Two weeks ago I went on a mindfulness retreat. The retreat was held at the abbey of Postel. This is a village in the north of Belgium, at the border with the Netherlands.
History of the abbey
The first monastery was a farm monastery and dates back to 1140. It was founded by the abbey of Floreffe. In 1613 the monastery became a deanery and five years later, it transformed into an abbey.
During the French Revolution the Premonstratiensens had to abandon the abbey. They returned in 1847.
The abbey used to be self-sufficient. For the moment they still produce beer, cheese, bread, which is sold at the abbey shop.
The abbey continues its role as a haven for travelers by renting out rooms. These rooms have been renovated, but they lack all modern comfort (no bathroom, toilet, TV, internet,…). This is perfect for students or people looking to meditate.
Activities for tourists
During July and August the tourist information office organizes weekly guided tours in the abbey. This is the only moment the abbey’s valuable manuscripts are on display.
The villages of Postel and Mol are the ideal points of departure for hiking, bicycling and geocaching.
This mindfulness weekend was organized by Centrum De Spreng, a Dutch organization that focusses on self-development through mindfulness and yoga.
The program consisted of bodyscan meditations, walking meditations and meditations on self-compassion.
This was the first time in my life I went on a retreat. I only started meditating five months ago. The first day was very difficult. We were not allowed to talk and I was not used to meditating more than thirty minutes a day. However when I left on Sunday afternoon, I was very happy to have been a part of this. I have been feeling happier for a whole week now.
More information about the abbey: http://www.abdijpostel.be/
More information about Centrum De Spreng: http://www.centrumdespreng.nl/
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