Events

October

21st-23rd, Oxford. The Heart of Healing: Residential Weekend Journey

We can heal ourselves and yet we can also be the main obstacle to our own healing. Life itself is overflowing with healing blessings and perhaps the most natural experience in being alive can be to enjoy the state of radiant health. Though clearly for many this is not the case. The inner source of healing is activated by the awakening of the power of our own hearts and minds. The peaceful heart and mind are the true source of healing.

For many years my spiritual journey has focused in many ways on healing. From earlier times my own state of disharmony and dis-ease with life led me on a life-long healing journey. At one point in my mid twenties when I was beginning to explore the spiritual aspects of life I commissioned an astrologer to prepare a birth chart. In this I was strongly encouraged as part of the plan of my life to discover what health really is, what it is based on and what promotes it and then contribute the understanding to others. He also mentioned that as this was partly based on harmony, rhythm and balance this was where my musical interest was leading. Inayat khan, the Sufi mystic, says essentially the same thing that health is based on rhythm and tone.

Essentially this is what I have devoted much of my life in doing (and being) through music, dance, mantra, meditation, breath, development of the mind and the heart and many other healing modalities.

For some time I have wanted to share in a more focused way the practices and techniques for healing of heart, mind and body that I have found most effective, both in my own life and in helping others. This is a step in that journey. The weekend will be mostly experiential rather than theoretical and will offer practical methods that if taken to heart and practiced regularly will awaken you to the heart of healing. Through breath, dance, mantra, meditation, heart awareness and focus of mind I will share practices you will be easily able to relate to and begin to master for yourself.

Venue: Carmelite Retreat Centre, Chilswell, Boars Hill, Oxford. OX1 5HB. Accommodation in single or twin rooms. The weekend will begin on Friday with supper at 6.30pm and will end on Sunday after lunch.

Further details. Contact: Philip

November

10th-13th Prescott, Arizona. Cultivating Inner Spaciousness. Non-Residential Retreat

Pure awareness is something to be directly experienced rather than understood. Thinking will not get us there as it beyond the realm of thought. The absence of pure awareness in our lives manifests in various ways of course but beyond the problems we may experience there is the desire to be whole and complete, to be at peace with oneself and to be fully self expressed. Pure awareness is beyond time and space yet is everywhere. We live and move and have our being in this awareness yet we may remain largely unaware of it. Is it a possibility for us to live in the present moment, trusting in one’s intuition, free from the past and the future, free from the grip of emotions, without judgement and able to feel anything and everything? 

Vigyana Bhairava Tantra is an ancient tantric text of the Shaiva tradition, which presents 112 ways to open the invisible door of consciousness and for awakening into reality through everyday life experience. It offers an incredible variety of spiritual practices and ways of discovering Pure Awareness. In this system no realm of human experience is excluded from the field of spiritual realization. The basic dynamics of life such as breathing, falling asleep, waking up, walking, loving, all of these are used as gateways into Pure Awareness. Concentrations are given using sound, breath, heart, mind, body-awareness, mantra music, dance, external and internal life situations, emotions and many other areas of human experience. It is basically a comprehensive manual for self-realization.

The retreat will focus on practices from the Vigyana Bhairava Tantra. We will also include as a primary focus spiritual dance and music both of which are mentioned in the tantra as methods of awakening.

Further details: Contact  Barakat

27th Glastonbury. Experience the Aramaic Beatitudes: Breath, Body, Heart, Healing

This is a rare opportunity to experience the danced body prayers using the original Aramaic words of the Beatitudes attributed to Jesus.

The pioneering exploration into the Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic originated with Neil Douglas Klotz more than 25 years ago. Translations and meditations on the Aramaic words of Jesus appear in Neil’s highly acclaimed book Prayers of the Cosmos.

Many people’s lives have been transformed by Neil’s work including Philip’s. He began studying with Neil in 1988 and has worked with him closely ever since. It is no exaggeration to say that his experiences of the Beatitudes and Aramaic Prayer with Neil dramatically changed the course of his life.

It could be said that the Beatitudes are the essence of the entire message of Jesus. When explored as spiritual practice that engages the breath, the heart, the body and the mind they can lead to healing at a deep inner level. Dealing with life as it is with all its challenges, Jesus offers sound methods for us to experience harmony with our inner selves, with others and with life itself. Tuned to the source, happy and healthy are those who breathe in harmony with the cosmic currents, who can feel things fully, can soften what is rigid within, have compassion, passion and purpose, who can always strike the note that unites.

This day is more likely to be suitable for those with some previous experience of spiritual chant and dance. It is also fine for new people to attend who have a sense of inner adventure towards engaging with body, heart and mind in a new way. The words in Aramaic are relatively easy to learn as are the  melodies and movements of the body prayers. Mostly they are danced and sung as we move together in a circle.

Further details. Contact: Philip

29th Bridport, Dorset. Sufi Meditation and Spiritual Dance. Evening Session

Sufis have called the practice of zikr “the remembrance of perfection and the perfection of remembrance.” Chanted, moved, breathed, in silence and in sound, zikr invites us to a complete awareness of the living potentials within our soul. These sessions will be exploring the realm of zikr, wasifa (sacred phrase), breath, walk and meditation. Many Sufis over the centuries have used singing in combination with dancing as a spiritual practice and we will also explore these methods.

For thousands of years the mystics of the East have understood the importance of the power of sound and its repetition. The combination of sacred syllables form a nucleus of spiritual energy that we could say serve as either a magnet toattract or a lens to focus spiritual vibrations. Use of the voice in this way produces a wholes series of physiological, psychological and spiritual effects. Such concentrations can bring a deep sense of peace and joy as can be experienced with other forms of meditation.

The sessions are open anyone who wishes to explore the subtle inner dimensions of heart and mind and to experience a greater sense of inner spaciousness and peace. No previous experience is necessary.

Times: 7.30pm – 9.30pm. Please arrive in time for a prompt start at 7.30pm.
Further details: Linda Heeks. Tel. 01308 425371. Email: lindaheeks@btinternet.com

December

2nd-6th, Oxford. Strength in Silence and Action: the Path of the Malik. Retreat for Sufi Mureeds 

For most of his life, Murshid Samuel Lewis followed the path of the Malik, a way he describes as one of “breath, silence and magnetism.” At the same time, one actively lives one’s life in the world, even or especially in troubling times.

In an important series of lessons on this theme, he shares many practices and teachings important for every Sufi mureed. All mureeds do not follow the path of the teacher, but we can all follow this way of inner and outer “mastery,” no matter how limited or wide our life’s circumstances may be.

Our annual retreat will explore these rich teachings, and share zikr, walking meditation, silent meditation, dance, walk and other practices applicable to healing ourselves and our communities.

“If we look at things from the standpoint of complete spiritual development, we shall recognise that there is Peacefulness behind all manifestation and that every aspect of the manifestation gets its magnetism from this fundamental Peace. Or one can put it in the phrase: Peace is Power.” – Murshid Samuel L. Lewis.

“Sitting in silence, in composure, one works within the heart, so to speak, and then finds the whole universe within the Heart, as the Upanishads teach. And then one is able to help oneself and others and the whole world, the total manifestation.”

Venue: Carmelite Retreat Centre, Chilswell, Boars Hill, Oxford. OX1 5HB. Accommodation in single or twin rooms. The weekend will begin on Friday with supper at 6.30pm and will end on Tuesday after lunch.

Further details. Contact: Philip

11th Burton Bradstock, Othona Community. The Aramaic Prayer of Jesus – Dancing into AwarenessTake a spiritual journey into the timeless wisdom of Jesus, with Philip O’Donohoe. This danced prayer cycle uses words attributed to Jesus in his native Aramaic language and can allow one to experience the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ in an entirely new way. Through heart-centred body prayer and devotional singing this prayer offers the opportunity to tune ourselves to God and helps us to live fully and intentionally in this awareness.

Many people confirm that the experience of singing and dancing the prayer in Aramaic has profound effects on them, bringing renewed focus and awareness to their daily life. No previous experience is necessary. All the words and movements are clearly taught and most people assimilate them with ease.

The movements and melodies of the Aramaic Prayer Cycle are the work of Neil Douglas-Klotz whose translations and meditations on the Aramaic words of Jesus appear in his highly acclaimed book “Prayers of the Cosmos”.

Please bring and share food for lunch. Booking. Contact Othona: Email: mail@othona-bb.org.uk

January

20th/21st, Brigsteer near Kendal. Sufi Dancing and Meditation. 

At this time of the year when it can be cold, windy, wet and dark it can be easy perhaps to feel downhearted, to long for the warmth of the sun. Yet there are ways to allow the inner sun of your own heart to shine more brightly and to feel its healing radiance flowing throughout your whole being.

Learn how to let your light shine more fully and to experience joy, real joy, in all its fullness. In joy we live and move and have our being we could say.

Taking time to replenish your inner being on a regular basis is a necessary form of healing and maintenance. Step aside from your busy life to taste some real spiritual nourishment. This kind of food for the soul is healing on all levels of being.

Our Sufi Dance gatherings happen in Brigsteer three times a year. It’s always so wonderful to join in the circle together. Each time we gather we have the sense of reconnecting with Unity, of Re-Union with the Beloved. It is our Yoga, our Union with the Divine. As we say in our Zikr, our Remembrance of Unity, la illaha illa ‘llah. There is only One Reality which is Unity.

In our circle everyone stands equal to everyone else. The dances, or more accurately we could call them body prayers, are easy and accessible. The movements are simple and the sacred phrases of the chants are all explained fully. It’s an easy process and we all come as we are. As Rumi would say, “Whatever coin you may bring along is acceptable currency.”

There are many layers of being to be explored and mastered on the spiritual path. Sufi practices are the most joyful way to share this journey with other people that I have ever come across.

The weekend is non-residential and will take place at Brigsteer Village Hall, a spacious and clear, ecological venue in a tranquil setting with plenty of parking. For those travelling from further afield there is accommodation in the village. Brigsteer is less than four miles and only a ten minute drive from Kendal.

Bring along mats and blankets for relaxing in the breaks and also cushions for the sitting meditations if you prefer. The hall has plenty of chairs.

Further details. Contact: madowson@gmail.com

February

24th-26th Crewe. Baraka: The Energy of the Heart. With Neil Doublas Klotz and Philip

There is a spiritual fluid or essence which may be called Baraka which is an emanation from a living force, a vital force. As one assimilates it, one becomes more alive and so advances on the spiritual path.

Murshid Samuel L. Lewis

When we look into the depths of our being, we may find the same human questions that have arisen in our species for millenia. Why are we here? How do we find a way forward? How do we relate to others? How do feel a sense of connection rather than isolation? How can we feel safe in a changing world? We can also find, buried deep inside, the most important answers to these questions. These reside in what many spiritual traditions call the “heart.”

In this retreat, we will explore the relation of life energy – our vitality for life; and heart- the centre of our purpose and joy. When we find the balance between life and love, we discover the energy of heart, which the Sufis call Baraka. We can begin to live not only ‘mindfully’ but also ‘heart-fully.’

The heart is the fountain of Baraka, which is a living magnetic transmission of the blessings of the cosmos. Breath is the channel that brings the blessings of Baraka down to earth. The metaphysical aspects of breath are an area of considerable study in of the esoteric schools. The one who masters breath masters life itself. As we purify our mind through meditation and other practices the ability to absorb and to give out Baraka increases. Literally we become transformers of life energy for the benefit of those around us as well as for our own benefit and growth.

Drawing from spiritual methods inspired by the ancient traditions of humanity, as well as current body-oriented psychology we will enjoy the practices of Dances of Universal Peace, sitting meditation, walking meditation, Zen and other Dharmic practices, chant, and Sufi stories.

The venue: The Oblate Retreat and Spirituality Centre is located between Crewe and Nantwich. It is 1.5 miles from Crewe railways station, with easy access to motorways and to Manchester airport. The comfortable rooms are mainly twin and singles – many en suite. Vegetarian food option is available. Please indicate preference at the time of booking. The weekend begins with supper at 6.30pm on the Friday and ends on the Sunday after lunch.

Further details. Contact: Philip

April
22nd/23rd, Brigsteer near Kendal. Sufi Dancing and Meditation. 

Taking time to replenish your inner being on a regular basis is a necessary form of healing and maintenance. Step aside from your busy life to taste some real spiritual nourishment. This kind of food for the soul is healing on all levels of being.

Our Sufi Dance gatherings happen in Brigsteer three times a year. It’s always so wonderful to join in the circle together. Each time we gather we have the sense of reconnecting with Unity, of Re-Union with the Beloved. It is our Yoga, our Union with the Divine. As we say in our Zikr, our Remembrance of Unity, la illaha illa ‘llah. There is only One Reality which is Unity.

In our circle everyone stands equal to everyone else. The dances, or more accurately we could call them body prayers, are easy and accessible. The movements are simple and the sacred phrases of the chants are all explained fully. It’s an easy process and we all come as we are. As Rumi would say, “Whatever coin you may bring along is acceptable currency.”

There are many layers of being to be explored and mastered on the spiritual path. Sufi practices are the most joyful way to share this journey with other people that I have ever come across.

The weekend is non-residential and will take place at Brigsteer Village Hall, a spacious and clear, ecological venue in a tranquil setting with plenty of parking. For those travelling from further afield there is accommodation in the village. Brigsteer is less than four miles and only a ten minute drive from Kendal.

Bring along mats and blankets for relaxing in the breaks and also cushions for the sitting meditations if you prefer. The hall has plenty of chairs.

Further details. Contact: madowson@gmail.com

May
5th-7th, Oxford. Dance Leader Training: Ease, Simplicity and Spaciousness. Residential weekend.
As we all know leading dances is a continuous unfoldment of inner and outer capacity and the development of potential. I know from my own experience that  there is always more to learn and appreciate about the energy of the dances and the path of dance leading. This is no doubt the case whatever stage we are at in this journey.
We will again be focussing on the inner transmission and the deeper aspects and refinements of the dances and walking practices. As with trainings in many other disciplines after spending much energy, time and enthusiasm learning how to lead dances as the years pass by people can lose their sense of purpose and direction and begin to drift away. My intention for keeping these annual training weekends alive is to help people continue to develop their skills and retain their enthusiasm for and commitment to leading the dances. Many times there are places that we come up against in ourselves which we find it difficult to move through and so we begin to pull back. While we may interpret the problem as being external to us (people don’t show up, it’s too difficult to keep a group going where I live. What’s the point? etc.) the solution is always within us. I have come up against this kind of thing in myself many times over the years and as many of you know have almost given up leading dances on a few occasions. However I have always found that when I had the courage to open up to whatever energy within me is causing me to feel stuck that my commitment and my capacity invariably strengthened, deepened and widened. We break through to a new and different level.
The Dances are such a gift to humanity particularly at this time.  It is a shame that we hide their light under a bushel. There’s no need for the dances to remain as one of the world’s best kept secrets! The dances are in our hands. It’s up to us. Success in leading the dances however we understand that is mostly the result of keeping on keeping on.
Venue: Carmelite Retreat Centre, Chilswell, Boars Hill, Oxford. OX1 5HB. Accommodation in single or twin rooms. The weekend will begin on Friday with supper at 6.30pm and will end on Sunday after lunch.

Further details. Contact: Philip

September
23rd/24th, Brigsteer near Kendal. Sufi Dancing and Meditation. 

Learn how to let your light shine more fully and to experience joy, real joy, in all its fullness. In joy we live and move and have our being we could say. Taking time to replenish your inner being on a regular basis is a necessary form of healing and maintenance. Step aside from your busy life to taste some real spiritual nourishment. This kind of food for the soul is healing on all levels of being.

Our Sufi Dance gatherings happen in Brigsteer three times a year. It’s always so wonderful to join in the circle together. Each time we gather we have the sense of reconnecting with Unity, of Re-Union with the Beloved. It is our Yoga, our Union with the Divine. As we say in our Zikr, our Remembrance of Unity, la illaha illa ‘llah. There is only One Reality which is Unity.

In our circle everyone stands equal to everyone else. The dances, or more accurately we could call them body prayers, are easy and accessible. The movements are simple and the sacred phrases of the chants are all explained fully. It’s an easy process and we all come as we are. As Rumi would say, “Whatever coin you may bring along is acceptable currency.”

There are many layers of being to be explored and mastered on the spiritual path. Sufi practices are the most joyful way to share this journey with other people that I have ever come across.

The weekend is non-residential and will take place at Brigsteer Village Hall, a spacious and clear, ecological venue in a tranquil setting with plenty of parking. For those travelling from further afield there is accommodation in the village. Brigsteer is less than four miles and only a ten minute drive from Kendal.

Bring along mats and blankets for relaxing in the breaks and also cushions for the sitting meditations if you prefer. The hall has plenty of chairs.

Further details. Contact: madowson@gmail.com