07 Mar Weekend retreat in mindfulness and compassion: Edinburgh, April 2017
“Absolutely Unique – Just Like Everyone Else”
A Weekend Retreat in Mindfulness and Compassion
Edinburgh, April 2017
“Christian, Jew, Muslim, shaman, Zoroastrian, stone, ground, mountain, river, each has a secret way of being with the mystery, unique and not to be judged.”
“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”
“Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”
The question we will be exploring during this weekend is:
”How might I welcome my own particular uniqueness as the perfect ground for my mindfulness practice?”
Every sunset is the same in that it is a display of light, colour and form, yet it is also absolutely unique. We humans are the same – infinitely diverse and yet each unique unto ourselves.
Through mindfulness practice we can let these truths empower us individually and help us open to our interconnectedness with others and all life.
Fundamentally, we’re no different from everyone else. This means we don’t need to take our shortcomings so personally. Experiential understanding of our common humanity has the potential to free us from self-blame and isolation. The more we witness our mind and then see that the minds of others have similar limitations, the more we can take to heart the words of meditation teacher, Rob Nairn: ”We are all imperfect and that’s completely ok!”
At the same time, mindfulness can reveal just how beautifully unique each one of us is. Unique in ways that we may be proud of but also in ways we may feel shame or frustration about. When developing a mindfulness practice, it is all too easy to fall into the trap of believing we must try to fit ourselves into a mindfulness-shaped mould. In this way, our body and mind can suffer through the pressure of adhering to ‘shoulds’ and trying to fulfill expectations. Perhaps when we do this we are forgetting one of the most liberating principles of mindfulness – that everything about our character, life experience and current circumstances is an opportunity and that our potential to grow springs from how we respond to it all. So, rather than wanting to become someone else through meditation practice, we can learn to accept and love our particularity and come home to ourselves.
We are each one of a kind and this applies to our gifts and our challenges. Exemplary qualities such as warmth, clarity, playfulness, confidence and serenity coexist with dark thoughts, arrogance, stubbornness, laziness, anger, meanness. The mix of these and the way they express themselves in our lives is part of our uniqueness. Recognising this can strengthen our resourcefulness and our ability to engage with life in beneficial ways.
We’ll take a voyage of inquiry using mindfulness practices; reflection and journalling; mindful dialogue and group work; art materials; and, weather-permitting, time outside.
This retreat is suitable for beginners and for more experienced practitioners wishing to find new inspiration and/or deepen their practice.
Fay Adams found herself living on the tiny retreat island, Holy Isle, off the west coast of Scotland, after having to give up her life in London due to suffering from chronic pain. She lived there for six years immersing herself in mindfulness practice under the guidance of Rob Nairn. During many hours of practice in her wooden hut, she learned how to understand the patterning that was causing her pain. Through body awareness and self-compassion she was able to restore her wellbeing. Fay now lives in Edinburgh and spends her time teaching for the Mindfulness Association around the UK and in Europe and running courses in Edinburgh. She is a tutor on the University of Aberdeen’s Studies in Mindfulness MSc.
Gareth Williams has been studying transpersonal psychologies since 1995 and has Masters degrees in psychology and in ethnomusicology. He has been a counsellor and senior practitioner for Rethink, Vision, and Mind, and is now a teacher on the University of Manchester doctorate course in counselling psychology. He initiated the Creative Space project – an expressive arts-based alternative to traditional counselling for young people, and is now developing and facilitating ecotherapy projects in and around Staffordshire. He has also been leading mindfulness training courses for several years. As well as having a deep joy in being in Nature, he loves writing songs, raps, and producing music.