About the Retreat: At times it can be easy to lose touch with the importance of nature when so many of our retreats and much of our meditation can happen indoors. The realisations that lead to the Buddha's awakening all happened while he meditated and lived outdoors, close to and under the bodhi tree. Once he started sharing and guiding others, he would encourage his followers to do the same. After a talk he might say, "There are trees and the roots of trees. Go there to the roots of a tree and establish yourself in awareness".
Deep rest in nature allows us to come out of the mind, into the heart and in tune with our senses. Not only is it rejuvenating and healing, but it's also transformative. By giving up the effort to meditate 'properly' or to be a good meditator, we can open to life and allow natural ease to slowly soak into our being.
Being in Nature - Read the Research
We all know that lying under a shady tree or sitting on the bank of a free flowing mountain stream feels good. Walking around a lake settles us and feeling into the calm of the evening sunset while sitting on the verandah of a country house has a calming effect on our whole being.
No one needs to tell us those things, mostly it's a matter of reminding us. But sometimes our rational mind sometimes needs the cold hard facts. If that's the case, here's a very small section of the research being down on the affects of being in nature .....
This is an Insight Meditation retreat where we will offer teachings in the service of meditative ease and grace. Along with encouraging mindful and loving presence, we will do so with a curiosity about "What are your habits of awareness?" and in line with Buddhist teachings, what else might you include to broaden and claim other aspects of your being?
There will be meditation instructions and guided meditations, Dharma talks and inquiry, question and answer sessions and also opportunities for personal interviews if you wish. Along with sitting and walking meditation, we encourage you to experiment with meditation, and at times try lying down for meditation. Deep rest turns out to be surprisingly and delightfully, undemanding and rewarding. As the mind and body become deeply rested, a natural meditative awareness emerges where awareness becomes bright and clear. Each day will include at least one yoga and possibly other movement sessions.
We emphasise the importance of tuning in closely to your unique path, of falling in love with your own awakening, including all its joys and challenges. Along with our own awakening, we encourage an awareness of connections with others and rather than looking for short lived meditative spiritual highs, we cultivate long-term friendships. We also continually experiment with different formats for teachings and retreats with the aim of bringing love and wisdom into life.
Friendship is the foundation of the spiritual path and on this retreat we'll take some time to explore what this may mean for you. Freeing up old habits of connection can allow us to offer deep support, encouragement and wisdom beyond words. Some aspects of this are
Loving Presence: Looking for the good in others while holding a kind and present-centred state of being while relating. If someone has a large or small energy we can learn skills to be with that in ways that don't dominate or surrender our will.
Bringing forward our capacity for bright, clear awareness. Cultivating a continuity of awareness is central to the path of Buddhist practice.
Noticing and exploring our internal world and the influence it is having on how we engage. Without knowing it, we may have some habits that sabotage our good intentions and aspirations. With a light curiosity we can start to know and change these and give our meditation a much more solid basis to be a support for our well-being.
Developing our capacity for being truly present for others by recognising and responding with skill, care and humour. When we look for the good in others, we start to see that everyone wants to be happy. It can be a great joy to let go our ideas of how this might happen.
Who is this retreat suitable for?
This retreat is suitable for beginners and experienced meditators. We have found these teachings to be invaluable in our lives and have committed to sharing them with others, regardless of religion, background or faith. In line with the wisdom teachings, you are invited to listen and then try them out for yourself and see. We only ask that you bring a commitment to openness and whole heartedness.
Noble Silence is the doorway to receptive presence and aligns ourselves with our true nature. This retreat will be held with periods of noble silence as well as times of Q&A, inquiry and social time. Meditation teachings and instructions will come from traditional and contemporary Insight Meditation Buddhist practices.
Camp Eureka is the perfect venue for a retreat. The meditation space, see photo below, has a wide roof to protect us from the sun, but the walls are open so we can feel the delight of the wind on our skin and hear the sounds of the bush. Tea trees line the western side of this space protecting us from the afternoon summer sun. The huts are simple, but have comfortable mattresses enabling a good nights sleep. The camping area is grassed and level. The Little Yarra river runs through the edge of the property so bring your swimmers.... it's only knee deep but perfect in summer to cool off.
Please note all accommodation is shared in this retreat. If you need your own space then check out accommodation option 2, below.
There are 2 options for this retreat.
Accomodation Option 1 - Share Hut
Stay in one of the share huts. The huts are delightfully simple and have very comfortable mattresses. If tents are a step too far, then this is for you. You'll need to bring your own pillow and bedding. Bed in a Hut Sharing with others: $620 +Dana for the teachingsBook a bed in a shared room now - Rooms are same gender sharing only
Food will be vegetarian with vegan, gluten & dairy free options provided. On the booking page there is a section to make your preference known. Allergies may and other special needs diets can often be supported depending on your needs so send us an email before booking and we can work out how to support you.
What to bring
If camping, your tent and mattress.
All of your bedding, Camp Eureka only provides a mattress.
- Sheets, Pillows, blankets
Meditation cushions and yoga mat.
Shawl and blanket as the evenings can be cool
A hat and sunscreen
A torch and fresh batteries
Hammock or other relaxation chair (optional)
Musical instruments, other creative activities
Anything else you might normally take camping
Dana is a Pali word (the language used at the time The Buddha lived) which means the practice of generosity, or offering. Dana is a completely different way of relating to what is offered. Rather than a commercial transaction, Dana expresses the love and appreciation for what has been received. The daily rate you pay for the retreat covers food costs, Airfares and travel costs, basic bills, organisational costs, printing and any other set-up costs for the retreat. Nobody receives any kind of salary. The Dana boxes that are put out at the end of each retreat support the teachers and the tradition itself. Dana is not tips, it is not a token gesture, it is the vital resource that allows these retreats and tradition to continue.
This is a living tradition that is thousands of years old and we are now the holders of this tradition. The generosity of countless people over the centuries has brought us to this point now where we can offer this retreat on the basis of Dana. In other words, when you come to our retreats you are being nourished by the generosity of people who came before you. Your financial generosity now is the resource that enables us to continue to offer retreats in the future so other people may also benefit and keep the tradition alive.
Giving of service ~ Insight meditation retreats are fully run by volunteers, no one gets paid for the work they do. In this way we are able to keep the costs down. Therefore In the same spirit we ask that everyone who comes to our retreats contributes one hour of their time each day towards the running of the retreat. This may be anything from washing up, veggie chopping, cleaning or something else connected with running the retreat. We thank you in advance.
The retreats we run are not for profit and we rely totally on the good-will of organisers and volunteers to make a retreat like this happen. If you would like to assist in any way, please send us an email and let us know how you might be able to help. Specifically we are looking for assistance with
- Help in the kitchen during the retreat
- Lifts to Camp Eureka for people without cars and to keep the sharing culture alive