Self Led Day Retreat Recorded Talks 

The recorded dharma talk that we listen on the Self Led Day Retreats enriches the day and stimulates reflection and deepening of our practice. If you cannot make the day, we thought you might like to listen to the talk. The talks are provided through an organisation called Dharmaseed. While they are free of charge we are invited to express our gratitude for the recorded teachings by offering donations (Dana). The tradition of Dana in Buddhism is an acknowledgement of our interconnectedness and interdependence. Details on how to give Dana can be found at www.

January 2018

This month’s recorded talk is by Leela Sarti. It is called January Living.  The talk explores the nature of love and the implications of loving whatever arises. When we feel love for our own being we are also at the receiving end of our own emotional support and can begin to unravel self-judgements. What is the nature of the heart, beyond images and ideas? To open one’s heart may be the greatest contribution we can make to life on earth.

Leela talks with great depth and insight about living and practicing from the heart. She encourages us move away from sentimental ideas about love. And then explore how opening our hearts can change our lives. Sounds like a great way to start 2018!

December 2017

This month’s recorded talk was by Joseph Goldstein. It is called Deepening Insight into Impermanence. It was given at Spirit Rock on 16th July 2017. Joseph talks with great authority and presence about impermanence. Even though we all know that everything in life changes, do we really get it? He explores how insight in to this basic fact can dramatically improve our lives. Constant change is all around us, all we need to do is notice it.

November 2017

This month’s recorded talk was by Tempel Smith. It is called Developing Samadhi/Concentration with Metta (63:18) given at Spirit Rock on 10.07.2017.
There are many beautiful reasons to develop loving-kindness meditation and one of them is deeper samadhi/concentration. By developing the Five Jhana Factors in Metta meditation we can come to know wholeness and focus within our own hearts, minds and bodies.

In this talk Temple explains how meditation improves concentration, particularly when doing loving-kindness meditation. We all have the innate ability to focus our minds. But we often feel distracted while meditating. Tempel explores how meditation helps concentration, even when we struggle with our monkey mind.

October 2017

This month’s recorded talk was by Mark Coleman. Mark is an engaging speaker. Developing compassion for yourself and others in the midst of everyday challenges is a big ask! Mark explores Metta not only as a practice but as an attitude to life.

Mark’s talk explores the journey of the heart. What happens as we cultivate metta practice, both the obstacles, challenges, gifts and fruits.

Insight Meditation Society – Retreat CenterMetta: Lovingkindness Retreat

September 2017

This month’s recorded talk was ‘This is being known’ by Mark Numberg.

2017-06-04 This is Being Known 1:27:21

Common Ground Meditation Centre

August 2017

This month’s recorded talk was by John Peacock. It is called “What is in ‘The Present Moment'” An examination of what it means to be in the present moment and the content of that moment.

July 2017

This month’s recorded talk was given by Tara Brach. It is called  “Landlocked in Fur” – Three Domains of Formless Presence.
Tara explores with humour and insight how we can find the space behind our habitual behaviour. She brings this to life with poems and anecdotes. Some about cats!

Tara writes: While we have evolved to experience a defining sense of separate self, our potential is to awaken to the formless dimension – the pure awareness is our shared source. This talk explores how we can undo the identification with thoughts, emotions and feelings that keeps us landlocked and unable to trust and live from our naturally loving and radiant essence. NOTE: beginning poem is “Landlocked in Fur,” by Tukaram, from “Love Poems From God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West” (Ladinksy, 2002)

2014-12-30 “Landlocked in Fur” – Three Domains of Formless Presence

June 2017

This month’s recorded talk was given by Mark Coleman. It is called Mindfulness, Technology and Social Media. This talk was selected after the sharing at end of the May retreat. People expressed their concerns about how digital technology is affecting their lives and practice. Mark explores the rapid changes caused by phones, email, social media, websites etc. He suggests how meditation can help us fully engage with technology yet remain present.

2011-02-28  Mindfulness, Technology and Social Media 53:01

May 2017

This month’s recorded talk was called ‘Whole Life Practice’ by Tempel Smith. Temple’s talk is about meditation in daily life. Retreats provide a temporary refuge, but the challenge is to apply what we learn in a wider world. Tempel describes with humour and insight how he returned to ordinary life after being ordained.
2015-12-05 Whole Life Practice 58:59

April 2017

This month’s talk was by Martin Alyward. The talk explores bringing the fundamental truth of life’s fluidity, and the familiarity of teachings on impermanence, right into the heart of every-moment practice.
David, who helps organise the Self Led Day Retreats says: Martin talks with great presence about dealing with life’s transitions. He encourages us to look at how we think about the past, present and future. I found this a very useful talk about everyday impermanence.

2014-03-02 On Fluidity, Uncertainty and Inconceivability 44:06

March 2017

This month’s talk was by Ann Cushman. David, who helps organise the Self Led Day Retreats says: This talk is from a retreat for painters and writers. Anne describes how the foundations of meditation can also be applied to creative expression. Anne’s inspiring talk contains some lovely poetry readings. It helped me with my work as a painter.The Four Foundations of Creativity 48:54

An exploration of how mindfulness supports creative expression and how art-making can be mindfulness practice.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center :  Meditation and the Spirit of Creativity

February 2017

February’s talk was by Alan Lewis and was given at Gaia House on 01-02-2014.
2014-02-01 The Compassionate Space
Gaia House Uncertainty

David says: On the world stage we are entering uncertain times. But uncertainty is a basic aspect of life. Alan describes with humour and insight how we can grow to accept this. Compassion and creativity can then follow.

Recorded talks from 2016

The following talks have been used on the 2016 self-led retreats with very positive feedback:

2014-10-09 Love, Sexuality and Awakening61:40

Ajahn Thanasanti

David says: The talk is about sexuality and romantic attraction. It is great to hear a (celibate) Buddhist nun talk about sexuality! A topic that is often ignored. She does it with wisdom and humour.


2016-05-24 Embracing it all: taking the practice home with gratitude58:53

Nikki Mirghafori

What is the role of metta meditation in relationship to the Vipassana practice? How do we take the practice home? On the cushion? Daily practice? What’s the role of gratitude in embracing all of life?

David says: This is a very heartfelt talk. Nikki talks about the benefits of gratitude in everyday life. It helped me maintain my home practice.


2015-01-24 The Instinctual Body – Sex, Survival and Social Drives 40:14

Martin Aylward

We are bound by our biology, and our health, longevity and death are largely out of our control. This talk explores the way our biology impacts us, including the influences of the sex drive, the survival drive and the social drive. Martin looks at how we can explore and understand our biology in such a way as to inhabit it freely.

David says: I really enjoyed this talk. Martin has great presence as a speaker. It is great to hear a Buddhist talk that looks at our basic drives, including our sex drive.


2008-06-25 The Science Of Meditation58:57

Diana Winston

This talk discusses the current research in mindfulness, including the areas of physical health, attention, mental health, self-compassion, and brain research.

David says: I really enjoyed this talk. It looks at the research that backs up meditation. It is also fun & inspiring.


2009-09-11 The Self and Its Search for Security61:39

Rob Burbea

This talk investigates some of the ways the ego mistakenly seeks security in different places, particularly exploring our complex relationship with money, and with self-view, and then also inquiring into the very structure of that self.


2012-10-15 Trauma and Freedom66:23

Jack Kornfield

Using the cloak of mindfulness and compassion to heal trauma and awaken freedom.


2011-06-03 Opening Talk for Transforming Self, Transforming World67:12 

David Loy

Opening Talk for a retreat that explores the relationship between personal and social transformation. There are profound parallels between our individual predicament and our collective situation, and this retreat explores their nonduality. If the self is an insecure construct haunted by a sense of lack, we gain insight into our preoccupation with attachments such as money, fame, power and romance, and how the ‘three poisons’ (greed, ill will and delusion) have become institutionalised.