On the October long weekend we had our 22nd Sydney Spring Renewal Retreat. The 3rd on the beautiful land of Uncle Noel Butler and Trish Roberts, Jamanee Gunya. Each time we have returned to their land it feels like we’ve got deeper in our relationship to both the people and the land.
During November 2015, I attended my second Jamiat Khas (JK), a gathering of Sufi teachers from the Ruhaniat in Petaluma – just north of San Francisco.
This year there were 147 participants, many of whom were murshids, murshidas, sheikhs, sheikhas as well as being senior dance mentors. It’s a very powerful gathering, which for me is a little like landing in dancing heaven.
This January at the Mana retreat we had Munir Peter Reynolds from Montana USA leading us on an incredible deepening journey with the Dances and spiritual practices. Over 55 folk attended, with a German contingent of 12 headed by Michael Ali as well as 15 Aussies, some new to Mana and some revisiting. Margie, Mary and Joan from Brisbane all came .We were fortunate to have Margie, the illustrious scribe, recording details of the songs who diligently worked alongside myself and Andrew Rashid from NZ. Andrew recorded all the Dances and sent us YouTubes. I don’t know of any other retreat in the world that has this great facility. Some of the quotes i enjoyed during the retreat include;
“Love of the world is the rehearsal before the performance, which is the love of God, the inner being” Hazrat Inayat Khan
“Thought is the white bread at the feast. The heart must be empty and receptive to truth and the mind quieted in order to surrender”
Everything you see arises from the unseen, the within. Where is the within of things? What is the within of things?
We are here as Dance leaders and dancers to serve the truth of the sacred phrase. Murshid Sam says the dances are a means of awakening from the separate self, and we must ask is the sacred phrase opening people up.
Do we love ourselves and the World completely?
Rumi says “love is reckless, it gambles away every gift God bestows”. As long as there is a me and you, love has not fully flowered. Be carried by the undertow.”
Contemplate “You are the only source of love”.
Everything is your guru that conspires to wake you up. This journey requires unlearning and humility, letting go and surrender: seeing the truth that we are not the mind, body, or emotions. Be willing to question what is there and be willing to be in the unknown, be a witness to the space arising. Feel what is awake in you in this moment. Cease everything else.
Munir gave excellent sessions and tips on dance leadership , saying that we are all students for life. There is no limit to this work. The leader becomes a living exponent of awakening. The Dances don’t belong to anyone, they are a part of the gene pool. He said that if you are not leading the repertoire, you are not honouring the stream of inspiration.
We were all truly inspired as Munir with his great musicianship led us on this journey of awakening through the old territory and to the new, with many wonderful dances and a deeper understanding of our own processes and what it means to surrender, and to be alive and awake in the real.
The Spring Renewal Retreat was held 2-5 October near Milton on the NSW South Coast.