It has been a few days now and the dust has settled after the flurry of planning, organizing and running our Summer Conference at Samye Ling. Looking back, I am happy to say that it was a huge success with many moments filled with insightful talks, deepened practice and reconnection of community. With 160 people in attendance, the atmosphere was electric!
Our speakers were world class, with Rick Hanson’s message of personal empowerment through learning to rewire our brains for happiness, B. Alan Wallace’s call for a meditation laboratory of sorts with participants from all walks of faith and non-faiths, Fabrizio DiDonna’s clinical applications of mindfulness and research into how mindfulness helps patients with OCD, Prof. Paul Gilbert’s exploration of compassion and its effects on mental wellbeing, Rob Nairn’s description of the process of insight and changing our habitual patterning and Charlie Morley’s outstanding talk on lucid dreaming and our ability to heal and transform our lives through mindfulness of dream and sleep. As each key note speaker finished delivering their presentations, more and more conference delegates were approaching me in awe of the quality and depth of learning that was taking place. It soon became clear that we were in the midst of many brilliance!
Along with our key note speakers, there were master classes offered in areas such as insight meditation, mindful movement, mindfulness and leadership, Buddhist theory, mindful inquiry, and a jammed packed taster session of mindfulness of dream and sleep. Who knew that the back of the temple could house so many ‘naps’?
Of course, one of the highlights of the conference was a feature talk given by the Abbot of Samye Ling, Lama Yeshe Rinpoche, who spoke of the need for our mindfulness practice to be grounded in ethics. It was an inspiration to hear his words, and see him present this year’s University of Aberdeen MSc in Mindfulness graduates with a khata and graduation present.
Now, to get on with planning our next conference… Keep your eyes and ears open and watch this space!