Experience the sublime nature of this ancient heart practice that cultivates self-compassion, empathy and kindness. To send you off to sleep sweetly, we shall meet on Skype for four consecutive evenings and journey together through this expansive inner practice. Be relaxed and soothed by Inez's gentle presence at bedtime as she guides you through the Heart meditation.
A beautiful way for your rational mind to meet the tenderness of your heart.
“Our task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within ourself that we have built against it.” Rumi (Persian poet and scholar)
Logon to your laptop in your pyjamas at 8.30pm. Lie in bed, sit on a cushion on the floor or sit comfortably on your sofa. Nestle in with your children or your animals if you wish. Dial in to Skype, greet the other participants, settle back and get cosy and relaxed. Then give yourself over to the spaciousness, infinite love and sublime stillness that resides within your own mind/heart/body.
For the first 30 minutes, we shall check in with each other and Inez will answer any questions you have about the Heart practice. You will have an opportunity to share your experience of the meditation the previous evening, as well as whatever feelings (both soothing and challenging) that arose for you during the practice and into the following day.
Then at 9.00pm, Inez will lead you on a beautiful 30-minute guided meditation.
If you've never meditated before or you've tried it and found it difficult, the Heart meditation is a wonderful practice for beginners. While Mindfulness meditation can sometimes feel stressful if the inexperienced meditator expects a quiet mind but encounters the opposite; in the Heart meditation we don't worry about trying to calm our thoughts (thoughts are a natural function of the mind and will happen anyway). Instead we gently turn our attention to our heart area and to cultivating feelings of tenderness and kindness for ourselves and others. Gradually we come to know how lovely it feels to reside in our own compassionate nature, which is not surprising since the Heart meditation releases the feel-good chemicals serotonin and dopamine. Emma Seppala, PhD, Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, lists several scientific studies on her website that have concluded the benefits of Heart meditation (also known as Loving Kindness meditation) range from increasing one's sense of "wellbeing, to giving relief from illness and improving emotional intelligence".
Cognitive research is now widely established that meditation helps relieve anxiety, depression, PTSD and personality disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder. Heart meditations in particular, which focus on cultivating positive emotions, create neural links between the pre-frontal cortex (the area which regulates human happiness and wellbeing) and the limbic brain - the fright, flight or fight brain - helping to decrease our reactivity and increase our ability to regulate our emotions without the need for food, drugs or alcohol. Heart meditations also elicit a relaxation response (the opposite of the stress response) allowing us to fall asleep more easily and to to sleep more deeply.
On this retreat, children are welcome to participate for free - to sit quietly or sleep beside you or, if they are older, to join in the Heart practice with you. If they cry or make a noise that is not a problem. Through meditation we learn to become more accepting of what is happening in the present moment (both inside and outside our bodies). Slowly we start to let go of our painful struggle to control our environment. In time our nervous system relaxes and we are able to fall into a vast ocean of spaciousness. We discover that noise is only a disturbance if we allow it to be so. For many meditators noise can actually be a helpful reminder to bring us back to presence when we are distracted.
The guided Heart meditation will begin promptly at 9.00pm and end at 9.30pm. Please try to log on by 8.30pm for the group sharing. However, if you are unavoidably late, Inez will accept Skype calls until 9.00pm. No calls can be answered once the meditation begins at 9.00pm.
Cost for the entire retreat (four evenings): $50 full price; $40 concession. Bookings essential to organise Skype connection. If you are unable to afford the cost of this retreat, please contact Inez privately as economic disadvantage should not prevent anyone who wants to from participating.
When: 8.30pm-9.30pm each evening from Monday 20 February to Thursday 23 February 2017 on Skype.
Inez de Vega is the founder of A Happy Heart. She is an experienced group facilitator and meditation instructor. She has been practising meditation since 2004. Inez is currently undertaking a Masters of Counselling at Victoria University.
For more info, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Inez on 03 9824 6963 / 0468 369 824.