HINTS OF BLESSEDNESS: REFLECTIONS FROM BODHI SEEDS RETREAT 2018 AND THE BEGINNING OF IMMEASURABLE SCHOOL
Eight young explorers ascended the Wangapeka driveway in early August, bringing with them uncertainties, expectations, talents, and a willingness to show up, to name but a few qualities. All of us together for one month, apprentices to calming, questioning, opening, and communing. If there was one question that we were all asking: What is the face, body, thoughts, sounds, and actions of a young person (20~35) living in wisdom and compassion? And how can we be this in the heartbeat of our own lives and communities?
WHAT IS BODHI SEEDS?
Bodhi Seeds is an offering for young people to hone skill sets for living well with change. It provides the time, mentoring, honouring, and space to find the belonging and refuge that is their birthright. It must be affordable, embodied, spacious, and have periods of community silence and solitude. We are working with the question that the art of meditation is learned well when movement is incorporated into the process, it can help loosen the potential to fix ideas about freedom.
In the practical realm, Bodhi Seeds is time in nature’s wonder with less gurus, less hierarchy, less push to get somewhere other than here. It is gentle, has opportunity for wonderment, intimacy, patience, and joy! Can consensual decision making happen in a retreat structure while simultaneously being open, wild, and willing to surrender completely in the not knowing of a cresting wave of now? These are some of the themes we have seen in the evolution of Bodhi Seeds.
The all embracing flavour of these experiences is questing into universal refuge relevant to the needs and times of the participants. If the word ‘refuge’ is not alive in you, by refuge we mean tasting and maturing into an unshakable experience of belonging, everything included, nothing left out. Attuning into the interbeing/interknowing of what we are and how we live. Seeing, feeling, and acting with an enlarged sense of who and what we are has juicy/courageous and challenging implications for how we all live together.
WHAT DID WE DO?
We deepened our skills of meditation, acknowledged and honoured the shadow, made space for group process, worked on the land, and explored nature, all the while learning to care for the processes of thinking, feeling, speaking, and listening. We took our practise and our alive body/brain/mind/communities into the wilderness of mountains and rivers. Exploring rituals and the natura-all-ness of it all. We also danced, an embodied gesture to the ever-fresh cresting wave of not knowing.
“I know some of you don’t think you can dance but everything is dancing. What’s more, life is uncertain, fragile, and robust! It is necessary to learn the skill of flex, by definition, an ability to move well with uncertainty. Let us dance to learn this deep into the fabric and tissues of our body/minds”
Opportunities like these are essential for young people because these are the folk who are going to catalyse the moral imaginations of the generations to come. Together we are questioning what it is to be fully human, we are resourcing communities for wholesome change.
At the end we gathered to speak of our time together, a handful of syllables with tears and smiles, honourings and appreciations.
This feels deeply wholesome, a container of calm, question, and community, mixed with patience and skilful means; a nourishing balm bringing healing and integration to the silenced everyday traumas most if not all of us carry.
A FEW HIGHLIGHTS
- We were graced with visiting elders and teachers, Tarchin Hearn, John Massey and Kris Kolff, these mature beings walked their talk and were willing to share with us freely
- We took our practise deep into the natural environment. Crafting rituals of renewal, meeting known and unknown on the razor edge of Mt. Patriarch in the Kahurangi National Park
- Lucy Carver shared her passion for storytelling, telling tales of Fox Woman Dreaming, of Wild Gods, the soul and the fields that exist beyond rights and wrongs
- We took time to honour the shadow. Turning off the lights, facing out, a gesture to speak and breathe life into the things we have hidden from others and ourselves
- We sung songs, laughed till tears were running down our cheeks, and embodied joy
- We gave a space for the stuck parts in ourselves to dance, and to do this with a caring other
- We practised, sitting, lying, walking standing with love and clear seeing awareness, together
Clearing and opening space by the river
Preparing ground and planting vegetable garden
Clearing the meadow on right road to whare
Moving huge rounds of firewood from Yongdu site, log splitting and stacking
LAST WORDS FROM JAIME, DIRECTOR
I feel a quiet sense of celebration. This marks three years of rich explorations. A number of the young participants have become active teachers and facilitators themselves, offering ecology education/activist programmes, wilderness explorations, ripplings into politics, schools, and business. Circles in circles, elders helping youngers, youngers inspiring elders, humans reconnecting with nature, nature reminding humans. With appreciation for Wangapeka it is time now to grow out into the world.
Bodhi Seeds sprout into an Immeasurable school of Wisdom and Compassion, a three year school beginning in 2019
The earth is our home, the sangha is without boundaries.
A time together to pollinate cultures, language, story, suchness, refuge and our innate human capacity of love. Bringing young people together from around the world to:
Deepen into the art of meditation in the midst of ordinary living. As Tarchin sings ‘A praxis of love and clear seeing inquiry’ happening in the whole-hearted crazy, busy, beautiful worlds these people are living in
Explore what it means to care and nourish self and other in a self sustaining global society
Offer maps and thresholds of initiation, self confidence and maturation
Cultivate cultures of mentoring
Grow spaces of connectedness and belonging
Provide opportunities to discover and celebrate individual and collective talents
Find ways to demonstrate wholesome living in action. Offer service to the local community and nature
There is a richness here. From Namgyal to Tarchin, Bonni, Jangchub, Chime, Keith, Lama Mark and many more, through generations, planting seeds, beyond better or worse or any kind of comparison, there is a recognisable (often quiet) richness to be one of many who have received refuge from this line of teachers. The curriculum is gold, ordinary gold. Around the world processes of universal education are flowering. We see this wisdom touching the lives of children, teenagers, young adults, in fact every life stage. Our work is to keep it moving, pass it on, keep exploring and offering refuge in a thousand ways.
In the particulars of bringing forth an Immeasurable school of Wisdom and Compassion, it is the explorations, life and living of Tarchin Hearn and Mary Jenkins that inspire our visioning process.
Who are we?
Where will it take place?
2020 Potentially Perth Australia
2021 New Zealand
We aspire to do this as a community of all beings and generations.
Consider joining this fruitful springtime of buddhahood. The link below will connect you to a respectful mailing list for all information, including a video to be released in October.
Jaime Howell & Juliana Griese
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