Eight Plum Village monastics and three lay friends traveled to Ireland and the UK to deliver workshops to nearly 600 people in October and November 2012. A massive thank you to everyone who helped make the Wake Up UK 2012 a great success! We have uploaded some pictures from the tour.
Below is some feedback from workshop attendees and organizers:
“I was lucky enough to attend the Mindfulness Workshop for Young People on Saturday 20 October at Kings College Chapel, Strand, London and will always remember the experience gained in this workshop. Having practised meditation everyday for two years, the workshop served as a solid foundation for my practice. It was wonderfully peaceful hearing the monks speak, taking part in the walking meditation and having the chance to ask the Monks questions throughout the day. The whole workshop was extremely inclusive and I was able to share my experiences of my meditative practices with fellow workshop attendees. I especially enjoyed the deep meditation session and the eating meditation – I found both sessions really spiritually grounding and fulfilling.
My special moment of the day was sharing experiences with fellow workshop attendees, it was amazing to practice mindfulness meditation in such a glorious surrounding with like-minded people. The whole day was brilliant and will stay with me as one of the best meditative experiences I have had to date.”
“I find organising workshops really amazing anyway but this year I was lucky enough to be part of a fantastic team with Giulia and Helena that made the process really fun. Being part of a group really took the sting out of it.
We’ve managed to start a Wake Up group in Cambridge as a result of the tour. It’s incredible – this has never happened before! We meet up every week and normally about 3-5 turn up, which is great!”
– Patrick, Cambridge workshop organizer
“The mindfulness workshop London was a wonderful experience which filtered through to my Sunday and Monday leaving me feeling peaceful and calm. It was such simple yet profound instruction which we put into practice straight away. To focus on your breath and to enjoy that moment. I couldn’t help but feel lifted by the smiling monks and nuns who had journeyed from the monastery in France and had set out across the UK to invite people to relax into their own bodies – what a wonderful quest!!
I hope that more people can have the opportunity to experience this workshop and this way of being. Though life in London can be delightfully busy it can be easy to become over stimulated and easily bored when one has to wait or when everyone is out and you’re home alone. This workshop shone some light on the notion that mindfulness practice can help you relish and treasure those moments.
I head to Plum Village this Friday for some extended mindfulness practice…sometimes it’s easy to wake up but also easy to hit the snooze button…here’s to jumping out of bed and flinging the curtains wide open!”
“It was a joy to organise the retreat with my Sangha friends from Dublin, even if I don’t live in Ireland. It has helped to strengthen the bond among us.There has been more interest in mindfulness and many who came to the Wake Up weekend retreat in Newgrange have asked to keep in touch and to have another Wake Up weekend retreat next Spring.The sangha meetings in Dublin alternate between Friday evenings and Sunday evenings. The number of members varies between 6 and 10 people…My hope is to continue growing the Wake Up movement in Ireland and help to create other Wake Up sanghas outside Dublin”
– Hong-An, Dublin retreat organizer
“Eating meditation was very powerful for me as this is something I really struggle with in my own practice. It was great to hear the monks and nuns talking about mindfulness and their experiences.”
“There was quite a lot of organisation but it was all manageable and worthwhile. I’m hoping that our group in Cambridge will bring some flowers to our lives and practice. That’s a humble but good-enough dream, I think :)”
– Helena, Cambridge workshop organizer
“Traveling on a Wake Up tour is unique experience for me to bridge monastery life with the ‘real world’. Being in close quarters with monastics for a month facilitates the space for a deep community practice environment, while traveling together and putting on events allows for many unplanned variables to arise and to be worked through. As a lay practitioner, this interplay of ‘being’ and ‘doing’ out in the real world is an important area of development, and this recent tour provided loads of nourishment for my aspiration to be the change.
A special moment for me: A cozy evening in Glasgow, gathered around dinner table in Wkup Ambassador Michael Bready’s home with his entire family, sharing a meal and singing ‘Watering Seeds of Joy’ together.”
– Brandon, tour assistant
“I noticed myself struggling during the day because all the mindfulness practices were being related to the London life style – fast paced, busy, public transport, having a job, working for a living, and so on. Where as that is not my life style and never has been, yet mindfulness training is still so invaluable to the life I live, and I noticed that I was getting frustrated with always having the different practices related to something I could not relate to. Knowing that I needed to let go of this and appreciate that I was in London with Londoners, I remember entering into the deep relaxation acknowledging that this could be the exact medicine or help I needed to let go. And it was. I normally don’t stress about things, but having the stress I just mentioned going into the deep relaxation, and then coming out of it absolutely freed, was magic. A few days before I was in the field where I harvest open pollinated seeds, and was feeling a little tired or uneasy, and I always try and fix this feeling with something material – food or something. And although I did sit down and eat some soup, I also just laid in the grass for a few minutes, and after that I was totally refreshed and ended up finishing this huge job I thought would take me two days. Then having gone and done the deep relaxation and being gifted a deeper awareness of what it means, I am keen to invite it as a new practice of healing, instead of always reaching for something material to ‘fix’ what is going on with me.”
“Being part of a collective group thinking towards a commom idea and supporting each other in mind and ideas…was wonderful.”
“I have been inspired to continue to be more mindful and have been practicing breathing mindfully on a daily basis. I hope to attend another guided meditation workshop next week. I am still at the stage where I find the guided sessions really help and hope to soon be at a stage were I feel able to guide myself through deep meditation (without falling asleep)”
“Thank you for making the retreat so peaceful, enjoyable and healing. I hope to be able to attend other events in future, perhaps even come to Plum Village.”
“Beautiful deep practice in Trafalgar square after the workshop, right in the middle of the protests happening in London on that day.(!)”
“I really enjoyed meditating together, and singing together”
“Thank you so much, it has made a real difference to my life and my prospects of coping with every day.”
“I feel extremely fortunate to have stumbled upon this movement and hope that we can all spread the philosophy of living mindfully amongst our loved ones. Thank you.”
“I wanted to belatedly thank you for the brilliant mindfulness session you guys organised at Kings College London. I learnt a few simple but efficient practices that I have already began to assimilate into my everyday life. I can still hear the calming & soothing words of sister peace…. In/ Out. Arrived/ Home.”
“The group sharing was very special.”