Lammas Permaculture Retreat
Our permaculture retreats focus on immersing ourselves in Nature so that our needs emerge in co-evolution with our environment. The essence of permaculture is not really about designing sustainable gardens, but recognising that everything we need is already here! We need to shift our perception. Sometimes this just happens, or you can prepare with shamanic work, sacred plants, mantra or mindfulness.
The first principle of permaculture is “observe and interact”. Our approach is to take a few steps back and start with relaxation. We can’t immerse ourselves in Nature, or observe and interact in harmony if we are tense and our minds are full of junk.
We use meditation, Qi Gong, yoga and sacred plants to bring ourselves into a peaceful state of mind, so that we can align with Nature on Her terms. Nature isn’t busy with thoughts, judgments and plans; She just flows.
Our next step is to invoke intent. Intent is not the same as intention. Setting an intention is to make a decision and impose it on the environment as an act of will. Intent on the other hand is a capacity, the force of life that manifests reality. It isn’t ours, but we have access to it.
Invoking intent is not about wishing or thinking or deciding anything. It is the perfectly articulated expression of a heart-felt desire that emerges from deep inside us, without any chatter or conflicting thoughts from the rational mind. This takes practice.
In The Power of Silence Don Juan explains how “intent is beckoned with the eyes” by moving to the “place of no pity” which is characterised by a specific shine to the eyes. The “place of no pity” is Don Juan’s way of describing the point where you get over your self-importance and are fully present, without mental chatter. The power is in the silence.
The ‘shiny eyes’ is like being ‘moved to tears’ in the presence of great love or beauty, humbled, fully present and self-less. To bring yourself to that state and then focus the attention is to act with intent.
We can’t do any better than to start with the intent to be fully present with Nature!
The act of observation involves so much more than just seeing. When we look at Nature, do we see what is really there? Or do we see what we expect to see, or what we have been conditioned to see? When you look at an untended garden, do you see weeds or a cornucopia of healer plants?
“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”
William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
It is much easier for us to “project” what we think we see onto reality than to be able to witness what is actually there. Without relaxation and conscious observation what we “perceive” or take into our experience is only a narcissistic illusion, our fantasy, and not real at all.
When we are relaxed and have invoked intent our powers of observation are liberated.
Feeling is a direct sensory experience not to be confused with our emotional responses, which tend to be ego-modulated. Although we might feel through our sense of touch, we might feel hot or cold, wet or dry, we are essentially decoding this information via our hearts.
To quote from Stephen Harrod Buhner’s wonderful book, The Secret Teaching of Plants:
“The whole body is cradled within the electromagnetic field generated by the heart. The information embedded within that field is communicated to the external world through electromagnetic waves reaching out from the body. It is communicated within the body through the blood stream, which conducts electromagnetic impulses throughout the body…….
But the heart is not only concerned with its interior world. Its electromagnetic field allows it to touch the dynamic electromagnetic fields created by other living organisms and to exchange energy. Like all nonlinear systems that display self-organization and emergent behaviors, the heart is supremely sensitive to external perturbations that may affect its dynamic equilibrium. The heart not only transmits field pulses of electromagnetic energy, it also receives them, like a radio in a car. And like a radio, it is able to decode the information embedded within the electromagnetic fields it senses. It is, in fact, an organ of perception. “
Simply put, we need to stop, breathe and feel the biosphere in which we exist.
Acceptance is related to observation. We need to accept what we observe, even if we don’t like it, so that we don’t waste our energy. Acceptance is like an anchor that keeps us connected to reality. For example, you might not like the fact that your garden is on a north-facing slope, but if you cannot accept that you will waste a lot of time and money by trying to do things that will not work in that situation.
Acceptance is about non-resistance; it’s got nothing to do with approval or agreement, it is just a conscious acknowledgement of what is. It is the foundation for everything that comes after.
At a deeper level it is an expression of unconditional love.
Desire is the basis for creativity and creation and to suppress desire is completely unnatural. Our aim is to recognise, accept and express our desires in a way that is in harmony with Nature.
What do you want? What is your Highest Desire?
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
“The imaginatio, or the act of imagining, was thus a physical activity that could be fitted into the cycle of material changes that brought these about and was brought about by them in turn.”
C. J. Jung
As we imagine we are also imagined and this is the key to co-evolving with Nature.
The ‘peak permaculture experience’ is about Love and Oneness, not about yields or usage; everything emerges from immersion. In our permaculture retreats we connect deeply as we work on projects or participate in workshops. We are always learning how to apply the wisdom of natural ecosystems to insights in our lives, our communities and in the garden of our heart. We will practice stopping, dwelling in the wonderful present moment, taking our time and doing everything in mindfulness: walking, sitting, eating, working, relaxing, having fun playing in the garden and becoming aware of all the wonderful conditions that support life in us and around us. In this way we learn to look at our own lives and all the elements that come together to create what we are living right here, right now. Is this what we really want? Is this what the world needs? What seeds can we water more, which ones should we be careful with?
Our next retreat is Lammas 31st July – 3rd August.
- Introducing Mindfulness and Meditation
- Introduction to Effective Micro-organisms and how to use them to enhance productivity in the garden
- Principles of Gaian Healing and how to make them work in your life
- Making natural shampoo, toothpaste and non-toxic household products that work
- Introducing muscle-testing and how to work with your bodies innate intelligence
- Introducing the Gaian First Aid Kit and making an essential salve and tincture from weeds.
- Nature walks
- Cooking outside (basic alchemy)