Self Development Retreats: Part Four – Insight Dialogue

Self Development Retreats: Insight Dialogue – Carlie’s Experience

MonkI am Carlie, a 34 year old woman from The Netherlands. The retreat was a fresh start to this year; my first retreat ever. Even just the sight of Sukhacitto Bikkhu and the other monks who visited the retreat – and of course – Ani Könchog Lhamo, gave me a serene, almost divine feeling.

The speaking voice of Sukhacitto Bikkhu was calm and from the heart, telling us about some of the principles of Buddhism and leading us in the most kind way through the meditation.
 We started the first night by simply describing what was happening in the body.  From the second day onwards, our dialogue deepened towards the deeper questions of life. Sometimes I had no feeling in my legs and my knees, or I felt tension in my shoulders. But even that was useful for the meditation process, for example when we were instructed to take a pause. During this time, we reflected on what we felt, and whether we could be at ease with that.

There was a moment I was really uncomfortable and said to my self, “No, I cannot be at ease with that!”  After saying that to myself the pain became bearable again and I thought, “Okay some more minutes”. I was learning about my inside dialogue and had experienced that I didn’t have to numb my pain.  It was okay to experience this and it was the truth.
 When we were speaking to each other, we were instructed to pause, listen deeply, and speak the truth.  For me it was in fact easier to listen than to speak, to ask for somebody to take the time to listen to me.

Searching deep inside for answers gave me more balance and was truly healing for me. For example, when we were talking about judgments, I came to realise that I judge a really good friend of mine whom I’ve been friends with for many years and had lost contact with. I found out I was judging her because I felt hurt by her and by showing compassion to this feeling of hurt I just felt it disappearing from my chest.

I had so many insights just by taking time to feel what I wanted to say and thinking about whether or not it was true.  Even now, I still try to take pause and listen deeply, trying to be aware that I’m just speaking out of habit. I have learned and experienced so much. I feel grateful for this experience.

Upcoming retreats at New Life Foundation include:

Change Your Mind, Change Your World: A Mindful Yoga Retreat with Kim Roberts, 13-17 February 2013

The Hungry Ghost Retreat: Putting the Buddha Back Into Mindfulness with Vince Cullen, 11-15 March 2013

For more details see the Retreats page of the website or email retreats[at]

* Many thanks to Carlie for sharing her experience and Tomoko for this guest post

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