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2-Day Retreat: Loving the Thinking Mind

20-21 April 2024

Come practice at the Cliff House in Cuckmere. 

Daniel and Alistair have the great good fortune to live in a historic Coastguards Cottage in the Sussex landmark of Cuckmere Haven. Sitting in the presence of the famous Seven Sisters cliff it is a unique and potent place to practice meditation. 

It's a small venue so we are limited the places to 15. And there is no on-site accommodation so you will need to book a night in one of the many lovely B'n'Bs or hotels in the area. (There are lots to chose from). 

These retreat are quite intimate and friendly in tone; and spontaneous and flexible in content. We tend to focus on relaxing and grounding on the first day and deepen our investigation on the Sunday. Details of the specific retreat below.  

Thoughts can harm. Thoughts can heal. You choose!

Thoughts get a bad rap in meditation circles. But this weekend is aimed to make you love them again.

 

Without thoughts (or 'mental formations' to use the jargon) there would be no meditation. No poetry, no philosophy, no Buddhism. I would argue, indeed, that is mental formations and language that allow us to love one another.


But, of course, some kinds of thinking do us untold harm. Negative core thoughts, half-conscious anxiety, worry, self-criticism. 


This weekend will spend Saturday looking at the very experience of thoughts (what fun!) and Sunday unpacking how we can make sure they are lifting us towards enlightenment and not dragging us down to sorrow.

About Cuckmere Haven

The striking cliffs of the Seven Sisters and the famous snake-like meanders of the Cuckmere river make the natural reserve of Cuckmere Haven a world-famous tourist attraction. But what many of the day-trippers from around the world discover when walking here is a place of enormous natural diversity, striking energy and subtle magic. 

The walk down to the beach is an almost perfect example of chalk downland with the accompanying array of butterflies, rabbits and wild flowers that make this landscape unique in the country.  And the meeting of the river and the sea at the Haven beach is a potent spot energetically. 

Our house is one of the four coastguard cottages, which date back 200 years. Originally built to keep guard against smugglers the cottages have had a fascinating history through the two world wars and are now featured in countless pieces of art and photography. 

Alistair will be leading this retreat supported by Daniel. 


Rough Timetable: 

On Saturday 20th  we can start to gather at the cottage at 9am for tea/coffee and breakfast nibbles.  

Then we will practice from 10am until 1.30pm 

A delicious vegetarian lunch will be served at 1.30-2.30 

And then we will practice again until 6pm 

Daniel will serve a lovely soup and bread supper  

7.30 we will sit by the sea and share our experience and practice once more.  

Participants head home at 8.30 pm. 


Sunday 21st 

Gathering at the cottage for a dawn sit at 6am. 

Breakfast at 7.30.  

Practice from 9am till lunch at 1.30 (with tea break) 

1.30-2.30 Lunch 

2.30 until 4: Final practice and gathering of merit. 

Team and schedule

Food, Accommodation and Pricing

Unusually for Mindsprings this is NOT a residential retreat - our home is too small!  So, you will need to find a place to sleep on the Saturday night. Luckily this is Sussex and so there are innumerable lovely hotels and BnBs to be found across the Cuckmere area. The villages of Jevington, East Dean and Alfriston are all excellent locations. (Why not stay a few extra days!) But you might like to find somewhere in nearby Seaford as well. 

Daniel will be cooking and looking after us during the weekend. He cooks excellent and tasty vegetarian food. And we will have teas and coffees and snacks to tide us over between meals. We can cater for allergies but not for individual preferences. So if you have a food allergy please let us know in your booking form. Note: because we will be using our own kitchen to cook, we cannot guarantee it will be nut-free if you have a strong allergy to nuts. 

We are charging a flat rate of £250 for this weekend. As usual, if you have a strong desire to come but can't stretch to that financially then please let us know in an email. We never want money to get in the way of meditating. 

But please note we can only host 15 people on the cliff so we apologise in advance if you cannot get a place this time round. 

About the teacher

Alistair is a broadcaster, psychotherapist and meditation teacher.

He's worked for the BBC for more than 20 years and works as a UKCP-accredited therapist in East Sussex. Since 2004, he's run Mindsprings, his therapeutic meditation organisation which teaches body-based and Buddhist solutions to many of our everyday problems.

Mindsprings offers popular meditation-based courses on many subjects:

- helping people with anxiety, dissociation, stress.
- working with mental health in the LGBTQ community.
- exploring the growing field of embodiment and somatic practices.
- teaching Buddhist practices for mental health and well-being

Alistair teaches in England, Wales, Scotland, Belgium, Ireland, Sweden, Iceland and the Netherlands.

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Don't let money stop you coming on retreat...

 

Mindsprings would like people to practice even if they are struggling financially, for whatever reason. We offer a limited number of partial bursaries for these retreats. 

Getting to the Cottages

We live on a reserve without motorised traffic so to reach the cottages requires a pleasant  mile-long walk down a track through the chalky downlands. If you have mobility issues then please let us know and we can organise a lift from the car park. 

Full details of how to get to the cottage will be sent out with your booking. 

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