Monday, September 17, 2018

Animal Rights Retreat FAQ

Below is detailed FAQ for the upcoming Pollination Project retreat for Farm Animal Advocates-

Why meditate? 
Here is a link from the Harvard Business Review on Mindfulness in the Age of Complexity and an book passage by the man known as the happiest man in the world through brain scans who is vegan and an animal rights advocate. Organizationally, this blog discusses places where employees are benefiting from mindfulness and this one where mindfulness promotes a more compassionate workplace.

Why go on retreat? 
Since ancient times all wise cultures have known the value of retreat. Time in retreat allows us to step out of the complexity of our life, to listen deeply to our body, heart and mind. Meditation retreats offer practical instruction and group support for discovering inner understanding and freedom. The retreat will combine the fertile atmosphere of silence with extensive time for meditation and walks in nature, supported by systematic teachings. Careful guidance and training is offered in meditation. 

A retreat provides an opportunity and a caring container for undertaking intensive meditation, like an immersion course in a language. The central practice is mindfulness, which enables us to see the ways we create difficulties in our lives and to discover a freedom of heart in the midst of all things. The mindfulness practice on retreat will be ​accompanied and complemented by training in loving-kindness meditation. 

Most of the retreat is held in silence; retreatants do not speak to one another. Writing and reading are also discouraged, so that retreatants can better stay with their own present experience as it unfolds, moment to moment. In this silent and mindful environment, awareness sharpens, the body quiets, the mind clears, and space opens for insight and understanding to develop.

With no diversions there is nothing to distract us. Since there is no place to hide from ourselves, there is a good possibility that we will know ourselves better after a retreat than we did before. Self-knowledge and understanding grow as we see that we can live each moment either with inattention, fear and judgment, or with clarity, kindness and wakefulness. By cultivating the power of awareness, clarity and kindness, we discover our path to liberation, inner freedom and a peaceful heart.

Can I participate in less than the full retreat? 
You are required to attend the full retreat. Requests for late arrivals or early departures must be approved by the teacher(s) before the retreat.

Will we be in silence during the retreat? Why? 
During most of the retreat the participants will be in silence while the teachers will offering guided meditation and teachings, as well as be available for individual or group meetings. The result is a pervasive silence that serves as a foundation for the meditation practice and creates a palpable and nourishing atmosphere of stillness. Most people come to cherish the silence of retreat.  Even those who were intimidated by it in the beginning often find such peace in the silence that they are reluctant to give it up at the end.  As people become aware of its richness, they come to look forward to silence rather than fear it.
Retreat silence has many benefits. Because social conversation keeps the mind active, periods of not talking help the mind rest.  Silence settles the many emotions that are activated by talking, listening, and even in the anticipation of talking.  As our mental and emotional lives calm down, our bodies relax.
Silence allows for a heightened sense of intimacy with the world.  In sustained silence our senses become more acute, and both the inner and outer world can appear to us with greater clarity.  For example, we may begin to notice the birdsong we previously failed to hear, or we may tune in to our quieter thoughts, which normally get drowned out.
For most people, the silence of a retreat creates a space in which they can see themselves more clearly.  Rather than being actively distracted by work, relationships, the internet, music, or various external events, they have an opportunity to notice overlooked feelings and concerns.  The sustained periods of silence give people a chance to observe the subtle, important motivations and values behind how they live. As you relax into the collective stillness, participants often discover that being together with others in silence allows for a rich sense of connection that is more satisfying than if they had spent the same time engaged in conversation.  Rather than knowing others through the stories of who they are, what they do, and what they have done, the silence highlights our shared humanity and a direct feeling of empathy and rapport.  
How are the teachers compensated? 
The retreat will be using the system in practice over thousands of years of paying forward the generosity teachers offer in sharing their wisdom called dana.

What clothing should I pack? What other essentials should I bring? 
We will be sending an email to attendees in the weeks prior to the retreat that outlines these elements.

What if I get sick on retreat? 
We have first aid on hand and there is access to local area hospitals if needed.

Is it possible to stay extra days before or after retreat? 
We can discuss on an individual basis.

Can I arrive early on the day the retreat starts? 
Yes, but rooms will not be available until 3pm.

Can I arrive late and/or leave early? 
We ask that you stay for the entirety of the retreat.