The group met recently for our Metta focussed meditation weekend retreat in the beautiful Upper Coquet valley in rural Northumberland. A small group included a retreatant who had travelled from Sheffield to join us, so a welcoming conversation over dinner on friday evening was enjoyed by all. The arrangements for the retreat were planned collaboratively, followed by the establishment of silence for the remainder of the retreat. The programme over the weekend included dhamma talks from both Sharon Salzberg and Donald Rothberg, which explored metta from a led metta meditation through to ways to realise metta in everyday life. This was interspersed with periods of sitting and walking meditation, as well as the opportunity for a longer nature walk in the beautiful, quiet Cheviot countryside right from the doorstep of the bunkhouse.
The weather wasn’t always kind to us, but the roaring log fire stove in the bunkhouse kept things warm and toasty for everyone. Overall the weekend was appreciated by all who attended both for the opportunity to explore and meditate for a more extended period than possible outside of a formal retreat situation, and for the conducive peace, solitude and beauty of the retreat location. At the end of the weekend the drive out from the bunkhouse offered a wonderful opportunity for reflection on the messages and themes of the retreat and slow return back to the concerns of everyday life.
With just over a week to go, here are the directions and instructions for our silent retreat weekend in Northumberland:
We’ll provide simple vegetarian food. Can you please let us know whether you have any dietary requirements or restrictions? We’re planning to bring fruit, cereal, porridge and bread for breakfast; soup, bread and cheese for lunch; a hot meal in the evening with some salad. There will be bottled water, coffee, tea and herbal teas.
We’d also like to remind you that the accommodation is on mezzanine floors, with separate male and female areas. You’ll need to bring your own bedding, including a sleeping mat or portable mattress. We have some spare bedding and mattresses, so please let us know if you need us to bring anything for you. We have uploaded an album of photos (click here) if you’d like to review the arrangements.
Meditation and yoga equipment
It would also be very helpful if you can bring your own meditation cushion or stool with you. Again, we have some spare cushions and yoga mats, so please get in touch if you need them.
There are a number of lovely walks around the area and we’ll bring some maps and walk guides, so you may want to take some walking boots and a waterproof coat.
We can arrive any time from 3 pm on Friday and we aim to finish at noon on Sunday. We’ll have a meal ready at around 6.30 on Friday evening, but if you can’t get there in time we’ll save you some food!
From Rothbury: Leave Rothbury on the B6341 heading west, passing through Thropton. At Flotterton Farm junction turn right, following the signposts to Alwinton. Pass through Harbottle, and Alwinton, continuing on the narrow single track road up the Coquet Valley for another 6 miles to Barrowburn Farm. The camping barn is up a track about 100 yards from the tearoom. For a Google Map click here.
If anyone needs a lift or would like to offer a lift, please let us know. We are expecting 6-8 of us to be taking part.
If you have any questions, please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) back or call on 07508 055643.
We’re really looking forward to seeing you and practising together.
Come and join us for a weekend of walking and silent meditation practice in the Cheviot Hills.
Friday 9th – Sunday 11th May 2014
Barrowburn Camping Barn, Upper Coquetdale (map)
Insight NorthEast is running a silent retreat weekend in Upper Coquetdale. Anyone with experience of meditation in any tradition is welcome to join us.
There is no set charge, although you are welcome to contribute to the cost of the accommodation and food. A voluntary donation of £25 is suggested.
We are organising a silent practice day, consisting of alternating periods of sitting and walking meditation. Anyone with experience of meditation in any tradition is welcome to join us.
A day of silence is a great way to learn and deepen your meditation practice. It can help to attune you to your external environment and start to notice what’s going on internally. It can help you to slow down and practise being fully mindful in the present moment.
There is no charge, although you are welcome to contribute to the cost of the room hire. Please bring your own packed lunch.
When: 10am–3pm on Sunday 17th November 2013
Where: Seaton Sluice Community Centre, Albert Rd, Seaton Sluice NE26 4QX (directions here)
Please feel free to download and pass on this notice to anyone you feel might be interested.
The group met for a silent practice day at the quiet and atmospheric Village Hall in Cresswell, located at the southern end of Druridge Bay. With an early morning mist hanging over the countryside, and the tide lapping in-shore, it felt as remote as spot as it could be, and perfect for our day of sustained practice. A slightly extended group of 6 soon made the hall comfortable and conducive to practice, with candles and incense, and a shared sense of right effort and intention. A format was agreed for the day, mixing sitting with walking meditation sessions, and at 10am we settled into silence, which would remain unbroken until the end of the day at 3pm when the group reflected on their experiences and thoughts.
The day opened with a 45 minute sit, followed by 30 minutes of walking meditation or yoga as preferred, and then a further session of 45 minutes sitting before a break for lunch. A number of the group took the opportunity to walk outside on the beach at lunch, exploring the dunes and shoreline in quiet, contemplative thought. We reconvened at 1pm for another 45 minutes sitting session, breaking again for walking meditation or yoga for 30 minutes before ending the day’s silent practice with a final 45 minute session of sitting. Afterwards, we shared our experiences, reflecting in part on the differences of each of our practices, which ebbed and flowed like the tide from one session to the next, but all agreeing that the practice had been both valuable and fulfilling. A short yogi-job session to clean the hall before we left gave us all the chance to come back to the “real world” and break our silence with jovial chat and friendship before we left for home (not before the little ones had time for an ice cream!).
Silent Practice Day – Sunday 19th May
10 am – 4 pm
Venue: Cresswell Village Hall (map)
Allow yourself a day of liberating silence.
We are organising a silent practice day, consisting of alternating periods of sitting and walking meditation.
A day of silence is a great way to learn and deepen your meditation practice. It can help to attune you to your external environment and start to notice what’s going on internally. It can help you to slow down and practice being fully mindful in the present moment.
This day will be a chance to practise a whole day of sitting and walking meditation in silence. You can sit on one of the chairs in the hall, or alternatively bring your own cushion or a meditation stool. It’s open for anyone with experience of meditation in any tradition, who wishes to experience a period of silence within the accepting and supportive atmosphere of a group.
Please bring your own packed lunch.
For more information please email email@example.com
“Being silent means more than just holding your tongue. It means listening for the
softest, most subtle sound of all – the sound of the soul.” -Tijn Touber
Today sees the launch of this new website to support our Meditation Group, Insight North East. Insight North-East is a group based in Whitley Bay, set up to create a supportive environment in which members can practice mindfulness and develop insight. Our aim is to support each other in the practice and understanding of the teachings of the Buddha, and we have established a friendly, supportive community. The group practises insight meditation (also known as vipassana meditation) as taught in the Theravadan Buddhist tradition and we welcome anyone who has made a commitment to regular meditation practice.
You do not have to be a Buddhist to join our group. Insight North East is a non-dogmatic, secular group in which the ambience that we develop when we come together helps us to grow and maintain our practice, bringing the Eightfold Path into our day-to-day lives and keeping us going when difficulties arise. Much of our learning happens not in the solitude of our meditative practice, but in the relationships we form with each other.