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Autumn Retreat
at Gayles

20-25 September 2023

Brighten your life with Beingfulness

Enjoy your mind afresh.

Join Alistair for four days in the beautiful South Downs countryside, a short walk from the Seven Sisters and Cuckmere Haven, at the wonderful Gayles Retreat Centre

Relax and refresh with delicious food, friendly people and inspiring nature. 

We will be exploring Alistair's embodied meditation practice, Beingfulness. A comprehensive way to deepen and enjoy your experience of the world and yourself. It's a beautiful and profound practice - something precious to take with you when you leave the retreat. And it's suitable for beginners and more seasoned meditators. 

Gayles is an intimate but comfortable venue, with space for seventeen participants. There's a variety of accommodation. And lots of Derry's mouth-watering vegan/vegetarian food to keep you nourished. 

What is Beingfulness?

  • Beingfulness is a form of meditation that helps us enjoy life more.  

  • It's a simple step-by-step process.

  • First, we learn to recognise when we are aware

  • Then we master moving awareness from object to object

  • The next step is to anchor awareness on restful objects like the breath or sounds. 

  • Then we sift all the various phenomena of our here-and-now into four fields: body, emotions, senses and thoughts.  

  • In various exercises, we deepen our enjoyment and curiosity about these phenomena 

  • Next, we explore the 'fifth field' of our unexamined preferences

  • And finally, we relax into a wide-open enjoyment of the kaleidoscopic display of the human mind.

  • The practice allows us to be full of being, not just full of thinking! 

What to expect from a Mindsprings Retreat

  • Our first evening together on Wednesday is a chance to arrive, enjoy some food and get to know one another. Most people are tired from travel and we'll have an early night after some relaxation. 

  • The daily schedule for the Thursday-Sunday is fairly similar

  • We start with some gentle stretching and a silent sit before breakfast. This is a great way to start the day. 

  • After Derry's delicious breakfast, Alistair will lead us in exploring the Beingfulness practice through the morning with breaks for tea.

  • After lunch, the afternoon is a period for rest or walking or taking the practices out into the natural world

  • We will meet for discussion of the practice and a short period of meditation before supper. 

  • After supper, there is a further chance to practice together and integrate what we have learned during the day. 

  • Generally, it's light's out and silence after 9.30pm - so early nights, though you could go for a moonlight walk!

  • This is not a silent retreat - but we do wish to offer a safe and supportive space. So please respect other people's privacy and personal space if they want to make it more silent. 

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.


Food, Accommodation and Pricing

Derry who, along with Roz, runs the Gayles retreat centre is also a wonderful cook and he will be providing delicious vegetarian food throughout. Much of it grown on the centre's own allotment. There will be breakfast, lunch and supper and tea and snacks available throughout the day. Vegan and wheat-free diets are also catered for.

There are a number of options for accommodation: 

  • 8 places in the spacious, comfortable female dormitory

  • 4 places in the smaller male dormitory

The price of the retreat including the teaching, food and 4-nights's accommodation ranges from £400 - £690. You can reserve your accommodation when booking. 

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 Gayles

Gayles is situated off the A259, mid-way between Eastbourne and Seaford and just a mile from the picturesque village of East Dean. Being an hour and a half from central London and just over half an hour from Brighton, whether driving or taking public transport, it is easy to find and access is excellent.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • My login doesn't work anymore. Can you help?
    This new site needs a one-time signup. If you have a email/password combo from the Mindsprings School (Beingfulness, Anxiety courses etc.) then I suggest using the same one. But you will need to sign up one time only to access the site (use those same details if you like) and then you'll be able to access everything with that login the next time you visit!
  • Where have my online courses gone?
    All the online self-study courses are still on the Mindsprings School. You can access this under Courses > Self Study on the navigation bar. I'm trying to find a way to synchronise the school with the new site - but everything is safe and sound there for your perusal.
  • When are the live online classes starting again?
    I'm starting to teach online three times a week from the 20th October 2022. You can find out more and book your classes here.
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