Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Shambhala Retreat at Fynbos

by Jennifer Writty,
Shambhala Centre Director

Our annual meditation retreat this year was directed by one of Shambhala's most accomplished teachers, Acharya (senior teacher) Gaylon Ferguson, during a brief visit from his home in Boulder, Colorado. There were sixteen of us, altogether .We meditated, contemplated, discussed and received dharma talks and instruction for nine days—each day punctuated by one of Johan's extraordinary lunches (we took care of breakfasts and suppers ourselves).There's nothing like extended practice of this kind to deepen one's training. Being able to sit with a group of fellow practitioners also creates a synergy that supports further precision and gentleness. 

Fynbos is hands down our favourite venue for these meditation retreats. This is the fourth one we've conducted there since 2008, and each time our experience has been progressively richer and more magical. We practised out on the pavilion—the two-tier deck where we could roll the vinyl walls up or down to accord with weather conditions. There were unusually strong and persistent winds this time, however, leading us to think that perhaps we'll conduct our next retreat in the chapel. We're reluctant to give up the spaciousness and gorgeous views of the pavilion, but also look forward to the crisp, gracious atmosphere of containment in the more protected chapel environment. Ultimately, it's wonderful to have such choices! 

Either way, the overall environment at Fynbos is ideal for meditation. Johan and Diana fit in so smoothly that ....even when engrossed in the myriad tasks associated with keeping a farm functioning and a programme well supported, they were always entirely attuned to the gradual deepening of spaciousness and stillness that inevitably takes place over the course of a good retreat. 

We feel incredibly fortunate to have found this home—and I use the word deliberately—for our residential meditation programmes. Fynbos has our unqualified recommendation as the best possible venue for workshops, courses, programmes, teachings, trainings, and any other event requiring a spacious and beautiful environment complemented by competent, respectful and insightful support.

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