Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Holy Island

Jemima and I are back from Holy Island. We broke the journey at Samye Ling, the Buddhist centre near Lockerbie, Scotland.

Lorenzo inspecting a shrine at Samye Ling.

We travelled on the next day to Ardrosson on the Ayr coast and caught the ferry to Arran and then we were whisked away by a small motor boat to Holy Island.

I had misread the course content. It was all meditation. No yoga. That's all right. We could do with some meditation.

This is Sarah our teacher in full flow during one of the sessions. She also happens to be my yoga teacher. We had an awful lot of rain, but this was one of the few times we managed to get outside for a lesson.

The day for us started at 7.30 when we had a 45 minute silent meditation in the Shrine Room. This was followed by breakfast and at 9.30 lessons and meditation up until lunch time. After lunch we had an hour to relax and have a kip -

- Lorenzo having a rest on her bunk - then at 2.45 we had an hour meditation broken after half an hour for a stretch, and then straight back into it. At 4.00 we had more teaching until supper at 6.00. At 7.00 there was Chenrezi in the Shrine Room, and then to bed ready for the morning start.

We also managed to get out for walks if the weather permitted. All the animals on the island are wild but they seem to like to congregate near the centre.

This heron had hurt his wing, not badly enough to stop him fishing and flying, but it was a bit disabling for him. He spent a lot of time just sitting on the fence at the centre and watching what was going on. He appeared to have no fear at all.

This Oyster Catcher was seen strutting about in front of the centre most of the time. There were plenty of flocks of Oyster Catchers for him to join if he chose, but he seemed to prefer hanging out with the Buddhists.

The sheep and goats love to be on the stoney sea shore.

The horses are totally wild, but there again, they do seem to like being near the centre. I did manage to let a young and rather curious colt smell my fingers and he let me rub his velvety nose!

Jemima investigating St Molaise's cave. St Molaise lived in this cave in the 6th Century, next to the Holy Spring where the waters are said to be very holy and healing.

Some of the people on the course.

More people on the course.

A bit of tai chi one afternoon by the sea.

If the clouds lifted in the evening, we got some spectacular skies.

And I can't finish without the inevitable birdie for Maalie.


tut-tut said...

How interesting you should have been doing this; I'm trying to find a Zen meditation group here, and I feel compelled to be doing yoga more than the slacker once-a-week version.

Beautiful photos. Makes me want to take the next plane over!

simon said...

is tai chi a form of white leaf tea??

Litl-Luther said...

Hey Renzo,
I read your post! My conviction remains the same regarding Chenrezi, just as I wrote at my blog and at Susan's; interesting also that it was your yoga instructor who took you there....

....several very nice pictures though!


Martin Stickland said...

But what about the beer? When did you get to drink the beer that is what I want to know!

You flexible thing you, glad you had a good time, love that sunset shot!

Top bunk for you hey?

I would have loved to have joined you, very peaceful.


Craver Vii said...

I loved the photo of the old bearded goat. Can you imagine walking around on that rocky terrain all day?! I'd break an ankle for sure.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Simon - you are so funny!!

Oh Craver - you and I are thinking alike, as ususal. I was thinking of Tai Chi on the rocky shore and thinking of busting my behind - how graceful and peaceful would that be - NOT!

Lorenzo - I love the sunset picture - it is amazing!!! And - you look to be in quite good shape - the yoga must be good for your body! Wish it was as effective for mine! Glad you and Jemima had a good time together - wow how I would love to have Olivia alone for a week in peace and quiet!

Have a wonderful trip to Turkey!!!

Anonymous said...

St Molaise's cave is not much of a cave, is it. Looking forward to showing Allan the animal photos tonight.


Martin Stickland said...

Who are you calling sausage my little cup cake!

Have a great time in Turkey, watch out for my big sister who is out there at the moment!


Craver Vii said...

Sailing. I wish I could try that at lease once. Have a great time.

Maalie said...

Great pictures, and nice shots of the wildlife (Oystercatcher is one word, btw).

There is one question that everyone is dying to ask but are too shy.

What were you actually meditating about? I mean, you seemed to have spent an awful long time doing it, you must have been meditating about something?

lorenzothellama said...

Maalie, you don't meditate on anything. If you do, it is contemplation not meditation.

When you meditate, you have a 'support'. This could be the breath, or maybe any noise that is going on. If you find your mind is wandering, you come back to the support and 'watch' your breath, the sound or even 'watch' your thoughts. Thoughts come and go and you just let them drift through your mind like waves coming in and out.

This is actually much harder than it sounds. The point is to try not to 'grasp' thoughts and hang on to them nor to push them away. You acknowledge that they are there and then let them go.

Try it. Try five minutes at first and see how you get on. It's great to do in a plane.

Craver Vii said...

I have heard that the difference between Eastern meditation and JudeoChristian meditation is that the former is emptying one's self, while the latter is a filling up. Do you find that to be fairly accurate?

lorenzothellama said...

Not sure Craver. The sort of meditation I do is 'mindful' meditation, i.e. being totally aware of what is going on, but being in a state of stillness and calmness. If you get into this state a certain amount of clarity comes. Even if it only comes for a few seconds it is wonderful.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Have a wonderful trip Lorenzo - take plenty of pictures for those of us stuck stateside! We'll miss you!!

Raelha said...

I read Martin's comment to mean that he've liked to have joined you on the top bunk.

Excellent sunset photo.

Litl-Luther said...

I wonder if that is what Martin meant. You never know with that character!

Shammickite said...

I don't think I'd be very good at meditation. I have to think about things all the time, I don't know how to make my mind go blank.... except when I'm watching American TV programmes of course.

Maalie said...

Isn't Saint Molaise the patron saint of black treacle?

Shammickite said...

Isn't it too cold in Scotland for yoga? Or do you meditate the cold away?
I do tai chi in the park in the summer, but as soon as September gets here, we go inside. Okay, we're sissies, I know.

Abraham Lincoln said...

It seems to be a lot of beautiful photos. I like the horses and the cave. The horses for what they are and the cave for what might have been.

Angie Davis said...

You lucky thing! I've seen lots of herons but never been that close to one. Such majestic birds - I just love to watch them landing on water.

Merisi said...

Beautiful island, interesting wildlife and horses!

I think the last time I meditated or sat still was before I was born.

P.S. @ Simon:
There's no white tea in chai lattes!*dah*

Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

Apparently we all looked very "Zen" as we came to the end of walking to Santiago. I think that meant we were all too tired to run anywhere. And we didn't care!