Written by Llew Watkins on May 2, 2017
This last weekend we had a very beautiful and low-key Ziji weekend in Wales, at Jesse’s cabin in the woods. Six of us hung out together and ate wonderful food, went on walks and did a little bit of meditation practice, and I want to write something about it because it makes me very inspired that this kind of thing can happen, and I also hope that it might inspire other people to set up similar low-key retreats or gatherings.
Our two biggest strengths I think we have in Ziji are community and the basic practice of sitting meditation. Most of the time we see these come together at Shambhala centres in a very uplifted and powerful way, however I think there is also a tremendous wisdom in sitting in a circle in a small space, on cushions that are mismatched, and with no teacher or even schedule particularly, just taking it in turns for each other to lead.
I think it’s important to realise that we don’t have to restrict ourselves to programmes that cost one hundred or more of the currency we use. Many of us have already had the rare good fortune to receive really good meditation instruction, and for the most part the biggest obstacle we face is continuing to encourage ourselves and each other to practice. A weekend like the one we have just had together in Wales, with it’s slipshod rhythm and deep sense of bonding, comes as a relief and brings with it healing after the hustle and bustle of our busy lives. Although it’s very magical to be in the woods this doesn’t particularly have to take place in the countryside either, as young meditators we must continue to be creative in the ways we find to come together and practice together. I really believe it is meditation and a deep experience of community that are the greatest tools we have to help us to create an uplifted and awake society.