A seminar by and for young people from all over Europe
from 29.12.2015 till 03.01.2016 in the Hotel Schloss Heinsheim
Heinsheim. Many of our readers already know this small town on the Neckar between Heilbronn and Heidelberg. Either they read about it on the SITA website, or they have attended a seminar at this particular location.
In the middle of a small village right on the river Neckar – bordered by a centuries-old wall – lies the castle Heinsheim. This small but fine Baroque style property has been one of the first castle hotels since the early seventies.
Ten years ago, when Chris Tamdjidi took over Heinsheim Castle, which had fallen into a state of deep sleep, he did so with the intention of establishing the first ” Contemplative Hotel ” in Germany. The inspiration and idea behind this was to dissociate the classical and traditional meditation from the religious and cultural environment and to offer it in a secular – that is to say worldly non-denominational – ambience.
From mid-December to mid-January, the hotel is closed for one month each year for the team to enjoy their deserved break after a busy season. However, the hotel is not closed for the annual Winter Youth Retreat.
An idea meets favorable circumstances. The idea for a seminar by and for young people appeared about 10 years ago in the mind of Susanne Becker, which provides today for the smooth running of this extraordinary event. At the same time, Chris Tamdjidi began to turn Schloss Heinsheim into a hotel focused on mindfulness and meditation. I myself was able to accompany the seminar with humorous yet profound lectures and workshops right from the start. The unwavering confidence of Chris Tamdjidi’s hotel team to put the entire infrastructure of a four-star hotel in the hands of strangers young people is the generous foundation that made this seminar possible.
This year, 80 young people from 11 different countries arrived. Some came for the very first time, others are ‘old’ acquaintances and have been there from the beginning. Especially the coordinators are experienced and inspired repeat offenders. Among them, there are those responsible for cooking, washing dishes, house cleaning, guest services, meditation, finances, shopping, New Year’s party preparation and for transport from and to the station. This group of about a dozen ‘department heads’ organizes and supervises the smooth running of all necessary work. The whole seminar is 100% self-sufficient. In other words, all participants help ensure that everything works as smoothly as possible and without disruption. Each participant takes responsibility for a small specific task a day: preparing breakfast or doing the dishes, emptying trash or cleaning toilets, tidying up the meditation room or doing the shopping, preparing tea break or decorating the dining room, everyone contributes to the success of the big picture.
What are all the young people doing in this remote location while the whole world is excited about New Year’s Eve? They do not do anything! In fact, they actually do NOTHING! In addition to all the many activities like the o. G. Doing jobs, making music, flirting, talking, practicing yoga, comforting somebody and hugging somebody else, laughing and crying, arguing and keeping silent … besides all this bustling activity, the core of this unusual gathering is meditation – the centuries-old practice of sitting and doing NOTHING.
In addition to heart-moving workshops on communication, poetry, yoga, calligraphy and playing with a well-known house music DJ, all participants meet several times a day to meditate. A thorough introduction to this timeless exercise of self-knowledge and unconventional lectures on their application in everyday life especially of young people set the course for life. Although it was neither forced nor predetermined by the organization, more than 60 participants on New Year’s Eve, instead of celebrating with champagne and booze, preferred to sit quietly and meditate in the large meditation room from midnight to half past midnight. The subsequent party ended in the morning at six.
If on the last day of the retreat everyone who wants to express their experiences and experiences in the famous CLOSING CIRCLE, is always an incredibly touching moment. There are tears of emotion and a lot of laughter. Anyone lucky enough to have been there can sense that the world is a fundamentally good world. One in which strangers become friends within a few days, where talents and the courage to show them become as open as love, laughter or sadness. Magic days full of authenticity and heart.
Of all the many seminars of a busy year, this retreat is something very special for us coordinators, organizers and seminar leaders of SITA-MEDITATION.
Please register early … The last seminar was fully booked in November. We hope to see you there!