Mindfulness and ImaginationOn Sat, 5 August, 2023 - 15:15
“If the doors of perception were cleansed, we would see the world as it really is – infinite.” William Blake
This week we’re opening portals to awareness and the wonders that can arise when we really start to pay attention to everything that’s going on in the world around us. What would it be like to experience yourself without restrictive concepts? What dimensions might open up in your life as you engage with myths and symbols? Awareness, or mindfulness, is an essential foundation for all spiritual growth. And through knowing experience directly we can transform difficulties and become happier, calmer and more fulfilled. But awareness offers much more: it also provides a doorway to other dimensions in the large chamber of our being. Awareness of the body, heart and mind can blossom into awareness of boundlessness, love and mystery, as Buddhist teachers have taught down the millennia.
Imagination is a key to this opening. When our minds are clear and we’re alive to what’s within us and around us, our imaginations wake up to new possibilities. Kusaladevi joins Vidyamala and Vishvapani in a conversation exploring the theme of their upcoming Home Retreat, Entering the Mandala: Mindfulness and Imagination.
Imagine an enormous subterranean chamber all lit up from within. We are living in a tiny chamber next to – indeed, part of – the larger one. We can see nothing at all of what’s going on in the large chamber. In fact, we have no idea that the large chamber is even there.
This Home Retreat is an opportunity to live for a week with mindfulness, kindness, poetry and creativity, even in the midst of our daily lives. An exploration of mindfulness and imagination through talks, meditation, creative activities, discussion and shared ritual, particularly focused on the richly evocative symbol of the mandala. Come join us in the vastness of the present moment!
—And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.
Vidyamala was ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order in 1995 and is co-founder of Breathworks, a leading mindfulness organisation and she focuses particularly on using awareness and kindness training to work with pain and illness. This draws on her own experience of managing spinal pain and disability. She is an award-winning author of three books and was awarded an OBE in 2022 for her services to pain management and well-being. She regularly leads retreats and workshops, and speaks at international summits, events and webinars.
Vidyamala has long had an interest in the creative mind and heart and how to access this through myth, ritual and non-conceptual approaches and looks forward to deepening this even more on this online retreat.
Vishvapani has practised meditation and Buddhism for over 40 years. He’s a writer, best known for Gautama Buddha: the Life and Teachings of the Awakened One and as the Buddhist contributor to Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4. He’s a prominent figure in the UK’s mindfulness world and has taught over 150 mindfulness courses.
He loves to explore poetry, myth and imagination, along with Buddhism, in his writing, teaching and practice.
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