Coming down from the mountain with stories to share

HINTS OF BLESSEDNESS: REFLECTIONS FROM BODHI SEEDS RETREAT 2018 and the beginning of a school.

Eight young explorers ascended the Wangapeka driveway in early August, bringing with them uncertainties, expectations, talents, and a willingness to show up, to name but a few qualities. All of us together for one month, apprentices to calming, questioning, opening, and communing. If there was one question that we were all asking: What is the face, body, thoughts, sounds, and actions of a young person (20~35) living in wisdom and compassion? And how can we be this in the heartbeat of our own lives and communities?

WHAT IS BODHI SEEDS?

Bodhi Seeds is an offering for young people to hone skill sets for living well with change. It provides the time, mentoring, honouring, and space to find the belonging and refuge that is their birthright. It must be affordable, embodied, spacious, and have periods of community silence and solitude. It is my understanding that the art of meditation is learned better when movement is incorporated into the process, rather than only endless sitting with blind fixed ideas about freedom.  

In the practical realm, Bodhi Seeds is time in nature's wonder with less gurus, less hierarchies to project onto, less rigid sitting still, less intense pushing to get somewhere other than here. It is gentle, has opportunity for wonderment, intimacy, patience, and joy! Can consensual decision making happen in a retreat structure while simultaneously being open, wild, and willing to surrender completely in the not knowing of a cresting wave of now? These are some of the themes we have seen in evolution of Bodhi Seeds.

Refuge is another component of our time together. Several times I paused in wonder to feel a group of young people touching the essence of refuge. If that word is not alive in you, by refuge I mean tasting and maturing into an unshakable experience of belonging, everything included, nothing left out. Refuge must have something to do with attuning into the interbeing/interknowing of what we are and how we live. Seeing, feeling, and acting with an enlarged sense of who and what we are, has huge implications for how we live. The question of “where do I end off and where does otherness begin” is a juicy contemplation. Apply body, biology, and nature. Mix with continuums of caring and inquiry, dollops of patience, and we have the recipe for wisdom and compassion in action. Seeds to sprouts, sprouts to saplings hungry for space and light, to trees and fruits for the generations to come, this is happening,

WHAT DID WE DO?

We deepened our skills of meditation, acknowleded and honoured the shadow, made space for group process, worked on the land, and explored nature, all the while learning to care for the processes of thinking, feeling, speaking, and listening. We took our alive bodies and praxis into the mountains, where, moving as a team, we climbed and explored ritual. We also danced, an embodied gesture to the ever-fresh cresting wave of not knowing.

"I know you don’t think you can dance but everything is dancing and what’s more, life is uncertain, fragile, and robust! It is necessary we learn the skill of flex, by definition, an ability to move with uncertainty and learn it deep into the fabric and tissues of our body/minds”

Opportunities like these are essential for young people because these are the folk who are going to catalyse the moral imaginations of the generations to come.  Remembering and re-inventing who we are, what perception and knowing is made of, and what it is going to take to live more in harmony with the living systems, are incredibly valuable to do early in life.

At the end we gathered to speak of our time together, stunned syllables attempting to articulate the mystery of natural growth and unfolding. It was a quiet voice inside me that whispered:

"This is it, this container of calm, question, and community, mixed with patience and skilful means; this is the medicine. A nourishing balm bringing healing and integration to the often silenced everyday traumas of childhood that we carry.”

A FEW HIGHLIGHTS

-We were graced with visiting elders and teachers, Tarchin Hearn, John Massey and Kris Kolff; these mature beings walked their talk and were willing to share with us freely.

-We took our practise deep into the natural environment. Crafting rituals of renewal, meeting known and unknown on the razor edge of Mt. Patriarch in the Kahurangi National Park.

-Lucy Carver shared her passion for storytelling, telling tales of Fox Woman Dreaming, of Wild Gods, the soul and the fields that exist beyond rights and wrongs.

-We took time to honour the shadow. Turning off the lights, facing out, a gesture to speak and breathe life into the things we have hidden from others and ourselves.  

-We sung songs, laughed till tears were running down our cheeks, and embodied joy.

-We gave a space for the stuck parts in ourselves to dance, and to do this with a caring other.

- We practised, sitting, lying, walking standing with love and clear seeing awareness, together.

LAST WORDS FROM JAIME, DIRECTOR.

I feel a quiet sense of celebration. This marks three years of rich explorations. A number of the young participants have become active teachers and facilitators themselves, offering ecology education/activist programmes, wilderness explorations, ripplings into politics, schools, and business. Circles in circles, elders helping youngers, youngers inspiring elders, humans reconnecting with nature, nature reminding humans. As one door closes another opens; for now our time at Wangapeka Education Centre has come to a pause, and we are growing out into the world.

Bodhi Seeds becomes an Immeasurable school of Wisdom and Compassion...

A vision and a pathway has arisen for a three year school of wisdom and compassion beginning in 2019. The past three Bodhi Seeds retreats have shown us young people have vital gifts to share and that they are hungry for refuge.

The school is place for developing skills, mentoring, honouring and spaces to deepen into a lived experience of connectedness and belonging. It will be affordable, be caring, spacious and have periods of community, silence and solitude. It will provide opportunities to offer and celebrate collective talents and giving service to the local community. It will value embodied movement to explore the heART of meditation.

The school is inspired by the explorations, life and living of Tarchin Hearn and Mary Jenkins. We are blessed to of spent time with numerous teachers (Chime Shore, Bonni Ross, Jangchub Reid, Joel & Michelle Levey to name a few), acknowledging these examples and demonstrations of living well, it is the life and living of Tarchin Hearn that is the primary motivator for the schools existence and curriculum.  

Mix all these things together with service, heart and have them cook long enough for what they are learning to sink beyond the intellect into the flesh and bones of every situation and circumstance. This is something about the vision that is bringing this school into being.

Who are we?

Where will it take place?

How and when?

How much?

These questions and all the information you need to share the merit of this daring/caring adventure into education can be obtained from our mailing list.

Click here to stay in touch as we bring forth a worldwide school of immeasurable wisdom and compassion, it is helpful to know we have friends supporting us. It takes a whole (global/interbeing) community to raise a child...and it takes a whole child to bring forth a wholesome community. We need each other, all of us.

If you are already signed up to the Bodhi Seeds mailing list there is no need to join.

Blessings, blessings, blessings, life is blessing.

Jaime Howell

If you have questions about supporting the school other than joining our mailing list, you are welcome to share them with us at, jaimeopeningminds@gmail.com