Silent Retreats

Everyone has an natural capacity to experience well-being, strength and confidence, even in the face of stress, pain, or illness. In an environment free of diversions or distractions, there is an opportunity to expand and strengthen this natural capacity through the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the meeting of life moment-by-moment with an open heart while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.

The Retreat includes meditation instruction, guided meditation sessions, movement exercises and mindful eating as well as sessions of reflection and contemplation of the teachings to deepen the understanding of the practice. The deep inner and outer silence of the retreat environment will facilitate an integrated body-mind practice that encourages awakening on every level of being, including the physical, energetic, emotional, and interpersonal dimensions.

Retreat Goals:
Provide a safe environment to develop and support a deep and powerful mindfulness meditation practice.
Promote a comprehensive retreat experience, independent of any religious affiliation.
Offer superb guidance and support from meditation instructors.
For those who are new to meditation practice, a week of silence can be an intensive and challenging but rewarding experience.

Retreat Attitudes:
Letting go

Retreat Expectations:
Genuine effort
Listening and participating

General Retreat Schedule:

The daily flow usually involves alternating periods of sitting and movement-based meditations and reflection periods. A typical day includes several sitting and movement periods of 45 minutes apiece. The whole retreat is a succession of mindfulness training, breathing practices, deep awareness of the body and environment, meditations on the nature of feelings, and awareness of mind.

Sitting Meditation: In sitting meditation, we work on expanding awareness, deepening concentration and developing silence and stillness. In sitting we can find wisdom and freedom for ourselves. Beginning mediators are encouraged to use the breath as an anchor for mindfulness. The arising and passing of breath shows us in a direct way the universal truth of impermanence. After an inner calm and steadiness are established through breathing, the meditation is systematically opened to include mindfulness of all experiences, external and internal, of body sensations and emotions, of thoughts and the nature of mind itself.

Movement Meditation: Moving with intention, grace and wisdom on the earth are excellent meditative practices. On retreat, periods of movement-based meditations alternate with periods of sitting meditation. Just as in sitting meditation, where attention is brought to the rhythmic pattern of breathing, in movement meditations, mindfulness is cultivated by focusing the attention on sensations of the body as one moves. In movement meditation we become aware in the midst of activity. Sometimes a slow, careful, practice movement is taught. Throughout the retreat we learn to cultivate a mindful awareness in all postures; sitting, walking, standing up or lying down.

Leaving the Retreat: Whatever your expectation of a retreat is going to be like, it will probably be different. Most participants find it deeply refreshing and healing, often life-transforming. While spiritual truths can be seen every day of our ordinary life, the stillness and simplicity of retreat brings a wonderful and unique possibility for renewal. At the retreat's end, talks and instructions are given for wise ways to leave the retreat and continue the practice at home. Our task is to return to our communities and bring a reawakened spirit of awareness and compassion to all we touch.

Benefits of completing a silent retreat
1.  Broader perspective
2.  Calmer
3.  Detox from life
4.  Happiness
5.  Impermanence
6.  Increased awareness
7.  Improved efficiency with time
8.  Improved mobility
9.  Learning to fail
10. Remaining equanimous


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