We like to hear recommendations about readers’ favorite retreat centers, and insights into what people can expect there. This month’s recommendation is Taraloka, a women’s retreat centre in Shropshire, United Kingdom.
“Give your bum a good, hard smack. It likes that.”
Was not the advice I was expecting to hear on a loving-kindness retreat!
But so was the tone of the weekend-long course – warm, wellbeing-focussed, and with a good sense of humour.
It was said during a Chi Gung warm-up. Obviously.
As a venue for Buddhist practice, Taraloka played its part beautifully. Tiny vases with hand-picked flowers brightened table tops. Hot water bottles swathed in bright wool became huggable. A binocular set on a windowsill enabled a serendipitous moment – bringing small, intricate, pretty stuff into focus.
Vegan food welcomed us on our first night. Thai curry, a gingery carrot salad, and toast spread with peanut-butter and chopped banana brought wholesome joy to my weekend.
An intimate atmosphere in the shrine room produced comfortable meditation sessions. Being interconnected with other women became easy and welcome.
The precepts of the course shone out not only during meditation, but in every interaction over the entire weekend. ‘Good’ practice produced a positive effect. ‘Bad’ practice highlighted things I need to work on.
It was an ideal space to work things through. To become a better person.
The tone of a review of a loving-kindness retreat is surely an indicator of its success. But just in case you’re in any doubt as to whether it was effective, the answer is a whole-hearted yes.
You can visit Taraloka’s website at www.taraloka.org.uk
Have you been to Taraloka? What was your experience like there? Let us know in the comments below.