Meditation is sometimes presented as a religious practice, and more commonly today in a secular form as therapy or just a means to reduce stress. If we apply the Middle Way to meditation we can go beyond the limitations of either of these views of meditation, seeing it as part of a wider practice of integration, but without having to associate it with beliefs in God or enlightenment. The Middle Way also offers the basis of some distinctive ways of working in meditation itself: we need to find a balance between being narrowly goal-driven or having no goals at all. There are few better places to directly experience the biting point of the Middle Way than in meditation practice.
On this weekend retreat we will do some intensive meditation practice, and have a complete day of silence on the Saturday. The retreat will be led by Robert M Ellis, who originally learnt meditation in a Buddhist context and has been practising it for nearly 30 years. Some meditation sessions will be lightly guided to help you develop your practice by applying the Middle Way, whilst other sessions will be unguided and open. Robert will also be giving a talk about the Middle Way in meditation, and there will be opportunities for questions and discussion as well as free time.
Where? Anybody’s Barn, a retreat centre set in beautiful English countryside. The address is Anybody’s Barn, Storridge, near Malvern, Worcestershire, WR13 5EZ. For more details, pictures, and directions see the Anybody’s Barn website.
When? Fri 5th- Sun 7th June 2015. You should be able to access the centre from about 4pm on Fri 5th, but the retreat will start at 6pm. We will finish about 2.30 pm (after lunch) on Sunday 7th.
Who is the retreat for? You will need to be 18 or over and have at least some basic prior experience of meditation: e.g. to have attended an introductory MSR course, attended a beginner’s class run by a Buddhist group for at least 2 months, or if self-taught, have practised meditation regularly for at least 2 months. You do not have to be a member of the Middle Way Society to attend.
Equipment: If you prefer to sit in meditation on a stool or meditation cushions, you will need to bring these with you. Upright chairs and soft cushions will be available.
Retreat conditions: To help create an atmosphere supporting integrative practice, people attending the retreat will be asked not to use electronic devices such as mobile phones, computers, radio or TV during the course of the retreat, except for the purposes of the retreat programme or for urgent personal reasons.
Cost: Standard rate is £80 for the whole weekend, including all accommodation and food. Please pay at this rate if you can afford it. If you would be unable to attend the retreat paying the standard rate for whatever reasons, an alternative is to pay the minimum rate of £56. You can either pay the full amount on booking, or pay a deposit of £30, followed by the balance of £50 due by the start of the retreat. In the event of a cancellation for any reason after you have paid in full, £50 will be refunded.
Travel: See here for directions to Anybody’s Barn if you are travelling by car. The nearest railway station is Malvern Link, with direct trains from London, Birmingham and Hereford. We can provide lifts to and from the railway station with prior notice (please contact robert (at) middlewaysociety.org).
Accommodation: This is in small dormitories (3, 4 and 5 bed rooms). We will negotiate who sleeps where on arrival (normally separating the sexes in different dormitories). We will try to meet any particular needs (e.g. for a single room or room for a couple) as far as possible, but cannot guarantee to do so. Retreatants will be asked to contribute to cooking, washing up, cleaning etc, unless they have physical problems with contributing in this way.
To book Please fill in the form below. When you submit the form, it should be followed by a Paypal payment facility where you can pay either by Paypal or by debit/ credit card. Once you have submitted the form and your payment, your place on the retreat will be secured.
Questions: For any further questions about the retreat, please contact robert (at) middlewaysociety.org. For queries about payment please contact barry (at) middlewaysociety.org. (Substitute @ for (at)). Alternatively you can use the comment function below for public questions or comments.
Picture by Eugenio Hansen (Wikimedia Commons) CC-SY 2.