So today a friend and I decided to head over the Lake District to spend the day at the International Kadampa Festival.  We weren’t quite sure what to expect but, we were very intrigued to see what the day brought and what exactly the meditation and teachings sessions would offer us.

We set off early so we could arrive in enough time to enjoy the whole day at the Majushri temple, a place where the Buddhists call ‘home.’  As we arrived we drove up to the most amazing stately home in Ulverston, the grounds were picturesque and the home itself stood there in all it’s glory under the warm sun.

As we arrived we headed over to registration and were greeted with the most loveliest welcome, we were given an outline of the day.  We could see that we had the opportunity to experience two meditations and sessions in the temple whilst having just enough time in between to eat, drink (non alcoholic) and relax and I for one was really looking forward to making the most of the relaxation time we had in between the teachings.  As we had some time before the first teaching we decided to walk down to the beach, the walk was so lovely; we walked through the woods, past the fields and down to an open beach. The view was astonishing it was by far the best beach I’ve ever been to and I was amazed at the view.  The beach was so quiet and there were only a few people there, the sun was shining so we took a few moments out to bask in the sun and appreciate our surroundings.  Life has been so busy lately that it’s so nice to have the opportunity to relax in such amazing surroundings – the beach, the woods, the stately home and not to mention the temple were all perfect!

Jennifer (a friend) and I weren’t quite sure what to expect but, we went with an open mind and we were keen to absorb as much of the day’s energy and empowerment teachings as possible.  I had gone with the intention of learning new empowerments teachings which would help enhance my own meditation teaching practice which would benefit not only myself but, that of others too and the day did just that.

We attended both the morning and afternoon teaching and found both of them to be very interesting.  As a newbie, with very little prior knowledge it was difficult to understand all practices and teachings but, I held an open mind and just absorbed myself into the day.  Before today I’m not even sure I’d seen a monk before but, here there were so many and I had the opportunity to chat with some of them and gain an insight to their world, it was fascinating.  I got to chat to them over lunch and as they needed helpers Jennifer and I offered to support and got the opportunity to help out and serve lunch to others.

The food was fresh, filled with goodness and delicious and there was a real sense of community between all nationalities serving the food.  They all worked as a team and made us feel so welcome, I have to say serving food to a few thousand people is easier than it looks but, I enjoyed every second of it, it took our experience to another level!

I also had the opportunity to observe others whilst serving food and everyone looked so happy and they appeared to have no worries or concerns, everyone seemed peaceful and appreciative that they were there together and they seemed so grateful and so happy to be surrounded by like minded people.  This was their opportunity to come together as one and enjoy their day and embed the teachings further into their lives.

Today gave us the opportunity for so many people from different parts of the world to come together to share and discuss their beliefs and their experiences.  It was so interesting to see the grounds filled with people relaxing, basking in the sun, eating and drinking together – it was amazing to see.  It’s not often in everyday life I get to experience this, as life seems to be going so fast and everyone is rushing from one thing to the next without taking a step back to appreciate the moment – today wasn’t like that and it was so refreshing!

As Jennifer and I hadn’t experienced this kind of thing before we were just soaking it all up, taking everything in and keen to get fully engaged with it all.  The teachings were focused on empowerment and it was interesting to see the buddhist stance on this, the monk who took the session was very experienced, knowledgeable and related everything to our daily lives, this helped me to understand the buddhist aims which was to live a ‘peaceful and happy life’ and that something that definitely resonated with me’

She explained how we can remove the obstacles and barriers from our lives by taking control and understanding that we can only control ourselves and not the external environment.  This is something I work with my clients on and we use a variety of tools and strategies to help them let go of things they can’t control.  It’s a practice that I incorporate in my daily life and it’s enabled me to view life in a more refreshing, appealing way.  I view life much more simply now and I surround myself with those who support and inspire me and because of this I feel much happier.

Going to the event today I had no idea what to expect but, as I’ve promised to be open minded and view everything with a beginner’s mind and because of this I was able to understand and apply the teachings to my daily life.  Meditation and the principles of mindfulness have been born out of buddhism, so today confirmed my understanding of mindfulness and it gave me further food for thought which I can now incorporate into my own teachings.

You see, being open to new experiences and opportunities provides new ideas and concepts but, most of all it allows me to appreciate others views of the world and I respect that and them.  So many others are judgemental and ignorant to others beliefs and because of this they’re quick to judge and condemn others but, I vow never to be like this.  So whilst I may not practice Buddhism on a daily basis, I can certainly take away so much from today and as a result I’ve left feeling inspired and honoured to have spent the day with so many fascinating people.

There’s a lot to be said for the slower pace of life, they all truly looked happy (with their lot) and were grateful for all they had and these practices are something I can definitely incorporate into my daily life!