You are your attention. You become what you focus your attention on.
We habitually direct our attention to the world around us, as well as emotions and thoughts, which we often do not control at all. Thus, we lose ourselves in this world – often quite literally, since we feel as if we were out to lunch, as if we did not have strength or choice, as if we were not in control of our lives.
Many spiritual teachers and masters today talk about the importance of being present in the Now, but it’s rarely said that one can be present at different levels. As attention we can reflect seven levels of Being.
There is a great divide between the depth and intensity of presence of a beginner and a realized master: when a master is present in the here and now, his ‘here’ is the whole of Being, his ‘now’ is beyond time, and his presence is natural and effortless.
The approach to meditation which will be taught during this retreat provides a detailed explanation of this difference in levels, its origins and what it takes to take the whole journey from the slight awareness of a person whose presence is limited by the confines of the room and local time to the limitless presence of an enlightened master.
This is a method our teacher, a realized master, developed specifically for modern people who have jobs and children and do not have three years for a retreat.
To descend from the head to the heart.
We shall start the retreat in two groups (for beginners and those who have been practicing for a long time) and will merge them later for deeper practice.
On day one, beginners will explore basic mindfulness meditation methods such as switching attention directly to non-mind, the ever-present wakefulness we have been taught to disregard from childhood; making the state of presence stable by returning attention to both subtle and physical bodies.
For the remaining days, we shall focus on advanced practices of descending from heads to spiritual hearts.
Our awakening starts in the heart. Our awakening starts when our spiritual heart is awakened. If a heart is closed, we can experience awakening as a peak experience, but it will not become our natural state.
It is in the heart that a Human meets the Being, and a Human Being is born. If we know ourselves only as a human, mortal part, we are not whole. We are separated and we suffer. If we strive to discover ourselves only as spirit or pure consciousness, we will not be whole either, since we shall lop off a huge and beautiful part of creation related to the world of matter and nature. It is only in the heart that we start to discover ourselves as a whole – a Human melts and dissolves in the Being, while Being permeates and heals the Human.
The language of the heart is the language of unconditional love. There is place in our hearts for everything excluded by our minds: everything that was hidden, unwell or repressed can be healed in our spiritual hearts. There is no division inside the heart: an open heart accepts the whole world and the border between Self and the world starts growing thinner gradually.
Our hearts always know the truth. Our hearts help us keep a grip on ourselves when the world around starts crumbling. Our hearts are the source of genuine wisdom and intuition. Only when we are in our hearts, we live in harmony with the world around us and everything comes easy. It is in the heart that absolute bodhicitta is born.
People often ask me what to do in order to extend the state of presence after a long retreat or practice. How do we prevent the mind from reclaiming control? The answer is simple. Rooting in the spiritual heart is required.
How do we discover ourselves as hearts? How do we learn the language of the heart?
That requires directing all our attention to the spiritual heart and being there continuously, so that we live our lives from it.
— learn to redirect our attention from mind to heart and take root in the heart;
— study the language of the heart – the subtlest sensations, moods and feelings that arise before thoughts;
— learn the practices of healing and transforming our lives from the heart;
— learn the methods of cleansing our physical and subtle bodies from the heart;
— work with the elements (earth, water, air, fire and space);
— learn to live in the world, but stay in the heart.
We will work in groups and individually. Tentative daily schedule:
6:30 — 8:00 — morning practice
8:00 — 9:00 — breakfast
9:30 — 12:00 — individual practice on the beach and work with the elements
12:30 — 15:30 — group practice
15:30 — 16:30 — lunch
16:30 — 18:00 — rest time or individual practice
18:00 — 20:00— group practice
In total, we shall have an immersive experience with 8-9 hours of practice every day.
Learn more about the method here:
Anastasia Gosteva. Anastasia’s first degree is in Physics, second one – in Psychology. She has over 20 years of meditation experience, including 15 years of Tibetan Buddhism meditation (Vajrayana and Dzogchen practices); last 9 years under the personal guidance of a realized master who prefers not to disclose his name.
Alexander Ross-Johnson. Alexander holds two degrees: in teaching martial arts and Psychology. He authored mindfulness meditation programs for children, parents and teachers. 7 years of meditation experience, last 5 years also under the guidance of a realized master.
A small 3-star hotel located in front of the Laem Sor beach, in a 2-minute walk from the coastline. Guests stay in separate air-conditioned bungalows with individual bathrooms with hot water. There is also a pool on the premises. Children under six stay free of charge, and a Russian-speaking baby-sitter or animators can be hired for the time of sessions (please check the details when booking).
Accomodation: Unfortunately, the hotel is full but the hotel owner will help you book a room nearby (don’t tarry, though, hotels fill up relatively quickly).
Participation fee — $620
Couples get a 10% discount (if both take part in the retreat).
There is a separate group for children where they can discover a secular form of mindfulness the way it is taught in US kindergartens and schools. Price: $10-15/session, depending on the number of children we will have.
Booking and prepayment:
We kindly ask for a 100% prepayment. Prior booking is required to guarantee personal guidance time for each and every participant.
Please note that in the event of cancellation less than a month before the start of the retreat, the hotel reserves the right to charge a 100% cancellation fee (January is a high season).
Retreat price is 100% refundable if a booking is canceled before November 1. 50% refundable if canceled before December 15. No refund in the event of a later cancellation. Emergency cancellations will be treated on a case-by-case basis.
If you are currently in an unstable psychological state due to depression, distress, anxiety disorder, drug abuse, recent serious illness or post-surgery rehabilitation please notify us beforehand. Even more so, if the state was induced by other intensive meditation practices. Pregnancy is not a counter-indication, but still please notify us ahead of time.
Additional information and registration:
Angelica — firstname.lastname@example.org