1. Insight Meditation residential retreat experience: minimum 3 weeks silent, teacher-led, residential Insight Meditation retreats. (If you are very well developed in the other 7 prerequisites and have close to two weeks of silent Insight Meditation retreat experience, or if you have developed a thorough knowledge of the Insight Meditation frameworks and know deeply the territory of spending time in silence with your own heart and mind, please detail thoroughly on your application the ways in which you have gained equivalent experience, and Catherine will be interested to read and consider this.)
2. Facility with energy body practice, including the following:
- capacity and confidence to abide in and with an awareness of the whole body
- familiarity working with the energetic patternings of clinging as they show up in your body and some skill with loosening these in the direction of samatha
- facility with opening to beautiful and difficult emotions with the whole body as a basis, including an understanding of emotions as dependent arisings
- This prerequisite will be sufficiently well established if you feel you understand and have meditative skill with the ideas and practices presented in these talks:
- The Energy Body (A Little Bit of What, Why, and How)
- Energy, Image, Emotion (Part 1)
- Energy, Image, Emotion (Part 2)
3. Self-knowledge. Soulmaking Dharma asks a lot of the practitioner, including knowledge of one’s individual psychological patterns and the capacity to work in different ways with emotional and psychological processes as they are experienced in the field of the body.
4. Metta: A love, appreciation and trust in kindness and practices of kindness.
5. Familiarity with emptiness, dependent origination and ways of looking as outlined by Rob Burbea. This view of emptiness differs considerably from most other views presented in Western Dharma. Some knowledge of, affinity for, and working familiarity with this view of emptiness is an essential foundation for the opening of Soulmaking Dharma.
This prerequisite can be met by reading and practicing with the book Seeing that Frees. If you do not have this practice background, you can also listen to the following recordings in order to see if you have an affinity with this view:
- Approaching the Dharma: Part 1 – Unbinding the World
- Approaching the Dharma: Part 2 – Liberating Ways of Looking
- Emptiness Clinic minutes 13:22-46:51
6. Interest in and affinity for the orientations and key ideas of Soulmaking Dharma. If you haven’t already, please listen to the following talks to gauge your interest:
7. An open mind. The path of Soulmaking Dharma requires a willingness to allow the loosening of dominant or unquestioned frameworks through which we tend to view experience and practice. The following three-part series gives a good sense of the ways in which Soulmaking Dharma will ask for an open mind:
8. A keen interest in restoring, opening and expanding senses of sacredness, and a desire to know beauty more widely and to explore more resonances, richnesses and meaningfulness with regard to self, other and world.
If you do not feel well-established in the prerequisites detailed above but want to strengthen them in your practice in order to be able to take the course in the future, there are several pathways for development.
For the recordings from previous retreats, you might consider working through the material together with a small group of sangha.
Energy body and samatha:
- The Art of Concentration (2008 retreat at Gaia House)
- Samatha Meditation (2007 retreat at Gaia House)
- Practising the Jhanas (2019-20 retreat at Gaia House)
Energy body and emotions:
- The Boundless Heart (2011 retreat at Gaia House)
- working with other talks by Rob on practicing with emotions and mind states (search on Dharmaseed for anything with the words ‘Mind States’, ‘Emotion(s)’, or ‘Psychodynamics’ in the talk title)
- Joining the online course ‘Developing Artful and Liberating Ways of Looking within Our Emotional Life’ beginning in September http://dharmacourse.org/ with two of Rob’s trained teachers. This will be very helpful in itself and will help create a basis for any future Soulmaking practice.
- reading and practicing with the book Seeing that Frees
- attending the Emptiness Drop-In Group offered by some of Rob’s teacher trainees and graduated teachers Metta:
- Metta and Emptiness (Level 1) (2011 retreat at Gaia House)
- The Loving Kindness (Metta) Retreat (2010 retreat at Gaia House)
Soulmaking practice and theory:
- Path of the Imaginal (2015 longer course through Gaia House)
- Foundations of a Soulmaking Dharma (2018 retreat at Gaia House)