SAT CHIT ANAND
- NOVEMBER 2010 NEWSLETTER -
END OF YEAR REVIEW
Last week I saved 6 baby guinea fowl chicks. They got stuck inside our neighbour's courtyard, where they had jumped down, but couldn't jump high enough to get out again. Their incessant crying alerted me to their predicament. Under the watchful eye of their parents, I tried to catch them, but they were scared of me and ran away - and they can run very fast. So I put a plank against the courtyard wall to act as a ramp, but they didnt understand how to use this. Finally, I fetched some bricks and built a small guinea fowl staircase. The brightest little chick saw the staircase and immediately hopped up and up and out. His/her brothers and sisters quickly followed suite, all hopping up and out. It was so sweet to see these little chicks finding their way to freedom. I was about to leave, but there was still a crying noise. One of the chicks was still stuck. She was hiding under a patch of vegetation in the courtyard, too scared to come out. I tried to extract her, but the plants had long spicky thorns! Eventually I prodded her out with a stick, and herded her up the staircase. My heart was so joyful to see this little one rejoin her family. It gives one great joy to help other sentient beings, and I am very blessed to be in such a fortunate position to try and do this, running a Retreat Centre. Here follows this year's review of our activities:
We hosted 3 one-week Mindfulness Meditation Retreats this year. Next year, we have another 3 or 4 lined up, depending on demand. Our retreats follow the "middle path" - they are not too strict and not too loose. We have a formal schedule which is strictly adhered to, but there is also space for relaxing and experiencing the healing powers of the beautiful nature that surrounds us. We are so lucky to have beautiful beaches, lagoons, forests and mountains all on our doorstep. For more details of our Mindfulness Retreats, see http://www.satchitanand.co.za/mindfulnesscentre.htm
We also have people coming here on self-retreat, where they structure their own programme according to their needs. These informal retreats are an opportunity to come back to yourself. We loose touch with ourselves; we loose ourselves in so many ways. It is necessary to take time out to re-connect. One guest commented recently: "I can't thank you enough - I have found myself again."
On self-retreats, we offer private meditation instruction, as well as spiritual and lifestyle counseling to help you live in a more balanced and wholesome way. When meditation and lifestyle are complimentary, this has a very postive and healthy effect on one's state of well-being.
Guests usually treat themselves (the "treat" part of re-treat) to some pampering, nurturing and therapeutic treatments in our Healing Centre. Our Healing Centre offers various types of massage (aromatherapy, hot stone, stress relief, lymph drainage), shiatsu, accupressure, reflexology, rolfing, craniosacral therapy and organic facials. We welcome a new therapist, Brenda, and invite you to try out her body salt scrubs and remineralising seaweed wraps to cleanse and detox. A big thank you to all our therapists, and especially to Veronica who really goes the extra mile with her loving care :-)
In association with EXPLORING CONSCIOUSNESS we screen thought-provoking films featuring humanity's spiritual search from the ancient wisdom traditions to the latest interfaith scientific investigations, on the last Thursday of the month. A big thank you to Erika who screens in Cape Town at the Labia Theatre and afterwards supplies the films to us. Our movie nights have been a great success, with up to 60 people coming for our most popular movie this year "The Living Matrix". Everybody enjoys tea and cake and connecting with friends afterwards.
This year we listened to a wonderful teaching series by well-known American meditation teacher, Joseph Goldstein, called "Abiding in Mindfulness". Based on the Satipattana Sutra - one of the Buddha's primary teachings on Mindfulness, and regarded as "the direct path for the purification of beings, for the surmounting of sorrow and lamentation, for the disappearance of suffering and discontent, for acquiring the true method, for the realisation of Nirvana." Joseph explained the techniques and subtleties of applying correct mindfulness to the Four Foundations of Mindfulness: (1) the body, (2) feelings, (3) mind and (4) objects of mind, giving stories and examples from his own vast meditation experience and from leading retreats.
When the Plett Yoga Studio closed down mid last year, those of us who had been doing yoga for the last 6 years or so, wished to continue our weekly practice, so we relocated to our Meditation Hall. Our weekly yoga classes have been well attended by a small group of regular yogis. Yoga and meditation are natural partners and compliment each other beautifully. Due to the influence of Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn we started including yoga on all our retreats and this works very well.
Our 3 cottages are as lovely as ever. Most people are very pleasantly surprised at how luxury our accommodation is for a Retreat Centre. This is because we also cater for upmarket holiday accommodation in one of SA's premier beach resorts. Each of our cottages has its own character: Mandala garden flat is the largest and ideal for couples, having a double bed. Lotus cottage is "the honeymoon suite" romantically tucked away behind tall trees. Due to the demand for single rooms on retreat, we renovated Bodhi cottage so that it now has 2 single rooms, with shared lounge/dining area, kitchen and bathroom.
Our latest very exciting project is underway and nearing completion: an Interfaith Meditation Chapel. We will give more details of this - its background, how and why it came about, the vision for the future etc, plus some photographs - in our next newsletter.
Movie night - thank you for your support
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