We’ve just hosted a three week silent retreat at Poulstone from mid-November onwards, with meditation teacher Burgs (see www.theartofmeditation.org). Some of Burgs’ more experienced students came for a seven day silent Vipassana retreat followed by 9 days of continued silent practice with some teacher input. The final week was a foundation retreat for beginners upwards. And we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to sit in on the retreat too.
It’s obviously not all bliss looking at the (mainly unwholesome) contents of one’s mind over a prolonged period (!) but everyone felt they benefited hugely from the retreat.
Particularly over the Vipassana period, there’s been a lovely still atmosphere in the house, very conducive to practice and rest. We’ve also been treated to some extraordinary sunrises (see above and below)…..
We also have had gales and flooding too. The Wye burst its banks at the end of November, transforming the landscape. Unlike some areas of the country, we were very lucky that the floods were only a minor inconvenience here. In fact, it was rather wonderful not to have to go anywhere or worry about people getting here/being able to leave! The winds, unfortunately, had their way with the half-constructed greenhouse which we had to take down completely in a high wind! We’ll try again in the Spring….
This wasn’t the only thing to test our equanimity after the retreat – the rabbits and squirrels had discovered a rich source of food while we were on retreat – our newly planted Spring bulbs! We think the flood waters may have driven a lot of the wildlife from the fields into the Poulstone gardens. Ah well, we were rather disappointed to say the least but we hope some will survive to brighten the Spring months. The wildlife is part of what makes living and working here so wonderful, so we have to accept these occasional conflicts of interest….!
Anyway, we are back now into the end of year activities – finishing up the admin, washing valances and undercovers, putting the garden to bed for the winter (Gail has been doing lots of raking and cutting back over the last couple of weeks). It’s nice to be working quietly at our own pace and it feels very peaceful here as we enter the darkest part of the year…..
Anyway, we hope you’re enjoying your approach to the festivities x
Mel & Steve
Poulstone Court Retreat Centre