Being a loner I was apprehensive about doing a group mindfulness retreat. But I am dedicated to Rob Nairn’s Psychology of Insight Training course and the group mindfulness was presented as a continuation of this work. As it most decidedly is – even if not directly intended to be so!
We were given enough theory to put the exercises we did in context. However, the theory did not prepare me for the profound discoveries I made about how I (dysfunctionally) function in groups. I was able to accept, explore and experience my new discoveries because I felt totally safe. Annik held the space with utter kindness, humility and non-judgement enabling us to share deep and difficult, and for me, previously never shared, experiences. In a few days, I gained a huge amount of compassionate insight into my group patterns and started on the path of being able to mindfully change how I function in groups. I understood that the group is a reflection of its members and the members each contain elements of the group. This was an important step in growing my understanding and compassion for others and understanding the interconnectedness of everything.
The compassion retreat, that followed, developed the learnings of the group mindfulness retreat. Again, I was hesitant about attending a compassion retreat as I’m not a “touchy feely” person. I also suspected I knew it all, anyhow. Well I didn’t and still don’t and probably never will (and that is perfect) but I developed my ability to hold myself in kindness and to really tune into other people while maintaining my own integrity. The visualisation practices presented me with my own incredible potential for good, that I have never really trusted or appreciated.
Compassion Retreat Group
Both retreats helped me deepen my self-awareness. Knowing, at deep levels, how I feel, brings the opportunity to make wise choices for myself and how I relate to others. I am further along the path of Not being at the mercy of subterranean, unacknowledged and merciless energies as a result of these two retreats and Rob’s course. The retreats, following on the first year of the Psychology of Insight Training course, have presented me with a Christmas stocking full of the most valuable gifts in the world that I can play with forever and that will never wear out, or break – as long as I keep practising.
Suddenly life is so much more fun.
Maxine Fine