When you visit Finnskogen Retreat, it might be nice to know a bit about the practices that form the basis of our community:
Meditation, yoga, community work, silence, nature, workshops and intention & motivation.
Below, the various points are easily elucidated.
Over the last decades, researchers and mental health professionals have discovered that the ancient mindfulness practice can alleviate many types of mental disorders. Mindfulness helps us understand what is the basis of our behavior. We thus have the opportunity to change negative habits, which can make our lives rich and meaningful.
Mindfulness can help us meet our challenges, disappointments and difficulties. We enjoy the life we have, rather than fleeing or fantasizing about another life. By being more aware of our body, our thoughts and feelings we will receive and recognize signals about what's out of balance. Mindfulness teaches us to respect these signals and welcome them instead of pushing them away.
At Finnskogen Retreat we are committed to practicing mindfulness in all our daily activities. This is a good instrument to enable us to build our lives as we wish. Mindfulness meditation at the retreat involves
Formal practice (yoga, sitting meditation, lying meditation, walking meditation)
Informal practice (in work, activities, communication and otherwise in everyday life)
Yoga involves controlled breathing, body postures and meditation, with the aim of achieving a higher state of physical and spiritual well-being.
The exercises help release tension in the muscles and nervous system, calm the mind and increase concentration. It is also an effective way to break impulsive and compulsive behavior, gain self-awareness, regain physical health, and learn physical and mental self-control. Yoga is moving meditation and can be preparation for sitting meditation.
But yoga is also much more than just breathing, movement and postures. We practice with foundation in the basic 8 limbs of yoga, a deeper path that involves intentions, ethics and will, to understand who we are and to find our way.
Participating in a working community gives dignity and meaning. It gives the opportunity to contribute, to be useful, to mean something. We create and maintain something together. The working community has therapeutic effect on many levels. By bringing mindfulness, awareness, to work and activity, we live more in the moment, we get to know ourselves better and we create an opportunity for change in old patterns. A consequence of the working community is that the expenses for the retreats members will be kept as low as possible. In this way we can maintain a sustainable community where more people can make use of the offer.
Karma yoga (Sanskrit: कर्म योग), means "yoga of action". For a karma yogi, right action is a form of prayer.
It teaches us to contribute properly to the community, and act correctly, without being tied to gains or personal consequences. Karma Yoga is said to purify the mind. Karma yoga is the spiritual practice of "selfless action done for the benefit of others". Karma yoga is a path to attain spiritual liberation through work. It is righteous action without being attached to fruit or being manipulated by what the results may be, a dedication to one's duties, and trying one's best while being neutral to rewards or outcomes such as success or failure.
The work at the retreat consists of preparing food, cooking, gardening, planting, forest work, animal care, harvesting vegetables, maintenance of the farm and buildings, carpentry of what the community needs, cleaning public spaces etc.
We work at a leisurely pace and let the hands do the work that is in front of us, while we observe the mind and feel the movements of the body, the air against the skin and the feet against the ground. We work in groups or alone, aware of our thoughts, words and actions. Sunday we rest from work.
"Silence is essential. We need silence just as much as we need air, just as much as plants need light. If our minds are crowded with words and thoughts, there is no space for us. ”
- Thich Nhat Hanh
An important part of our community is the practice of Silence. We ask everyone to take part in this practice. The silence is very healing and a unique opportunity to calm down mental activity and observe what is happening in our minds and in our bodies.
Silence is a break for all the senses. It's about having a pause from eye contact and conversations, social media and updates. It's about quieting the mind in our head, seeking shelter in the inner peace and calm, in a quiet mind.
The ancient practice of Silence helps us start listening in a new way. This is a timeless and wise practice that helps us to be more sensitive and observant. It is a practice of rebuilding power.
We base the practice in the tradition of Noble Silence, a well-known and ancient practice in the Buddhist tradition, and many other wisdom traditions around the world.
Photo by Andrea Gamst
At Finnskogen Retreat we are committed to learning from each other. Group exercises and activities can contribute to greater understanding of ourselves and others, and make us better able to meet challenges in our lives in a balanced way.
The group exercises aim to make you more aware of who you are and what gifts and qualities you have. They give you the opportunity for insights, and can lead you in the direction you want to move towards.
We ARE nature. And as you are here and observe the nature within, the nature around us also forms a foundation for the retreat.
Nature is healing in itself. It invites to activities, walks, observations, learning and contemplation.
The retreat area is surrounded by forests, creeks, springs and water, vibrant life and colors.
The lake Skasen invites you to bathing, strolling and quiet reflection. The forest is the gateway to the tundra, which stretches for miles eastwards. It has a rich bird- and wildlife.
Intention and motivation
The retreat facilitates self-development, learning and growth. We make sure that you can find yourself in a supportive community, rest in the routines, learn about yourself and others, listen and share. We can stimulate internal growth through dissemination, tasks and activities, conversations and meditation.
However; only you can find the best edition of yourself, through your own intentions and motivation.