Events

September 2018

22nd/23rd, Brigsteer near Kendal. Dancing into the Sillness of Heart and Mind

Life itself and how we live it is our real spiritual practice. We don’t have to go anywhere to be “more” spiritual but we do need to develop the awareness of our innate spiritual reality. Each moment our lives is filled with opportunities and challenges that are the grist for the mill of spiritual awakening. Perhaps we may be drawn to things like meditation, yoga, Buddhism, Sufism or one of the many other paths of unfoldment. Many find that the journey of spiritual awakening is perhaps life’s greatest and most rewarding adventure, especially when we share the journey with others who are drawn to similar methods of unfoldment.

Spiritual dancing can heal the hearts and minds of those who dance. As we immerse ourselves in the dancing and singing we generate a resonance that acts as a healing balm for the whole being. These dances are the most joyful and direct way to share the spiritual journey with others that I have come across which is why I have devoted my life to them. They offer a direct and accessible way to touch the deeper aspects of our being. Our rhythms of heart, of breath, of mind and of body can be a eased back into harmony through spiritual dancing.

The dances can gently take us into the silent spaces of heart and mind at the end of each dance and when we may sit in the stillness. When we cultivate the art of silence we will find a whole universe of vibration operating there. This silence is not empty, it is filled with all potentialities – all that life has to offer can be received from that space. As we calm the agitations of the mind we can engage with this ocean of potential each present moment.

These dances combine the transmission of blessing with the spirit of devotion in a dynamic and rhythmical way. Our focus is on the breath through the chants and mantras that we sing – as we learn to soar on the wings of the heart. Together we create a deliciously refined atmosphere. The energy of the dances circulates between all of the dancers in the whole circle in a fluid and harmonious way. The electricity of touch and the vibrational resonance of sound are subtle and at the same time influential forms of energetic communication that operate below our conscious level of awareness that can have a profound effect on the way we feel.

Our emphasis on this weekend will be both on the deeper aspects of dancing and meditative practices with a real spirit of joy. As we travel further on this inner path of awakening we develop a greater sense of inner freedom and equanimity of mind. Whenever we need to act there is always access to spontaneous right action. We live more in the present moment. We learn to trust and act upon our intuition. Our focus is more on being rather than doing. We come to know a harmony of body, heart and mind.

A special word for those who may be new and considering coming along. It is not necessary to have had experience of this form of spiritual chant and dance – sometimes called Dances of Universal Peace. These dances are for those who have a sense of inner adventure towards engaging with body, heart and mind in a new way. They are simple and accessible as well as profound and deep. Mostly in our practices we dance and sing as we move together in a circle. The sacred chants are from various spiritual and mystical traditions. The dances originated in the USA through the inspiration of Samuel L. Lewis and they have grown and spread to many other countries over the years.

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

30th Glastonbury. Dancing Dharma. A Day Workshop from 10.30am to 4.30pm. Prompt start at 10.30am.

For thousands of years the Dharma traditions have offered an inexhaustible supply of wisdom and potential for realisation. They are as richly relevant today as in past times offering practical methods for the ongoing unfoldment and ultimate realisation of our inner nature.

Dharma can be described as timeless or eternal wisdom, universal law. The Vedantic and Buddhist schools have what they call the transmission of Dharma. It is not exactly definable but it is characterised by some transmission of light, wisdom and spiritual realisation from person to person. Buddha taught that by doing one’s own dharma, by acting according to one’s own nature, talents and ability one may reach perfection. Dharma refers to that truth which is the essence of reality as well as the path to its realisation. The Bhagavad Gita teaches the Dharma of right actions and right action means peace, even on the battlefield of life.

This is a day of dances drawn from the Dharma traditions. If you are used to chanting the mantras from any of these traditions you can find that dancing with them adds a number of different dimensions to the whole experience. In these dances we combine the transmission of blessing with the spirit of devotion in a dynamic rhythmical way. Our focus is on the breath through the chants and mantras that we sing and dance. The Divine Names are repeated over and over during the dancing. Invoking the energies of Radha, Krishna, Shakti, Shiva, Sita, Rama, Buddha, Kwan Yin, Tara, Chenrezig and others we can create together a deliciously refined and potent atmosphere.

The energy created in the dances circulates between all the dancers in the circle in a fluid and harmonious way. The electricity of touch and the vibrational resonance of sound are subtle yet influential forms of energetic communication that operate below our conscious level of awareness and yet they can have a profound effect on the way we feel. Like nothing else the dances increase our capacity for and experience of joy and exaltation

Venue: The Avalon Community Centre, 1 King St, Glastonbury, BA6 9JX

Further details. Contact: Philip

November 2018

21st-25th, Oxford. Essence of Zikr: Essentials of Practice. Residenial Retreat for Sufi Mureeds with Saadi and Philip

In our annual retreat this year our main focus will be on Zikr, one of the central practices of our lineage. As Hazrat Inayat Khan said “Zikr is the best Ryazat there is.” Our emphasis will be on how to utilise zikr in our own personal practice though we will naturally engage in the familiar group practices of danced Zikr.

Both Hazrat Inayat Khan and Murshid Samuel Lewis gave specific methods on how we can develop along this line which we will explore in some detail. This will also involve delving into complimentary practices in sound, breath, and meditation. We will also be sharing from various papers on Zikr by Hazrat Inayat Khan and Murshid Samuel Lewis.

For Murshid Samuel Lewis his Dances were an important component of the Inner School of Sufism. As he wrote “This is also one of the reasons for introducing dancing into the Inner School. There, attunement is a vital necessity. You cannot have the dancing without the attunement. When there is the attunement, there is often much greater harmonization, and besides harmonization, exaltation, which is one of the grand purposes of spiritual training.” In our dances and walks together in heart and mind we can focus on attunement, harmonisation and exaltation.

Gathering together with others who share the same path of awakening is a blessing in itself. It allows a much deeper level of attunement and focus in practices; as well as feeling and appreciating the heart connections we naturally have with each other.

The retreat is open to Sufi mureeds, initiates of the Inayati healing orders and others by permission.

The Carmelite Retreat Centre is set in 17 acres of woodland and is just outside Oxford. Accommodation will be mostly in single rooms or twin rooms.

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

Further details. Contact: Philip

January 2019

5th/6th, Brigsteer near Kendal. Dancing Epiphanies. Non-residential weekend.

Understand by dancing what I do… All whose nature is to Dance, do Dance. Who Dances not, knows not what is being done. Hymn of Jesus

The Watcher is the Prayerful Devotee but the Dancer becomes Divine. Samuel Lewis

This weekend is an opportunity to explore through the dances, the music, the chants, the silence and simply by being together how we may touch those places where we feel connected to the flow of life and to enjoy our whole sense of being more fully.

It’s great to have an epiphany, a real insight or instant clarity arising as if from nowhere. Most of us have experienced such moments of realisation but of course it’s what we do with that new clarity that really counts. And how can we learn to develop this sense of insight Most epiphanies almost seem to force us to see situations and ourselves in a completely new light. It’s also great to dance…

A special word for those who may be new and considering coming along. It is not necessary to have had experience of this form of spiritual chant and dance – sometimes called Dances of Universal Peace. These dances are for those who have a sense of inner adventure towards engaging with body, heart and mind in a new way. They are simple and accessible as well as being profound and deep. Mostly in our practices we dance and sing as we move together in a circle. The sacred chants are from various spiritual and mystical traditions. The dances originated in the USA through the inspiration of Samuel L. Lewis and they have grown and spread to many other countries over the years.

These dances combine the transmission of blessing with the spirit of devotion in a dynamic rhythmical way. Our focus is on the breath through the chants and mantras that we sing; as we soar on the wings of the heart. Together we crate a deliciously refined atmosphere. The energy created in the dances circulates between all the dancers in the whole circle in a fluid and harmonious manner. The electricity of touch and the vibrational resonance of sound are subtle yet influential forms of energetic communication that operate below our conscious level of awareness and yet they can have a profound effect on the way we feel.

The weekend is non-residential and will take place at Brigsteer Village Hall, which spacious and clear it has a beautiful wooden floor to dance upon. It is an ecological venue in a tranquil setting with plenty of space for parking and is only a short drive from Kendal.

For those travelling from further afield there is accommodation in the village as well as lots more in Kendal itself Word file attached. Brigsteer is less than four miles and only a ten minute drive from Kendal.

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 2019

22nd-24th Crewe. Annual Spring Residential Retreat With Neil Doublas Klotz and Philip
Further details to follow.
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 2019

5th-7th, Oxford. Tuning to the Heart of the Dances: Dance Leader Training. 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.

Open to all dance leaders at any stage on their path of dance leading.

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

27th/28th, 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 2019

10th-12th, Oxford. The Heart of Healing. Residential weekend retreat.

We all have an innate capacity to heal ourselves and yet we can often be the main obstacle to our own healing. Our inner source of healing is activated by awakening of the power of our own hearts and minds. The peaceful heart and mind are the true source of healing. Cultivating and maintaining an inner peaceful state allows direct access to all of our potentiality for radiant health which is not simply the absence of dis-ease.

This particular weekend is an opportunity to share in a more focused way the practices and techniques for healing of heart, mind and body that over the years I have found most effective, both in my own life and in helping others. It will be mostly experiential rather than theoretical offering practical methods that if taken to heart and practiced regularly and sincerely will awaken you to your own heart of healing. We will share mostly simple practices using breath, dance, mantra, meditation, heart awareness and focus of mind so that you can begin to master for yourself such techniques on your own healing journey.

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 2019

14th/15th, 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

October 2019

11th-13th Oxford. Sound Healing and the Healing Voice

The way we use our voice and the way we respond to sound and music have direct and indirect effects on all of us, both positively and negatively. With practice our voices can become resonant, sonorous, vibrant and mellifluous. The voice is breath amplified so any sound practice is also a breath practice. As we breathe more fully we can also learn to sing more fully, engaging and revitalising our whole being. Our utilisation of Mantra in the dances and in seated practices naturally and effortlessly harmonises our being, returning us to our perfect energetic pattern. Sound is vibration, so are we in essence and of course so is the whole of the manifested universe. Together we will explore the mysticism of sound.

Our method will be to awaken, cultivate and expand our awareness through our own experiential wisdom. Not surprisingly the dances will form a major part of this course as for me especially they are a significant part of any healing process. Interspersed with the dances we will focus on other complementary practices. There is a clear reciprocity between how such practices as deep relaxation, meditation, breath and sound help us to deepen in the dances and how the dances help deepen in these other practices. These practices will be drawn mostly from the Yogic, Tantric, Buddhist, Aramaic Christian, Sufi and other western systems. There is no sense of separation in any of this in terms of spiritual traditions or in terms of spiritual practices. All is one and all the following are seamlessly connected in terms of our inner experience. Spaciousness will be an underlying theme.

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

December 2019

4th-8th, Oxford. Meditation Retreat for Sufi Mureeds with Saadi and Philip
Details of theme to follow.

The retreat is open to Sufi mureeds, initiates of the Inayati healing orders and others by permission.

The Carmelite Retreat Centre is set in 17 acres of woodland and is just outside Oxford. Accommodation will be mostly in single rooms or twin rooms.

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

Further details. Contact: Philip