Our Barn Manager answers a few questions
Barn Manager Tasha Bassingthwaighte answers a few questions about her practice and her inspirations.
Find out more about Tasha here
How did you come to dharma practice?
As a teen I was interested in Eastern philosophy and religion, and read lots of books that were a pretty random selection from that area. By the time I finished secondary school I was interested in doing more than reading, and so I planned a trip to India and went on a ten-day silent meditation course as a way to prepare for the trip to India. At that time, I found that there was something of interest in meditation, though it was not easy for me to sit for more than a few minutes.
Tell us about a book that has inspired you
One book that really touched me and helped me really fall in love with the Dharma is Thich Nhat Hanh's book on the Buddha's life Old Path White Clouds. Previous to reading that, I was interested in Buddhism, and thought that mediation was really helpful, but I don't think my heart was truly in it, it was more something that I thought was a good idea. The book helped my heart to connect with the teachings.
What's your daily practice look like?
My practice has changed through the years, from walking and mantra-based meditation, to an hour daily formal sitting, to integrating practice into my daily activities (from drinking tea to helping a toddler get through a tantrum). Currently, most days I sit for 30 minutes, either at the Barn or at home after my youngest has gone to bed. I also stop and connect with my breath or the natural world throughout the day and have at least a few minutes of walking meditation. I listen to dharma talks (again, sometimes just for ten minutes) each day which helps me feel inspired and connect to my intention to practice.
What or who is inspiring you currently?
One of my biggest inspirations is all the retreatants I'm with at the Barn. The amount of challenges we all have in our lives, and the sincere effort put in to practice to help us deal with these challenges wisely, is so inspiring to me. In terms of teachers, I listen to and read from many: Tara Brach, Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Akincano Marc Weber, Kaira Jewel Lingo, Michael Ciborski, Michael Stone.
Nature is also a constant inspiration to me: the nettle sprouts growing through the chill of winter, the sweeping branches of a beech tree, the bright blue sky filled with jackdaws....