I was born and educated in India, at a time when the distractions and entertainments of today did not exist. It was a slower world, before the internet, computers, i-anything, television, dvds, mp3s, blue ray, supermarkets, shopping malls and so many things that are part of the landscape we take for granted today. Education encompassed Indian arts, culture, and a living, spiritual philosophy for a healthy mind in a healthy body; and for those who chose to pursue it, academia. Teachings and guidance from elders, sages and gurus was part of normal life, as was the sacred. Decades of discipline and training have led me to a deep, spiritual understanding of the path of unity and living peace, which I happily share as a teacher, author and practitioner. The greatest guru is the practice itself. Principles, discipline and devotion all guide you into deepening your practice.
My meditation retreats provide an opportunity to explore living peace and your practices in depth, in a meditative environment. Meditation instructions are provided before the sitting for those who are new, and to revisit the instructions. Group practice is a powerful support for individual meditation practice. Meditators at every level of experience are welcome to join in for some or all of these practice events.
The power of meditation to change people’s lives, and to expand their abilities and thus beneficially affect the world around them has never ceased to humble me. Even at our weekend retreats, when retreatants have meditated only for two days, the kind of meditative depth they have been able to fall into, aided by the power of their collective practice and shared intention, is indeed inspiring.
The key to success lies in your progress to shake off mental chatter. It is the ability to be consistently be mindful, work with your strengths and manage your weaknesses on a daily basis, and break down any conflicting beliefs that stand in your way. The movement of going within is not a reaction to the outer: outer and inner are the same movement, they are not separate. Divisions such as outer and inner breed insensitivity. Going within is the natural flow of the outer; the movement of the inner has its own action, expressed outwardly but it is not a section of the outer. Awareness of the entire movement is sensitivity. This can be achieved by your daily practice. Developing and sustaining a powerful meditation practice, supports a greater awareness of presence, a conscious and wholehearted relationship with life, and more effective work in the world.
Using depth, wisdom, intelligence, loving kindness, compassion, understanding and a sense of fun is how I like to work with my students. Some have chosen to follow in my footsteps and are now teachers, continuing my work. That’s why I’m honoured to have the privilege of journeying with you as we awaken to an evolutionary relationship with life and open up to our natural state, during regular, immersive, meditation retreats. These retreats serve the needs of new and experienced meditators alike. You can dive into the depths of meditation at Nirvana, our breathtaking, sacred, spiritual sanctuary in Beechmont, Queensland, using tried-and-true practices. You can rest here and be thankful, away from the noisy hustle and bustle of your daily life.
My vision has been to bring people who are interested in meditation into an ideal environment to explore and experience meditation’s greatest potential in a way that offers a profound experience during the retreat as well as having a lasting impact afterwards. It’s exciting to transmit the power of this practice to a small community of meditators in such an idyllic setting. Meditating together in the sacred sanctuary of this spectacular, scenic, mountain meadow, surrounded by snowy gums, red cedars, strangler figs and rosewood trees, we journey into the heart of authentic spiritual awakening. There is no wifi in the forest, yet you will find a connection. Nirvana Wellness retreats foster a strong camaraderie and genuine fellowship with kindred spirits that many of us yearn for, on our authentic spiritual path.
Come, relax and enjoy a weekend or longer, in the serene tranquility of Nirvana Wellness Retreat and allow your mind to quieten and your heart to open up to the abundant spaciousness of life.
A weekend program begins on Friday evening, with a delicious, communal dinner at 6-7pm, followed by mindful breathing and meditation before bed. Experience a full day of noble silence at retreat on Saturday. Saturday morning begins with walking meditation in silence at 7.30am. We intersperse sitting and walking meditation practice throughout the day, conducted both indoors, and in different locations around the property.
You do not need to have any meditation experience to participate, but attendees must be prepared to commit to mindful silence, or at least functional speech, and understand the chilled out nature of a meditation retreat.
There will be at least one spiritual talk on meditation practice, guided instructions and a group discussion. The accent is on simplicity, listening, and contemplative practice.
Please bring several layers of clothing, outdoor gear and sun block. Be conservative about the use of mobile phones, ipods and personal earphone devices.
The wonderful benefits of meditation include (but are not restricted to) its capacity to instantly help you...
- Reduce stress
- Improve your sleep
- Increase your focus
- Boost your creativity and energy
- Harmonise your body and help it heal itself.
Below are listed meditation retreats that will be conducted throughout the year on the Gold Coast. Feel welcome to come and join us if the deeper experience of peace and calmness is your thing.
1-3 February Calm Abiding. Direct Awakening (weekend: 2 nights)
GRATITUDE: UNCOVERING THE PATH OF GRACE
Everyday we experience moments that can only be described as life’s grace. Every moment of beauty, every acknowledgement, the warmth of a smile, a gentle breeze, a shower of rain, clouds, sunlight, stars are all moments of grace. Grace is the perfumes of the divine, the feeling we wish to hold onto forever. Grace is everything good and everything challenging that comes our way. Every moment of grace is food for our soul. The path of grace, once found, is clear. Following the path of grace in our life is to find the path that keeps us in the heart of life, reminding us that we are alive, despite everything else that is happening around us. With grace there is no limit, only potential and possibility. Grace is the God's joy and laughter in this moment, and receiving life’s grace is a path that is always giving, always uniting our hearts with the present. In the spiritual practice of grace we only want to be available, with deep humility and emptiness. In meditation, when thoughts clear and there is only space, gratitude creeps in. Gratitude and grace are twin flames that dance brightly together.
5-7 January 2018
CALM ABIDING. DIRECT AWAKENING
Then the silence lifts, and we proceed with the original conversations with God,
Each day will include periods of meditation, yoga nidra (deep relaxation) and gentle yoga, and during the course of the retreat, we have short philosophical (dharma) talks and group discussion to deepen our understanding of our dharma in the world.
Together we establish a retreat environment that includes daily practice, noble silence, simple group meals and participation in food preparation and clean-up, in the garden and other tasks.
We culminate the retreat with a wonderful weekend spent with the Seven Spiritual Laws of Healing and conclude the retreat with a delicious Sunday feast before we head down the mountain back to our home.
Concentration, by definition, is unification of attention. Powerful concentration is an antidote to the hindrances that arise, not only on the meditation cushion but also in daily life. The Pali word jhana comes from the Sanskrit word dhyana, which means to think, or to meditate and to burn up (jhapeti) opposing states.
THE SEVEN SPIRITUAL LAWS OF HEALING:
BALANCING THE CHAKRAS
Chakras are energy centres in the subtle body. The word 'chakra' is derived from the Sanskrit (ancient Indian language) which means 'wheel'. Like a whirling vortex where energy flows through, chakras are like invisible, rechargeable batteries that become a powerhouse when fully charged. They are charged and recharged through contact with the stream of cosmic and divine energy in the atmosphere much the same way that your home is connected to a central power source within your own city…the main difference being that this cosmic energy source is free, similar to the sun which provides solar energy. The 'current' runs up and down your spine, from the top of your head to the base of your spine.
Within the body are seven main chakras and innumerable minor ones. The chakras regulate the flow of energy through meridians, the energetic network that courses through the subtle body, like the wiring in your house, the body houses the energetic system that allows currents to be sent to every part for use when needed. However, like a break in a circuit, because of stress, emotional or physical problems, chakras sometimes become blocked. If energy cannot flow freely throughout your system, it creates physical, mental or emotional imbalances that can cause illness.
These seven power centres within you generate the emotional states of fear, lust, anger, courage, acceptance, peace and unity. As each chakra is skilfully stimulated, its movement balanced, and the movement of energy within you harnessed, extraordinary powers of the mind are awakened, altered states of consciousness are accessed and feelings of pleasure, bliss and peace of mind are unlocked. Once this is done, you will have a better feel for the world around you and relate to it in an optimal way physically, mentally and spiritually.
This timeless teaching is derived from sages, known as rishis. They have laid out a map for us to explore higher states of consciousness, through which we can awaken dormant potentials, a journey which starts from the ground up, and encompasses the base or root (muladhara), the sacral (swadhisthana), solar plexus (manipura), the heart section (anahata), the brow (ajna) and and its crowning culmination (sahasrara) in a transcendent state of consciousness that is beyond dream, sleep and waking. To practice awakening and moving energy, mind or consciousness around in the physical body is not part of the Western cultural vocabulary as yet. But it is steeped in yogic tradition and accessible and empowering to all.
- Meditation as Nourishment
- Touching, Connecting, Healing - the body, nature, the senses
- Looking Deeply
- Healing Feelings
- Causes and Conditions - conditional arising; interbeing; true nature; aggregates
- will help you see the impact of self-judgement and blame
- replaces the urge to try to fix everything
- deepens your capacity to forgive yourself and others
- increases your capacity to be present, which is crucial to the work of healing
- helps you find compassion for a person that you don't like
- allows you to relax during uncertainty.
Mind training is not about manipulating, reforming, brainwashing or exerting authority, dominance and masgtery over others. It is about self masgtery. This meditation program, Training the Mind unpacks insights of self-healing, altruism and transformation, within ourselves and our relationships. The enquiry about love, both human and divine, takes us to a higher place of spiritual and romantic understanding and will encompass wisdom topics such as
Peace in Every Breath
Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.
Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television... Read more about Shantiji's biography
Travel with Shanti & Peter Gowans this November for a trip of a lifetime.