20-27 July 2024
Find the way back to a joyful mind on Holy Isle
Make Beingfulness practice your new go-to for happiness
Alistair has been teaching on Holy Island off the coast of Arran in Scotland for 20 years this summer. And to celebrate Mindsprings is holding a sort of celebration of meditation and the Island together.
For our Summer retreat we are exploring Alistair's foundational practice Beingfulness (see below for more details of what this is) with a strong emphasis on practising outside in amongst the beauties of this unique Scottish holy place.
This retreat is ideal for beginners or folk who want to refresh their practice. We'll be mixing some instruction in the Peace Hall with practices sessions in the bountiful gardens around the centre, down by the waters edge or in amidst the wild ponies and sheep that wander the Isle.
With the emphasis on reconnecting to joy in our bodies, senses, emotions and minds, this is a unique chance to practice in a magical spot with wonderful, friendly folk.
What is Beingfulness?
Beingfulness is Alistair's foundational meditation practice which draws on his therapeutic and Buddhist background to create a simple, memorable practice that can clarify what's going on in your whole Being.
Over the course of the week, we'll be looking at the 10 Beings that constitute the practice with main focus on the practices of the Four Fields and the Fifth Field.
Beingfulness gives us a whole toolbox of practices to key into:
awareness and how to work with it
steadying and enjoying an anchored awareness
being with the body
sitting with emotions
opening and refreshing the senses
enjoying our thinking minds
seeing our hidden stances to existence
resting in a kaleidoscopic sense of open awareness
You can learn and practice Beingfulness online but many participants have found learning on the Island to be a unique and heart-expanding experience..
About Holy Isle
Holy Island is a stunning granite outcrop in Lamlash Bay off the isle of Arran in West Scotland. It's been a holy site since the times of Celtic Christianity when St. Molaise lived in a cave here. In the last few decades, it's been a place of Buddhist-inspired contemplation under the auspices of Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche. But the World Centre for Peace and Health where this course takes place is open to all faiths or none. It's a uniquely nurturing place for practice and draws people from all over the world.
You can watch an aerial tour of the island here.
What to expect from a Mindsprings Retreat
Our first evening together on Saturday 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 Sunday-Friday is fairly similar
We start with some gentle stretching and a silent sit before breakfast. This is a great way to start the day.
Before our delicious breakfast, Alistair will lead us in some t'ai chi on the beachfront which is optional. But does involve hugs - which everyone seems to love.
Throughout the week the schedule will vary as we explore the Beingfulness practice
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!
We often explore silence on the Island and one full day of silence somewhere in the middle. It's a very friendly silence and, again, many people love this element of the retreat.
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.
Alistair will be leading this retreat supported by Kirsty.
We will begin each day with some gentle embodiment practices and practice together communally in the Peace Hall and out in the open air (weather permitting).
On Saturday 20th at 7.30 pm, we have a welcoming circle after soup and the beginning session of the retreat ending around 9pm.
Then from Sunday to Friday:
7am- 8am: Early morning yoga + silent sit
8am-9am: Breakfast break
9am: Community Work
10am - 1pm Beingfulness practice
1pm - 2pm Lunch
2pm - 5pm Free time
5pm-6pm Beingfulness pratice
6pm -7.30pm Supper time
7.30pm-8.30pm: Group practice
We will wrap up on the Friday evening, ready to depart on Saturday 27th in the morning.
Team and schedule
Food, Accommodation and Pricing
One of the greatest joys of Holy Isle is the fantastic food harvested directly from the biodynamic and organic gardens that surround the centre. The resident kitchen team will be providing delicious vegetarian food throughout. There will be breakfast, lunch and supper and tea and snacks available throughout the day. Vegan and wheat-free diets are also catered for.
The cost of the retreat is £310 per person and then you will need to book your accommodation through the Holy Island office separately. They have single rooms, a couple of double rooms and male and female dorms. The dorms (and the doubles) have sea views! You will have to book the retreat AND then your room separately!
Please note that Holy Island is not taking accommodation bookings until the beginning of 2023.
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 Holy Isle
Reaching Holy Island is part of the experience of going on retreat there. It is a pilgrimage.
Details can be found on the Holy Island site here. But in essence, you need to get to Lamlash pier by lunchtime on the arrival day. Ideally, you might want to come to Arran a day early to give yourself some time. Zangpo, the Island's director, has asked that guests don't try to get over to Holy Isle before the start date though.
The little ferry from Lamlash to the Island is very weather sensitive so it's a good idea to speak to the Island closer to the retreat. Also you will need to book your ticket with Grant at this site.
Please don't book homeward travel too early on the last day. Leave yourself time in case there are delays getting off because of weather. Giving yourself some breathing space makes the whole experience less stressful.
A little bit of planning and double-checking never goes amiss!
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.