13th – 17th July 2020
Leicester Quaker Meeting House,
16 Queens Rd, Leicester LE2 1WP
In this 5-day non-residential retreat, we will journey together back to the home we never left. This is for you if want to delve into consciousness with other like-minded people and question your limiting beliefs. This is not about learning something new, but questioning and unlearning what you believed to be true about yourself and life.
Format: talks by Nic Higham, guided meditations and silence, group sharing, individual and partner exercises, beautiful music, and plenty of time to be.
Waking up to our innate connectedness with the whole of life
Fundamentally, the root of suffering is our perceived separateness from life, which means that we experience life through the eyes of duality. We’re pressured from inside and outside ourselves to stand out from the crowd; “Be unique, do well, have more.” In particular, we seek communion with others and we look for a sense of completion. Paradoxically, we also seek contentment in ourselves, to be at peace with a world that seems to be “out there.” We try to achieve these aims while at the same time trying to heal the very separateness we’re striving to establish. Therefore, this underlying bewilderment and isolation fuel our society’s every pursuit: material, psychological, professional, social, and spiritual.
Innocently, we’re looking in the wrong places; assuming love, peace, acceptance—or whatever we’re seeking to be complete—is out there; seeking somewhere, something, or someone else. It’s our sense of disconnection that triggers this outward seeking.
We feel separate from our true Self, and we are trying to become reunited in countless ways. We habitually perceive a dualistic world divided into separate parts, making us view ourselves as fundamentally isolated, incomplete, and insecure. Existence gets distorted by concepts and projections and from these springs the cycle of desire and fear. We have many desires, but our fundamental desire is to know and be our true Self. Because we misdirect our longing, we have become a slave to our many desires and fears.
This nonduality retreat is for you if…
- You’ve read some nonduality or spiritual books and have listened to many spiritual teachers talk about awareness and awakening.
- You’ve had some glimpses of insight but feel lost or stuck.
- You’re not satisfied with just an intellectual understanding of nonduality.
- You’re not sure if you’re meditating or enquirying “correctly”.
- You want to take a deeper look into this stuff, get some clarity, and work through what seems to be holding you back from knowing, being and living your true Self.
- You want to embody the Truth pointed to through the message of nonduality.
Living Nisargadatta Maharaj’s Timeless Wisdom in a Modern World
We will explore the key teachings in Nisargadatta Maharaj’s book “I Am That”, a spiritual classic treasured by many on the path of spiritual awakening, and journey together back to the home we never left. You don’t need to have read the book and there are no “prerequisites”.
Advaita (nonduality) Master Nisargadatta Maharaj (1897 – 1981), used the word ‘Nisarga’ to signify our natural state prior to identifying as an ego separate from the rest of life. We are always in perfect unity with our true Self, but due to the play of duality, we feel separate and therefore suffer. Yoga means ‘uniting’, it provides a bridge, a link, a fundamental means of connection. Nisarga Yoga is not a physical practice but a blend of meditation and self-inquiry. For lasting peace and contentment, we dwell – that is, meditate – on the ‘I am’ and discover, through inquiry, how it appeared, answering the question ‘Who am I?’
Grounded, accessible and friendly, the 5 full-day workshops will explore and help you to understand the patterns of the mind and how to turn it into a tool of Self-remembrance. Living life mindfully and effortlessly in full awareness and spontaneity, being deeply interested in life cultivate the heart of Nisarga Yoga. No longer unconscious or passive, we become conscious and engaged in consciousness itself. We begin to wake up to our natural connectedness with the whole of life.
Together we will meet and be with our own inner life, our “I am-ness”, learn from it, follow it, embrace it, and enquire into its indefinable timeless Source.
“People come here to learn about the actual existence of such a state, the obstacles to its emergence, and, once perceived, the art of stabilising it in consciousness, so that there is no clash between understanding and living. The state itself is beyond the mind and need not be learnt. The mind can only focus the obstacles; seeing an obstacle as an obstacle is effective, because it is the mind acting on the mind. Begin from the beginning: give attention to the fact that you are.”
“Keep the ‘I am’ in the focus of awareness, remember that you are, watch yourself ceaselessly… Wrong desires and fears, false ideas, social inhibitions are blocking and preventing its free interplay…
The person merges into the witness, the witness into awareness, awareness into pure being, yet identity is not lost, only its limitations are lost. It is transfigured, and becomes the real Self, the sadguru, the eternal friend and guide.”
– Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Nic Higham challenges us to stop running away from our present experience—however uncomfortable or intense it is—and plunge into the ocean of present-moment awareness… [His sharing] is about being exactly as we are, human vulnerabilities and all. This is about letting go of our assumptions about reality and becoming deeply curious about ourselves… a great signpost to non-dual awareness, a call to remember this constant, brilliant light that illuminates our lives from deep within.” – Jeff Foster (spiritual teacher)
What the 5-day intensive covers
- What is nondual meditation? What is consciousness? What is awareness? Many people since ancient times have practised meditation as a way of being receptive to Truth: of becoming familiar with and rooted in their most authentic Self. Meditation is a tool for recognising clearly; with practice, falsehoods and distractions are cast off, and then with earnestness and devotion one focuses on what remains, thus becoming awake to Truth.
- What is nondual self-enquiry? “Who am I?” means “What is the nature of my consciousness in the universal sense?”, “What is it to exist?”, and “What is at the heart of existence?” The most important quality on the circular path of inquiry is earnestness. Being earnest means relating to life (ourselves) attentively and mindfully, from a stance of questioning with focus and discernment. Once we walk through the veil of untruths we’ve created out of restless inadvertence, we can love what is without expectation.
- What are the Three Gunas and how do these qualities – Tamas (inertia), Rajas (motivity) and Sattva (harmony) – shape personality? The gunas, which underpin the philosophy of mind in yoga and Ayurvedic Psychology, are a way of understanding the blend of qualities that create our sense of self. How can we understand, work with and balance their forces? Since consciousness is itself the quality of Sattva and is the faithful servant of true Self (which is beyond the gunas), we will explore how to cultivate this quality.
- What is seeking and why do we do it? Our habit of inattention and inadvertence causes us to lose sight of our underlying Beingness. Because of this distortion, we perceive a world divided into separate parts (duality), making us view ourselves as fundamentally isolated, incomplete, and insecure. What psychologically motivates us in an addictive state are narratives of desire and fear. Desire leads to fear and fear leads to desire. As with desire, the target of fear is always in memory and anticipation, past and future. Fear emerges because we’re so powerfully led to believe we’re self-contained and different from others and we desire true connection with life.
- What is spiritual awakening? Through our willingness to hold and release whatever arises we awaken to a transformative love and spaciousness. We discover that are, and have always been, all-pervading, intimately One. We awaken to an enriching and comforting communion with all. When our ideas and conclusions dissolve, we can rediscover clarity.
- What is Truth? Our imagination is a symptom of the veiling power of illusion—maya, in Sanskrit—which gives the many expressions of Brahman, creating forms in the formlessness. Maya causes us to be preoccupied with the imagined outer world which prevents us from focusing on our inner life, which is the full breadth of life. In earnestly examining our experience, our focus widens, which allows us to stay receptive and awake to Truth. Truth is known deeply surrendering all that you are not, and shifting to the Truth that lies beyond the mind.
Each attendee will be offered a one-to-one session with Nic Higham during the week.
We will also explore the Seven Principles of Nisarga Yoga as described in ‘I Am That’:
- Non-identification and right understanding
- Interest and earnestness
- Spontaneity and effortlessness
- Attentiveness to being
- Right action
- Going within to go beyond
- Awareness of Self
The retreat will be facilitated by Nondual Therapist and writer Nic Higham, author of ‘Living the Life That You Are: Finding Wholeness When You Feel Lost, Isolated, and Afraid’. Nic’s work is influenced by the teaching of Nisargadatta Maharaj (Nisarga Yoga), Advaita Vedanta philosophy and Ayurvedic Psychology. He is currently editing a new book of unpublished talks by Nisargadatta Maharaj due to be released in 2020.
“I’ve worked closely with Nic Higham for several years and have read his website posts about awakening with great interest and resonance. Working with Nic so closely over the years, I can assure you that his experience is direct.” – Scott Kiloby (spiritual teacher)
“Nic offers and shares an accepting and loving space in which emotions, thoughts and sensations are free to flow, unravelling layers upon layers of conditioning, beliefs and deeply ingrained patterns. His openness and his first-hand experience in the non-duality field as well as in psychology permit him to wisely guide you in that space of open and curious awareness that you already are, always respecting your pace and your level of understanding. The human experience is not negated or bypassed, on the contrary, it is observed with deep respect and curiosity and regarded as the sacred and vibrating manifestation of Life that it is. From my experience with him, I can say that even if you already practise some form of self-enquiry his guidance can really help in going deeper, precisely toward the knots of suffering or emotional discomfort that more have the need to be held by our loving awareness. I warmly recommend Nic Higham to everyone who wants to explore some aspects of their life from the standpoint of non-dual wisdom as well as to everyone who wants to go deeper into this wonderful exploration.” – MP
“I have a deep interest in non-duality, I wanted help in dealing with the emotional baggage that prevents us from experiencing the benefits of a spiritual path, that the intellectual understanding is not enough, we have to experience and hence be able to apply the theory in our day to day life. Nic Higham has perfectly balanced the addressing of these emotional blocks and also included the nondual perspective through discussions to help unfold the journey of self discovery and self love, which is what we are all here to discover. He has a good understanding of non-duality and along with his experience in mental health and qualifications is able to provide an effective support system for anyone embarking on this type of journey.” – AL
“Nic is an extremely clear non-duality teacher but also a great therapist and he combines the two perfectly, helping one find Truth and freedom in even the most painful or mundane everyday problems.” – PD
“When I first began my sessions with Nic Higham, I did not know what to expect, but I was desperately seeking a healing method that would go beyond a simple band-aid. Within 2 sessions I recognized that Nic is insightful, thoughtful and compassionate, and has a wide repertoire of techniques that helped me look into myself, visualize and strengthen my own ability to heal myself. That is real progress. This is not a canned approach by any means – I feel his method will go beyond healing and help with finding true inner peace and stability.” – PS
- The cost of this retreat is £250
- Limited spaces
- Each day will begin at 9.30am and finish at around 5.30pm
- Refreshments and light snacks will be available throughout each day.
- The venue is very close to Leicester Railway Station and there is a number of hotels and places to eat nearby.
- The Quaker House has a good car park.
For more information, contact us using the form below.
50% of the amount paid is non-refundable if you cancel after 1st April 2020. Refunds are not given if you cancel after 13th June 2020 or leave early during the retreat.