2024 Summer Seminar Heart Work. Spiritual Ecology and Meditation Retreat Varese Ligure

September 5 – 8, 2024

Heart Work. Approaching Reality through Love. Spiritual Ecology and Meditation Retreat, Varese Ligure, Italy


Alta Val di Vara Varese Ligure

For the Sufis, we all have an invisible and nonmaterial organ of perception: The heart. We see with the heart – there is a place inside us where we understand what matters not from the standpoint of personal affairs, from what is good for us, but from the standpoint of what matters in order to nourish this world – this fragile mandala of a world, opening up like a blossom to our feeling – with life. For the Sufis, there is a place in the heart which is our innermost center, but which is nonetheless not ours.

In this "Heart of Hearts", Life itself speaks and experiences through us. The Heart of Hearts is our deepest identity – and at the same time we share it with everything and everyone. It is the core of all that is alive, the fountain where life gives itself to every being, which is the same fountain, the same desire to give life, in any one of us: Love that yearns to call into Being. In our epoch, most of us have all but forgotten this place, this true center, which connects us to the heart of the world and is our most intimate self – and is what we are not, because it gives us to ourselves. We have forgotten that the divine reality is so close – "closer to me than my jugular vein".

But sometimes we see the closeness of this living and giving beauty in the beauty of the world around us, in the silent valleys of remote mountain ranges, in the flaming sky of a spring sunset, in the gushing waters of a wild stream. They all point us towards the heart of hearts – which in the end is closer than we could ever imagine, right in ourselves. Perceived from the angle of love, all is one, all is an outpouring of the life-giving heart of hearts. With careful questions and delicately curated ways of experiencing the natural world around us, nature can "point out" the nature of reality, which in its basic essence is the endless desire to give life. 

In the retreat we will search for our hearts and will invite them to guide us to perception of reality. We will learn more about the Sufi way of approaching the divine through the experience – and the provision – of love, and how love can be understood as a building power behind the manifest forms of life. We will understand the distinction between the Western idea of romantic love and love as surrender to the desire of life to be and to be nourished. The retreat will consist of morning lectures & discussions, framed by silent meditation, and afternoon excursions and immersive experiences in nature. 

Preliminary seminar program

Links: "Composting Christianity" Interview with Andreas Weber on the Unknowing Podcast with Brie Stoner.
"Beyond Emptiness", my recently published essay on life as compassion and the mystical work of my teacher Francisco Varela (write me for full text version).
"The Mystic Heart", essential talk by Sufi teacher Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee​. And another one by him, equally essential: "For the Love of All Created by Thee".
"Learning to Love again" – video snippet of the third session of my "Ecology of Love" course for Advaya (still bookable).
Andreas Weber: love as the desire to give life, Eros in life and death, and queering identity. Interview with Hannah Close from Advaya.

Signing up: The retreat is offered as a gift. Donations to cover living costs of course are welcome. Additional accomodation costs (preferably in a great traditional Hotel, distance on foot to the venue three minutes, Albergo Amici – half pension about € 60 per day and guest) or of own choice. The course will take place outside and in the rotund on the highest floor of the medieval Fieschi castle in the village centre. Many nice and very traditional restaurants in the village which still is a bit like Italian life in the 1970s. Ample possibilities to explore the area plus visit the 40-mins distant Mediterranean coast. In order to sign up, please email me (address on the contact page). Varese Ligure is reachable by train and bus (IC line Milan–La Spezia–Livorno–Salerno, leave train at Sestri Levante and take bus 750 to Varese Ligure) and by car (from coastal motorway A12 or Cisa motorway A15).

Terms and Conditions