Reinventing Ritual Retreat

Announcing our weekend retreat on 6th-8th November 2015,Child_creativity_Matt Kowal in the woods of Surrey, England. An experimental retreat in which we will aim to reinvent ritual so that it is inclusive, engaging and meaningful rather than tedious and alienating. See this page for full details.

About Robert M Ellis

Robert M Ellis is the founder and chair of the Middle Way Society, and author of a number of books on Middle Way Philosophy, including the introductory 'Migglism' and the more in-depth 'Middle Way Philosophy' series. He has a Christian background, and about 20 years' past experience of practising Buddhism, but it was his Ph.D. studies in Philosophy that set him on the track of developing a systematic account of the Middle Way beyond any specific tradition. He has earned his living mainly by teaching, and more recently by online tutoring.

6 thoughts on “Reinventing Ritual Retreat

  1. I’d like to suggest (before I forget!) that we might incorporate some dreamwork into our exploration of ritual while we’re away in the woods next wintertime. I’ve just revisited the podcast on dreaming.

  2. Sounds like a wonderful event, I am sad that I will not be able to attend, but I hope more of them will be held in the future!

    Ritual, a fascinating topic. Many people seem to regard the very concept as something quite primitive, something that we should evolve away from. They tend to forget that rituals (in various forms) are everywhere in secular society as well. I feel that ritual can be profoundly useful, and it would be thrilling to explore ways that it can be part of practice without relying on dogma. This might be something that the society could really contribute to wider society. I know there have been attempts by atheists/”secular humanists” to create ceremonies and rituals (even “churches”) for non-theists, but of course they have their own appeal to dogma and set of sneaky presuppositions attached to them.

  3. Still thinking about it Robert, and thanks for your enthusiastic response, but in very broad outline we might discuss ways we know or have heard of/read about for increasing the likelihood that we will dream; and ways that we may recall or record our dream(s). Then, perhaps, discuss how (and/or whether) that recalled/recorded information might be applied to ourselves as a possible integrative tool, or in some other helpful way, subject to whatever criteria of consent, safety, confidentiality etc we thought necessary, and could agree.

    Then, perhaps, discuss and agree a method of processing, celebrating or otherwise consigning the products of our activity to use personally or collectively. And ways of evaluating the validity of the method(s) used, and the ‘dream-data yielded’ or an absence of validity, of effectiveness etc etc!

    There’s a great deal to consider, I think: time may be limited, and the design, implementation and evaluation of a collaborative process that is spare enough, meaningful enough and productive enough won’t perhaps be a simple project. But it might be fun, and worthwhile in several inter-related ways, including what may be a need for us to develop new migglist ways of our relating to each other, and of building on the migglist foundations you’ve provided.

    What do you and others think? Emilie? Nina ? Barry? Kat? Lenni? Richard? Not forgetting Rubin (or anyone else) of course?

    I hope everyone can make sense of my thought processes above. It need not be as complicated as I’ve perhaps made it sound, but it will require careful thought as an exercise.

  4. Hi Peter,
    My only concern about this is a practical one: that there probably won’t be enough time on a weekend retreat to go through much of a ‘process’ with dreams. We could encourage people to make use of dreams they’ve recently experienced, but to get people engaging with dreams to a greater extent than they were previously might take a fair amount of time. I wonder if it might work better as an evening session (or a couple of evening sessions) on the summer retreat? In the first one, we could discuss our attitude and approach to dreams, attempting to note them and reflect upon any that come up during the retreat, then in the second at least a few days later, make use of any material that has come up.

  5. Yes, Robert, that seems much more realistic and do-able. Thank you. I’m glad that dreams may be considered as a potentially useful part of miggling practice, and eager to see where this line of thinking may take us.

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