Becoming an Imaginal Practitioner
Image by Joost Vervoort
Over Easter weekend we are organizing a short online retreat to immerse you in the world of imaginal practice and give you the skills to practice and engage with life in this way. This is a chance to go really deep and an opportunity to reframe the way you relate to practice and experience. Three experienced teachers will lead the retreat, and the structure of the retreat will allow for lots of personal support and engagement.
In this practice we are embracing content as a way to engage with what is present for us in this moment in a whole-hearted and embodied way. The emotional and imaginal content of our experience can fuel our practice and allow us to develop an intimacy with experience.
This is a deeply embodied practice, it is about coming into our beings in their fullness. Rather than turning away from the difficult parts of experience we are embracing them and using the practice to reintegrate them in order to create a more whole way of existing in the world.
Rather than seeing thoughts as distractions, we can notice that they are flags – highlighting something that is important in our inner world. We can carefully peel back the layers to notice the emotions, sensations and depths of meaning underneath thoughts that resonate through our beings, and we can connect whole-heartedly with that, even if what we find is challenging in some way.
The aim is to find space and allow for whatever is in your experience to be expressed in a wholesome and meaningful way. The imaginal space gives us a unique opportunity to engage with content in this way. When our bodies are safe and we feel connected and supported, we are free to explore different parts of ourselves. To go on an adventure into our experience and liberate aspects that we normally repress or resist, freeing up the energy and wisdom that is buried in this.
We can use narratives, visuals, energy, archetypes, music, creativity and symbolism within practice to deepen our connection with all of experience and create more freedom of expression.
This retreat will also aim to awaken your understanding that so much of life and the way we make sense of our reality is already grounded in meaning-making and creativity; the language and imagery we use, the structures and norms we build our lives on, the things that feel important to us. We want to really connect with this sense of creativity and bring it to life.
The guidance and teaching will take you through these different aspects – giving you the tools to engage with new imaginal spaces and the ways to recognise what is already imaginal in life.
This is about giving colour to life. Introducing more playfulness, joy, creativity and soulfulness while balancing this with a deep sense of respect towards showing up for our challenges, facing our suffering and coming out the other side stronger and more compassionate for it, for the benefit of ourselves and all beings.
These skills and approaches also develop the capacities to bring insights and awakening back into society and share them with the world in a way that feels alive and meaningful to you and others – whether that be through activism, art, your work, your way of life, relationships or something else.
It instills an aliveness in your presence and experience that you can weave through your life.
It opens up a sense of resilience, giving you the capability to be with the darkness of life and through this gain a deeper access to a sense of connection, beauty, meaning and purpose.
There will be three experienced teachers, Rosa, Joost and David, leading the retreat. Each of us bring different backgrounds and perspectives to ensure a rich, balanced, safe and reflexive experience. There will be plenty of one-to-one time and a combination of guided and self-led meditation and practice. Over the retreat time we will take you on a journey, building the skills and body-wisdom that you need to create a strong base for imaginal practice.
Before the retreat we will do a 90 minute one-to-one, including guiding you through a shamanic experience. This will help you connect with your experience in a creative way.
On the first evening of the retreat we will start by building the container, connecting with ourselves and each other. Saturday will focus on cultivating a deep sense of embodied presence and then on Sunday, building on this, we will be engaging with the content of experience using creativity and imagination.
This is an experimental approach to teaching retreats; we are combining our skills, experience and knowledge and it is the first time we are leading a retreat like this. We want people to bring their full selves to the retreat, to embrace the unexpected and for us all to weave a collective story together.
There is space in the schedule for you to experiment with your own practice, whether that be meditation, art, yoga, dreaming, writing or something else. We will share the meaning and insights that we uncover, allowing for synchronicity and non-linear resonance to ripple through the weekend.
We look forward to journeying with you!
Friday 2nd April, 5:00pm CET – Sunday 4th April, 7.30pm CET
Detailed schedule below.
Please note: The retreat is now full. We will create a short wait-list, so please still sign up if you are interested in joining and we will let you know if a space becomes available.
If you would have been interested in joining in theory, please submit a sign up form to let us know. If we know there are lots more people interested we will run another similar retreat soon. Thanks!
We are limiting the number of spaces on this retreat to ten people. If more people sign up there may be a small selection process.
Please note that imaginal practice can be intense, it involves being willing to dive into your inner world. The space will be held very heartfully and there will be one-to-one support available for any challenges that emerge, but you require a degree of resilience and willingness to meet your stuff in order to take part in this retreat.
Taking part in a 90 minute pre-retreat one-to-one is a pre-requisite for joining.
Rosa Lewis is a meditation teacher, spiritual coach and shaman who has a background in a wide range of meditative and spiritual practices. She is passionate about the importance of human connection and embracing the full range of thoughts and emotions in practice to transform our relationship to life.
Joost Vervoort is the founder of the meditation community Dharmagarage that offers daily sits. He has a background in Rinzai zen practice (shikantaza and koans/self-enquiry), but has developed familiarity with an eclectic range of practice approaches including the imaginal.
David Lassiter has a deep love for exploring the mind and consciousness. He has spent over 18 months on intensive meditation retreat, primarily in the Theravada Buddhist tradition. David recently returned to the West after five years practicing and studying meditation in Nepal, India, and Thailand.
We will schedule a 90 minute pre-retreat one-to-one with each person.
We’ll be in touch to book a time that suits you.
5.00pm – Welcome (Rosa & Joost)
5.30pm – Opening guidance – opening to receiving (Rosa)
6.15pm – Group sharing
7.00pm – Mindfulness guidance (David)
7.45pm – Sit
8.30pm – Guided inquiry – relating to time (Joost)
9.15pm – Close
9.00am – Bio-emotive & mindfulness guided meditation (David)
9.45am – Meditation
10.30am – Q&A
11.30am – Energy body imaginal practice guided meditation (Rosa)
12.15pm – Meditation
1.00pm – Lunch & rest
2.00pm – Metaphors we live by group session (Joost)
2.45pm – Meditation with music
3.30pm – Free practice space (writing, meditation, art, yoga, walking in nature, dreaming etc.)
5.45pm – Sharing space
6.00pm – Dinner
7.00pm – Small group shared imaginal practice
8.00pm – Meditation
8.45pm – Group sharing
9.30pm – Guidance on sleep and dreams (Joost)
9.45pm – Close
One-to-one interviews will be held in the afternoon (3.30pm – 7.00pm)
8.30am – Dream sharing and exploration (Joost)
9.00am – Mindfulness guidance (David)
9.45am – Meditation
10.30am – Q&A
11.30am – Guided meditation – what is the story that wants to be told? (Rosa)
12.15pm – Meditation
1.00pm – Lunch & rest
2.00pm – Dharma talk – the imaginal in the interpersonal (Rosa, Joost & David)
2.45pm – Circling (David)
3.45pm – Free practice space (yoga, art, writing, meditation, walking in nature, dreaming etc.)
5.30pm – Sharing space
5.45pm – Tea break
6.00pm – Closing guidance – living a heartful imaginal life (Rosa & Joost)
6.45pm – Group sharing & wrap-up
7.30pm – Close
Optional one-to-one interviews will be offered in the afternoon (3.00pm – 5.30pm)
We will hold a follow up meditation, sharing circle and Q&A session for a chance to reconnect and to explore any questions that have come up about your practice since the retreat.
Monday 12th April: 7:00pm- 8:30pm CEST
This event is offered on the basis of dana, which means generosity. The recommended donation is $50-150, but please offer what feels right to you – a donation is not required to join.
Read more about our retreats here.