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‣ Revised Edition of Seeing That Frees
An updated version of Seeing That Frees is now available in all formats, incorporating a number of amendments. Some of these are just very small changes; others are more significant reworkings of certain passages. Any copy purchased now should automatically be this updated version.
Alternatively, together with some supplementary explanations and suggestions from Rob, you can find the more significant changes freely available here. If you like, you could note the changes in your current copy or even (with a little fiddling) print them out and paste them in. All this information is also available to download as a PDF. It has been formatted for printing and folding into an A5 booklet, which can be slipped into your existing copy (you may just need to trim the outer margins for the best aesthetics!) Simply print pages 1 and 2 back-to-back, and 3 and 4 back-to-back, then you can fold them up and tuck one inside the other.
‣ Soulmaking Sangha Gathering
10-24 February 2018 in Devon
Dear Dharma Friends,
We would like to get a sense of how many people would be seriously interested in participating in and co-creating a Soulmaking Sangha Gathering with Rob and Catherine in Devon, during the period from Saturday February 10th to Saturday February 24th 2018 (the two weeks following on from the Tending the Holy Fire retreat).
As well as teachings from Rob and Catherine (interviews, group meetings, Q&As etc), and going further into the soulmaking paradigm and practices, it will be an opportunity to gather with fellow soulmakers over an extended period to create formal and informal spaces together, to give and receive from each other, and to create and discover what you love and care about in the regions of soulfulness.
The gathering is open to anyone who has a good working familiarity and understanding of this soulmaking paradigm and its practices, who has done the prerequisite work (the same as specified for the Tending the Holy Fire retreat), and who has a heartfelt wish to further their exploration. Some of those attending the Holy Fire retreat just beforehand may wish to continue their soulmaking practice and inquiry in this way, but the retreat is not a prerequisite.
We first want to get a sense if there is sufficient interest for such an event, so please register your interest by completing the form below by Monday 23rd October. (This does not commit you but we would ask you to be as accurate as you can in saying what you would commit to. If we don’t have an accurate enough sense of this from everyone it won’t be possible for us to organise the event.)
Unfortunately numbers will be limited and once we know there is enough interest, there will be an application process. Priority will be given to those who can come to the whole event, but depending on how many are able to commit for the duration, we may well be open to people being at the event in other ways too (e.g., for those who, due to other commitments, might only be able to come for the weekend of 16-18th).
Please Note: All timings below are approximate at this point and may be subject to change. Rob aims to participate as much as his health will allow at the time.
In addition to whatever sangha-led sessions take place, Catherine and Rob intend to offer a number of formal sessions. The following is a potential timetable for these meetings.
Sat 10th 6-9pm
Sunday 11th 10.30am-1.30pm
Mon 12th 6-9pm
Wed 14th 6-9pm
Fri 16th 6-9pm
Sat 17th 10.30am-1.30pm and 6-9pm
Sun 18th 10.30am-1.30pm and 4-7pm
Mon 19th 6-9pm
Wed 21st 6-9pm
Fri 23rd 3-6pm and 6-9pm
Sat 24th Pack up
Once we have heard that there is sufficient interest and people come forward to coordinate the event, we will contact you with more details.
With thanks and love,
Nic, Mark, Rob and Catherine
Update: The gathering has been indefinitely postponed. It is hoped that such an event can take place in the future and we will post any relevant information when the time comes.
‣ Tending the Holy Fire: A Practice Retreat for Lovers of Soulmaking
2-9 February 2018 at Colehayes Park on Dartmoor
This weeklong retreat is suitable for Dharma practitioners who are already familiar and relatively comfortable with the teachings and practices of the imaginal and the emotional/energy body, and who wish to deepen and widen these aspects of their practice together with other Dharma friends.
For more information see the Freely Given Retreats website.
‣ Eros Unfettered: Opening the Dharma of Desire
This series of talks was recorded in early 2017 and is now available for free download on Dharmaseed (dharmaseed.org/retreats/3270).
Please do note, however, that these talks are intended for experienced practitioners who have already developed some understanding of and working familiarity with practices of emptiness, samatha, metta, the emotional/energy body, and the imaginal, as well as basic mindfulness practice. It is strongly recommended, therefore, that before approaching these new talks you study and work with previous material concerning these practices and understandings; the following course of talks and series should provide a helpful foundation for this new set:
- The Theatre of Selves
- Part 1: dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/21819/
- Part 2: dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/21821/
- Part 3: dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/21820/
- Approaching the Dharma
- Part 1 (Unbinding the World): dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/17960/
- Part 2 (Liberating Ways of Looking): dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/17961/
- Untitled three-part series
- Questioning Awakening: dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/26010/
- Buddhism Beyond Modernism: dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/26007/
- In Praise of Restlessness: dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/26009/
- Image, Mythos, Dharma
- Part 1: dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/27490/
- Part 2: dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/27492/
- Part 3: dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/27491/
- An Ecology of Love
- Part 1 (Introduction): dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/32199/
- Part 2: dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/32201/
- Part 3: dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/32200/
- Part 4: dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/32198/
- The Path of the Imaginal (Longer Course)
- All 22 talks: dharmaseed.org/retreats/2678
- Re-enchanting the Cosmos: The Poetry of Perception
- All 34 talks: dharmaseed.org/retreats/3049
Integrating this previous material and also taking the Eros Unfettered talks in their intended order will, for most, support a better and fuller understanding of the teachings from this course.
‣ Of Hermits and Lovers: The Alchemy of Desire retreat
For those of you who don’t receive the Gaia House programme we wanted to let you know about this upcoming retreat at Gaia House in March/April 2017. An application form, as well as information specific to this retreat, can be found on the Gaia House website.
Whatever we want from our path, and whatever is our conception of awakening, we will need to investigate desire and our relationship with it. And if we seek a path that will expand and deepen our sense of the sacred, we cannot regard desire only and always as something to be eradicated. On this retreat we will begin to explore the range of teachings, perspectives, and practices that can allow us to wisely discern between the various manifestations of desire in our lives, to transform greed, and to open to the beauty of eros and our fire without losing balance and equanimity.
‣ Re-enchanting the Cosmos: The Poetry of Perception
This series of talks is from a retreat led by Rob and Catherine McGee for experienced practitioners. Please note that the requirements for participation included some understanding of and working familiarity with practices of emptiness, samatha, metta, the emotional/energy body, and the imaginal, as well as basic mindfulness practice; and that without this experience it is possible that the material and teachings from this retreat will be difficult to understand and confusing for some.
The talks are available now on Dharmaseed: dharmaseed.org/retreats/3049.
‣ Re-enchanting the Cosmos retreat
A couple of things regarding this retreat at Gaia House with Rob and Catherine (27 July – 3 August):
- Though of course it will depend on his health situation at the time, at present Rob is definitely intending to teach this retreat.
We ask that those who are already registered or interested in attending the retreat read or even re-read the letter below (which those registered should already have received) and check that this is an appropriate retreat for you. If not, Gaia House, as an exception to its usual policy, continues to offer a free cancellation in this case.
These guidelines we are suggesting will hopefully allow the retreat to unfold without the usual burden and constriction of having to repeat basic teachings and practices before anything new can be presented to the group, and without having to spend too much time justifying new explorations. This will hopefully benefit everyone on the retreat and hopefully ease the load and free the space for the teachers.
If you do decide to pull out of the retreat the recordings of the teachings and instructions should as usual be available at some future date on Dharmaseed, so that, if you want to, you can work through them at your own pace and with whatever supplementary material you might need, at home.
Dear Dharma Friends
A retreat description is now available for the retreat with Rob and Catherine in July/August this year. As there was no description when you booked, we ask that you read this carefully and make sure that this particular retreat theme is one you really wish to explore. (You will find it at the bottom of this email).
If it is, we would also like you to remind you to check to see that you have the requisite practice experience for this retreat.
Rob and Catherine have asked for the following:
- A minimum total of four weeks silent Insight Meditation retreat experience; and
- Some working familiarity with practices of emptiness, samatha, metta, the emotional/energy body and the imaginal. (Teachings and instructions on the emotional/energy body and imaginal practice can be found following the link in the Path of the Imaginal post below.)
As most of you know Rob has been handling a serious cancer and chemotherapy over recent months. Due to the teachers therefore having less capacity, you will need to be confident in your ability to be relatively self-sufficient in supporting yourself in your practice. The teachers plan to offer retreat teaching and guidance but not so much psychological support as in their previous retreats.
If on reading this you realise that this retreat is not for you, either because of the theme or if you do not have the requisite experience or you feel that you need psychological support at the moment, I would appreciate it if you send a reply to this email as soon as possible, and no later than 8 April 2016. You will receive a full refund if this applies to you.
Thank you for considering these requests from the teachers. We look forward to welcoming you back to Gaia House either for this retreat or if you need to postpone coming on this occasion, at some other time in the not too distant future.
In the Dharma
Re-enchanting the Cosmos: The Poetry of Perception
On this retreat we will cultivate a sensitive and meditative playfulness with respect to the senses, the body, and the whole experience of being. Relating to our practice as the fashioning and tuning of an instrument of perception, we will explore our seeing and sensing not as ‘revealers of truth’ but as ‘arts’ – opening us to our freedom but also beyond it to an infinite field of potential enchantment, depth, beauty, and meaningfulness, and giving to everything, including our sufferings, a necessary place. Inquiring into the barriers, emotional, ideological, and practical, that can prevent this opening, constrain its range, or render it ineffectual for our lives, we will explore the nature of an enchantment without clinging.
‣ An Ecology of Love
A talk about love, eros, metta, and the Dharma; about our sense of the Earth, and a sense of the sacred.
Cut into four parts, this talk is now available on Dharmaseed: dharmaseed.org/retreats/2757.
‣ Path of the Imaginal
As some of you know, when I was diagnosed with the cancer just a few days before the start of the Path of the Imaginal retreat at Gaia House, the doctor told me it would not be safe for me to teach and that I needed to cancel the retreat. I very much wanted the material to be available, though, to those who might want and use it. So in the days and weeks following, while waiting for the operation, I recorded most of the talks and meditations, trying to cover the areas I thought would be helpful in establishing the foundations for imaginal practice and exploring some of its directions and possibilities. Being suddenly and unexpectedly called in for the operation some days before it was originally scheduled meant that I was not able to finish the set of talks; and after the op, I wondered when or even whether I would have an opportunity to do so. The last few talks were recorded in the week before my chemotherapy began, as I assumed that might be the best window of time in terms of available energy levels for a while. For those interested in this direction of practice, you can find the set on Dharmaseed here: dharmaseed.org/retreats/2678. A huge thank you to Mark, Faith, Eric, and everyone at Dharmaseed who helped make the recordings available.
With blessings and love to you all,