Firstly I would like to thank all the instructors who made the huge effort to travel all the way from the United States and down here to Australia, the distance between the two continents are quite far.. at least relative to our bodies and mode of transport.
I tried my best to enter the retreat with as little expectations as possible, although my mind still managed to have a few hidden away, for the curious, my major expectation was to learn how to meditate effectively.
Although the retreat endured for 5 days, the schedule or program that was followed by all the participants, rendered the retreat effective and potent without being overly intensive.
I enjoyed the relaxed and friendly attitude of the instructors, they were easy to talk with and were kind to answer our questions even if it meant taking more time out of their free-time period, I want to thank you for your patience and generosity, so thank you.
During the meditation sessions, the instructor would layout a formula for us to follow, although this was in some ways systematic, mainly due to the fact that it was a group session, the system or formula is actually quite dynamic and not a rigid step by step procedure.
For instance, the elements that make up the formula can be used to investigate why our meditation practice is not progressing, I experimented with this, during one of the sessions, nearing the end of the retreat, I decided to probe into why I was experiencing difficulty at some points in my practice, using the formula; relax, pray, concentrate, visualize. I was starting to uncover a sophisticated defense mechanism submerged within my own mind, this mechanism was stopping me from progressing further, at least in that session.
On another note I never really incorporated Prayer apart from an introduction into the meditation practice (which I'm sure is fine) and would leave it as that, yet now i'm seeing the benefits of using Prayer in deeper levels of the practice as well.
I'm sure this only scratched the surface, yet that was enough for me to see the value of this dynamic system of practice.
The meditation sessions were varied yet within reason, although they were primarily focused on deep-introspection or retrospection, reviewing our day, our interactions with the things around us (people, objects etc), with our thoughts and feelings, they also included, in the morning sessions, retrospection of our dreams and incorporating Mantra recitation to help excavate some of those deeply buried memories.
Lectures were held each day, they lasted approximately 2 hours long and filled with great advice and explanations to help us understand Gnosis more clearly, I learned that some of my initial concepts of Gnosis were not quite right and that others were inline, as a solo student (apart from this retreat, I have not and do not attend any Gnostic centres) this has inspired me to keep studying but remaining with a pliable mind so as not to get stuck in any kind of mental mould.
All the individuals that attended the retreat were very helpful, the group radiated a strong sense of mutual respect, we shared ideas, our understandings, breakfast-lunch and dinner, everyone got along, we were all friends, brothers and sisters. The facility that housed the retreat was wonderful, the Australian landscape is diverse and filled with aroma, the gardens around the venue reflected that.
I highly recommend the retreats to anybody, there's a sort of energizing effect when practicing with a group, something quite unique and inspirational.
Thank you again to everybody who made this happen, peace to all!