At Bristol Insight, we support the practice and study of Buddhist Insight Meditation also known as Vipassana (literally translated as ‘seeing deeply or clearly’). This is the practice of developing a calm and mindful investigation into the nature of experience, leading to wisdom, compassion and the end of suffering. Through our groups and activities, we aspire to build a community that nurtures wisdom and compassion: for ourselves, for others and for the world we live in.
We offer a range of regular activities and a programme of day retreats to support meditation practice. Our longstanding association with Gaia House, a well-known retreat centre for Insight Meditation, means we regularly invite their teachers, as well as those from other linked traditions, to lead our own retreat days and courses. These are reputable, highly experienced teachers who commit to a code of ethics.
You can find out more about our story, our aims and values and our organisation here.
Our approach emphasises inquiry, experiential exploration and mindfulness amongst many other influences. It is not important to hold particular beliefs or to consider yourself a Buddhist to attend our activities and events, all are welcome.
If you like the sound of what we do, then please feel free to come and check us out.
Highlight of the month
Self Led Day Retreat on Saturday August 6th at the Central Quaker Meeting House
Note: for this month only the Self Led Day Retreat will be at the Central Quaker Meeting House, Champion Square BS2 9DB
These popular, well-supported day retreats are based on Theravada Vipassana (Insight) meditation practice of sitting and walking. The retreats are not led by a teacher and no meditation guidance is given, so they suit participants who are comfortable with a basic meditation practice; for example, as experienced on a group retreat at Gaia House, a teacher-led day retreat in Bristol or an eight-week mindfulness course. More information can be found on our regular activities page.
Coming up soon
Teacher led Day Retreat on Saturday 17th September with Martin Aylward
‘The Dharma and the Drama: Mindfulness amidst a messy life’
This day will look at the challenges of everyday life as the theatre of transformational practice, exploring how our work and relationships can be fertile ground for insight, and seeing how we can cultivate a meditative life which genuinely supports and is supported by the ‘full catastrophe’ of everyday living.
Click here for a biography and photo of Martin Aylward
To make a booking for this Day Retreat go to http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2553351 and see “General Information” on the Self Led Day Retreats page.
Four Week Course with Catherine McGee starts Sunday 25th September
Passion and Dispassion – a path of Equanimity and Aliveness
We are delighted to let you know that we are able to offer another meditation and dharma practice course led by Catherine McGee this Autumn. The course will be suitable for experienced practitioners and newer practitioners who already have a grounding in the basics of Insight Meditation.
The course consists of one whole day and four evening sessions:
♦ Sunday 25th September 10am to 4pm
♦ Wednesday evenings – 6.45pm to 9.15pm: September 28th, October 5th (peer-led), 12th and 19th.
‘How we live is important, particularly at the level of mind. Every time you’re willing to acknowledge your thoughts, let them go, and come back to the freshness of the present moment, you’re sowing seeds of wakefulness in your unconscious. After a while what comes up is a more wakeful, more open thought. You’re conditioning yourself toward openness rather than sleepiness. You might find yourself caught, but you can extricate yourself by how you use your mind, how you actually are willing to come back just to nowness, the immediacy of the moment. Every time you’re willing to do that, you’re sowing seeds for your own future, cultivating this innate fundamental wakefulness by aspiring to let go of the habitual way you proceed and do something fresh.’