The spirit of Amitavati.
Amitavati could be said to be in permanent ‘retreat mode’ where a pattern of activities takes place and visitors can come and go, join in or do their own thing. There might be four or five people living here at any one time. One of these could be undertaking a solitary retreat for which facilities will be available shortly. From time to time however, groups of up to 14 are organised (see programme) and retreats are run along more specific lines:
What is Buddhist Meditation?
There are many different Buddhist meditations, and each one has its own unique focus. Broadly speaking, Buddhist Meditation is an opportunity to relax and lay aside your concerns so that you can allow your mind to see more deeply into the nature of your own mind, the nature of ‘self’ – into the nature of reality. Some people think that Buddhist Meditation is about ‘blanking the mind’ or developing some sort of ‘laser-like’ concentration – but this is far from the case.
People who practice Buddhist Meditation often find they feel calmer, more grounded, and more alive. With regular Meditation these qualities can begin to influence the rest of one’s daily life, so that a new sense of abundance emerges and we feel better about our selves and are better able to cope with life’s ups and down’s, more able, little by little, to relate to ourselves, and life, as it actually is, rather than as we imagine it to be.
Meditation has been shown to have many medical and psychological benefits, such as promoting a sense of wellbeing, enhancing the immune system, lowering blood pressure and reducing stress. For example, see an article on the BBC website.
A meditation retreat at Amitavati
will be led by experienced meditation teachers, addressing different levels of experience of Buddhist meditations – from beginners to those with many years experience.
At the beginning of all retreats we offer an in depth practical introduction to the meditation practices, including group discussion. There is also time to get to know the team and other retreatants.
Most of the remainder of the retreat is a period of silent practice. Participants are also encouraged to take advantage of the one-to-one practice reviews with experienced team members.
Formal practice time – including sitting and walking meditation – varies from retreat to retreat. There are usually a few optional evening rituals and puja.
We live as a community during a retreat, and the basic household chores are usually shared by us all – washing-up, preparing vegetables for the cook etc., perhaps spending 1-1&1/2 hrs a day in this way – which enhances the nourishing experience of community-living and helps us ground our meditation experience. There is also free time each day to enjoy the beauty of the pine-covered & olive-tree terraced hills.
The accommodation is mainly in shared bedrooms (either 2 to 4 people per room). There are 2 single bedrooms, and we offer a camping option.
Some basic Buddhist Meditation practices:
Mindfulness of Breathing Meditation.
The mindfulness of breathing is a traditional Buddhist Meditation practice that enables us to dwell in the present moment. It is a simple method that anyone who wants to reduce their mental clutter, or feel more spacious can learn. In this meditation you learn to sit in a calm and comfortable position and then relax into the sensations of the body, gradually allowing your mind to dwell upon the experience of the breath. As you relax more and more into the meditation, distractions gradually fall away, like snow flakes falling to the ground. An inner stillness emerges and we become naturally aware of the present moment and the richness of life.
Metta Bhavana Meditation.
The Metta Bhavana or ‘Meditation on Loving-Kindness’ is another traditional Buddhist Meditation practice. This method enables you to develop a greater emotional awareness, flexibility and openness. In the meditation practice you sit quietly and relaxed in your body. Then you proceed through a series of reflections exploring different emotions such as appreciation, empathy, and kindness. Metta means kindness and it is a basic human quality – it is an open heart and mind to our selves and to others. As the Meditation progresses we can begin to feel happier and more fulfilled in ourselves and can empathise more deeply with the joys and sufferings of all living beings.
Just Sitting Meditation.
Just Sitting is another Buddhist Meditation practice which encourages a pure and open awareness of the content of ones experience. The meditation can be done in different ways, but in essence we learn to ‘just sit’ and notice whatever is happening within our consciousness, without rejecting or discriminating anything. When explored deeply, this meditation reveals the inherent qualities of the mind itself, which is clear and open and beyond thoughts. For more information about Buddhist Meditation see the Triratna Buddhist Community website.
Retreats exploring, deepening and celebrating our relationship with nature and ourselves, using the ancient practise of ‘shamanic journeying’, rituals with the elements: earth, water, fire and air, and some traditional Buddhist meditation practices.
Usually 10.30 – 5.00 either at Amitavati or at the river in Valencia. A programme of about 3 hours drumming workshop each day – African djembe playing, with percussion. There is free time in which you can do what you want: go for walks, swims, relax. No need to bring drums as we have plenty. Please bring food to share. We may be able to arrange a lift for you but there is a bus from Valencia to Villar-del-Arzobispo. You can bring children if they can play amongdt themselves and you provide food. If they want to take part in the drumming there is a charge of 15 (or 10) euros per child.
Please make reservations with Vidyasri or Suratna:
Tel: 96 2134428 or 659401036 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Painting and sculpture workshops
A programme of optional morning and evening meditations, with periods of painting in different mediums, such as oil, water-colour and acrylics led by experienced and professional artists; and sculpting in stone and wood. For both beginners and those with experience. Also free time to do as you wish – enjoy walks, swims, relaxation.
Light clothes in the summer and both light and warm clothes in the winter when the days can be warm and the nights very cold. So bring thick socks, gloves and woolly hat; even a hot water bottle. Bring a towel and slippers for use in the house and strong boots for walking. Sun protection cream should be used all year. If on a working retreat bring old clothes too. Bring a torch for hill walking at night. The electrical sockets are 2-round pin with a 230v supply. Although it is possible to recharge electrical equipment in the main house the advice is not to bring laptops and after mobile phones are used for essential communication on arrival they should be switched off on arrival.