Monday, March 07, 2005

Winter Spiritual Detox

Make the winter months a time for reflection, not for dieting. Spend some time feeding your mind and soul. Take a day or a weekend – or even a few hours – and nurture your spiritual side.Go for a long walk along the beach. Climb a mountain (if you are in the southern hemispeher and you are not subject to hypothermia!). Book yourself into a spa for a day. Or even find somewhere to learn how to meditate. There are lots of places to go to find a bit of peace. Try some of the places below.

The Amaravati Buddhist Centre, Hemel Hempstead
Amaravati is a monastery in the Theravada tradition of Buddhism and a centre of teaching and practice. Every Saturday afternoon (14:00-16:30), they hold a meditation workshop for beginners with an opportunity for questions to be answered.

The Sanctuary, central London
My favourite way of spending a day alone. Book into this beautiful quiet space, lounge in your white fluffy robe in the Koi carp lounge watching the fish swimming beside you, sleep, think, drink tea. Forget about the body therapies, they will only interrupt your quiet time. I promise you will emerge at 6pm energised and ready to face the world.

Lough Derg – St. Patrick’s Purgatory
Most Irish people will know about Lough Derg, known as a place of peace since the time of St. Patrick. These days they offer one-day retreats as well as the more famous 3-day pilgrimages.

Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery, Melbourne
The FGY art gallery is Melbourne's major Buddhist art space featuring changing programmes of Chinese and Buddhist Art. Another feature is the meditation hall and regular free 30 minute lunch time meditation. On Friday evenings they have guided meditation/tai chi classes. Try it!!

Tyburn Convent, central London
This convent of contemplative nuns is an amazing place close to Marble Arch in the west end of London. The convent offers “monastic afternoon Sundays” for those seeking some spiritual quiet. Visit the Crypt from 2pm to 5pm.

Retreats All Over the UK
Use this website to find a retreat centre near you. Many offer one-day events including reflections on a theme, or simply quiet days.