September Retreat: FAQ

What if I hate it?
Oddly enough a retreat is hard work. I think most people who do a retreat go through an ‘I hate it’, ‘this is crazy’ or ‘what on earth do I think I’m doing?’ stage. The normally passes (‘this too shall pass’), but if you really can’t take another moment of sitting no one is going to take your details and put you in detention. Try to work through it, drop me a note if you want a chat, but this is your retreat to work through as you wish.

I’ve never meditated before.
Now’s a good time to try :-). There will also be some basic vipassana instruction at the start of the retreat if you need it.

I’m worried I won’t be able to sit still
You don’t need to! This is not meant to be torture or an endurance course. The number one rule in meditation is to be comfortable, so sit comfortably and move if you need to – just do it quietly so as not to disturb others.

I’m worried I won’t be able to stay silent
Oddly, most people don’t seem to find it difficult. A lack of direct eye contact and the retreat structure makes it simpler than you might think. Really, give it a try, it’s liberating.

But my practice is…
Samatha, zazen, vipassana, TM, mindfulness, Shikantaza, koans, ânàpànasati, Metta (loving-kindness), mantra, yoga nidra, kundalini, trataka; there are legions of different ways to meditate. If you already meditate, feel free to use whatever’s in your practice as long as it’s appropriate at that time.

What are the food arrangements?
Food will be vegan where possible. Bread and cereals will be served but all main meals will either have a gluten-free option or be gluten-free. Please let me know of any other allergies or intolerances.

Breakfast will be self-service, cereals, bread/toast, yoghurt, porridge if requested by enough people, etc.

In the tradition of Theravada Buddhism, lunch will be served before noon and will be the last meal of the day. Lunch will be a simple ‘one-pot’ meal with rice/pasta/quinoa that can be prepared after breakfast. Salad, fruit and possibly another option will be available.

Hot and cold drinks will be freely available whenever required.

A Google spreadsheet link will be made available when a booking is confirmed, for those who wish to contribute food for the retreat.

What is ‘working meditation’
In common with Theravada Buddhist retreats, we will incorporate a small element of working meditation.  A short work-as-practice period is set aside each day, usually lasting 30 -45 minutes for each person.  This gives retreatants an opportunity for mindfulness during everyday activities, from chopping vegetables or washing dishes to vacuuming or cleaning a bedroom. Working meditation is also essential to the smooth operation of the retreat and allows the cost of the retreat to be as low as possible.

The retreat is run along Theravada Buddhist lines, but I’m not a Buddhist
It doesn’t matter. Meditation is very practical and relevant to modern daily life and enables us to develop peace of mind, reduce stress and anxiety and improve our concentration, relationships and a general sense of personal well being. Although the retreat will take its lead from Theravada retreats, it isn’t a Buddhist retreat; neither is it a teaching retreat, it’s a practice retreat. It’s about having space and time to delve deep

What is the accommodation like?
Simple but comfortable.
Maitreya House comprises the house, three wooden cabins, a utility block,  gardens and an adjacent field.

The main house has a ground floor living/teaching space which opens to the dining area via double doors. Also on the ground floor is a well-equipped kitchen. On the first floor are two twin/triple bedrooms, a single bedroom, and a modern bathroom/shower/toilet. In the grounds are three wooden cabins, each with two single beds, for one or two person occupancy. A modern wooden utility block houses two toilets, two showers, a store and a laundry.

What to Bring

  • Blankets and duvets are provided. Please bring your own sheet, pillowcase and duvet cover, or sleeping bag, and towel.
  • Food to share, vegan for preference. A food list will be uploaded and a link sent to you to coordinate food share. If you feel you are able to bring food to share, please put your name next to the item(s) you will bring.
  • Loose, easy fitting clothing for sitting and walking
  • Waterproofs and shoes in case it rains
  • Open sandals or flip-flops for outside – easy to slip on and off
  • No shoes are allowed in the house, you may want to bring socks
  • Meditation stool, zafu or cushion if you have one. If not, a yoga block, bolster, rolled pillow or even a folded blanket to enable you to sit comfortably on the floor
  • Torch
  • Usual toiletries
  • Night clothes

I have questions not covered here
Use the contact form on the menus or leave a comment. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can


Leave a Reply


Some of the links used throughout this blog are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link.  I have experienced all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commission I make if you decide to buy something through my links. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.