassion. The key point here is that when we cultivate the compassionate voice within ourselves we begin to occupy the centre of our personal mandala - we start to see everything differently and relate to everything differently. We begin to understand the other ‘selves’ within us, like the angry, anxious and sad selves. We see where they come from and we relate to them with kindness. We can then understand how other people struggle because, just like us, they are caught up in the flow of life, and we then relate to them from this centre point of the compassion within ourselves.

We will explore these themes during the retreat through teaching, practice and inquiry. The foundation is deepening our sense of grounding and embodiment. We then begin to cultivate our inner compassionate voice. This leads to the exploration of the principle of mandala, and learning to inhabit the centre of our personal mandala.


You will need to book your place on the course through the Mindfulness Association, and then book your accommodation through Holy Isle.

For booking a place on the course:

Email: info@mindfulnessassociation.net

For booking accommodation

Email: reception@holyisle.org

Tel: 01770 60110001770 60110001770 60110001770 601100

Booking form (pdf)