Do you have any religious affiliation or agenda?
No. Whilst meditation and energy work has its roots throughout various traditions, our approach holds a neutral spiritual focus within the understanding that we each have our own path.
We believe there is an increasing number of people searching for meaning outside conventional religious structures, to whom their inner life is important and need a place for retreat and guidance. This is just what we are here to support, so know you are very welcome.
Do I have to sit cross-legged?
Meditation can be practised kneeling or sitting comfortably in a chair. We have a variety of sitting supports, cushions and chairs for your comfort.
What should I wear?
Loose clothing is the most comfortable for sitting.
I am not very flexible or have physical problems. Am I still able to participate?
As long as with support (cushions, blankets) you feel you will be able to sit or lie reasonably comfortably for 20mins or so, you will be fine. You are also welcome to lie down, although sleeping usually becomes the meditation then! Meditation is recommended medically for pain relief so it may well be that with time you find the practice helpful with your discomfort.
What should I bring with me?
Loose comfortable clothing, a swim costume (and perhaps an extra towel) if you like to swim, wellies, a torch, any meditation shawl or blanket you like to use, raincoat/umbrella, a notebook and pen, and slippers as we don't wear outdoor shoes into the group room.
Will I have to share a room?
No, you will have your own double or single room.
I like the idea of meditation but have never done any before. Where is a good place to begin, and how will I cope with a weekend of sitting?
Our Meditation and Self Development weekend is appropriate for beginners and those with some experience: it is a good introduction to our work and noone has left (or not coped)! We offer simple guidance in group meditation sessions, and if you feel you would particularly benefit from one to one help this is available too. We are passionate about the value of meditation, so any way we can assist you to begin, we will.
I tried meditation once and I couldn't stop thinking!
Join the club! One of the most common misunderstandings about meditation is that you are supposed to stop thinking. Meditation teaches us how to become gently present with our thinking, so that we learn how to relax within whatever experience we are having. With time and practice this leads to a gradual stilling of the busy mind, and along the way we gain invaluable skills such as self acceptance, emotional control, greater clarity and the development of a warm heart.
Our course leaders are very experienced meditators who extol the virtue of their meditation practice. Still, after up to 30 years of practice, we still have days where the mind goes everywhere. The profound difference that emerges with practice is the capacity to be kind and present with whatever experience we or anyone else is having.
If I love my weekend Introductory Retreat, can I do more?
Please do! You can come as often as you would like on an Introductory Retreat. Or if a longer period of inner focus appeals to you, look at the other programmes on offer here.
What type of food do you do?
All the food at Bonhays is creative and vegetarian, and locally sourced and organic wherever possible. Laura, our cook, puts all her love of food and knowledge of nutrition into her cooking, and is happy to accommodate special diets with due notice.
Do I need to bring my own cushion/meditation chair?
Only if you would like to. We have plenty of different sitting options here: chairs, cushions, back supports, blankets and bolsters.