Retreat day. Gen Devi, smiling with the joy of her meditation, says that meditating in the company of 3000 people, allows us to be like a seagull soaring on a slipstream, soaring on the slipstream of the collective focus of all these minds right into a deep absorption on our object of meditation.

We spend a couple of sessions on the clarity of the very subtle mind, and then a couple on the emptiness of the self. In each session the temple and marquees are completely full and yet breathtakingly still and focussed. It is a wonderful feeling. Afterwards there is noticeable inward focus as people quietly leave the temple.

It is a beautiful day – a beautiful day to walk through the woods down to the bay, enjoying the play of light on the leaves, and the sparkles of light on the rushing water in the estuary – seeing it all as a dream-like mere appearance to the mind, using these appearances to enhance our experience of the meditation. Down on the beach people are meditating or reading the Oral Instructions of Mahamudra. Everywhere you hear the sound of people discussing the Dharma. There is so much joyful enthusiasm for the practice, a collective sense of moving forward, of going deeper into the actual experience of the Dharma. As one Festival-goer put it: I used to think mahamudra was so complicated. But it all seems possible now, it”s within reach.