I have attended various retreats before including a 10 day traditional Vipassana course in India. So, I can reflect upon those intense and very strict practices, which I personally did find very powerful. Nevertheless, I know they are not accessible for the average people with jobs and family commitments or even the ability to sit crossed legged for so many hours a day!!! That’s why I found this one day silent retreat with Supawan Green, to be a very fun and especially light hearted approach. At the same time, she also offered something, which had the ability to touch on profound insights and realisations. There is no doubt this was because of the way Supawan structured the day, which transformed what would normally be quite difficult Buddhist teachings for westerners to digest, into something more accessible and we could realistically relate to. With her great use of analogies, role play, clear illustrations and personification to describe the abstract and even transcendental ideas and concepts, all these tools successfully direct us to our own realisation as how we create suffering for ourselves and others. Supawan described the various layers and attributes of the ‘mental self’ we don’t know of, which she confidently connected to the familiar term of ‘consciousness’, ‘the core of life’ ‘the 6th sense’ and emphasised that such inner nature is ‘our true self’. This perspective suddenly made a lot of sense to me. Regarding the practice, Supawan clearly pointed out where and how certain feelings and sensations arise from, which certainly help with the mindfulness practice.
These are all parts of the process of practising mindfulness that I found Supawan’s course structure for this retreat very well provided. Supported with her interesting passionate dialogue, video presentation, various practical exercises throughout the day including learning the 18 movements of Tai Chi Qi Gong after lunch preventing us from the unbearable drowsiness, I found all these practices most beneficial as they gave actual individual experience of various sensations happening in our body and mind.
In summary, I found this one day learning to be very well structured and easy to grasp especially for someone with no or very little background on Buddhism. This course is particularly useful for those who have limited time and would like to go straight into the essence of Buddhism and the practice of mindfulness so that they can make use of the wisdom and the practice in their daily lives. Finally, it could also be for those who just would like to take a step out of the day to day stresses and have a taste of some pure and simple inner peace as an alternative way for relaxation.
Gavin Moles (Kings Bromley)