All posts tagged: retreat

an invitation

An Invitation

by:  Katharine Kaufman A retreat has a beginning, middle, and end to it and certain things are bound to happen during these phases.  I listen to a chef on the radio. First thing to teach novice chefs is: mise-en-place. This means to gather and put all the ingredients and tools you’ll need for the recipe in one place and also to prepare them. Chop, grate, stir. This is the beginning. She said the new chefs want to rush to make the recipe without preparing.  I have packed and traveled and checked in, removed my shoes, and lined them up with the others and am standing outside the meditation hall. There is one thing left I need to do to begin. My meditation cushion. I need to find a place to sit down and wait. “Stay in the middle of the event and listen for messages there,” Barbara Dilley, my friend, and a contemplative dance mentor said to a group of us. I wrote it down and pasted the instructions on the inside cover of my …

Coming Home to Ourselves

A retreat experience at Shambhala Mountain Center by:  Tricia Cominsky The magic of being in retreat is ineffable.  Knowing this to be true, I’m still inspired to attempt to capture the feeling and experience with the written word. Perhaps it’s the mystery of what possible causes and conditions create the circumstances for twenty-eight strangers to show up on the same day, at the same time in a mountain retreat setting at 8,000 feet, the week before Christmas.  That alone strikes me as curiously miraculous. Shambhala Mountain Center is an hour’s drive from Fort Collins, Colorado; two hours from the Denver International Airport.  It’s not easy to find, especially during winter when daylight leaves us at four-thirty in the afternoon.  Yet we all made the trek.  We arrived from Manhattan, Chicago, Boulder, Santa Fe, Cleveland, and elsewhere.  Those who live and work at SMC and chose to participate in The Art of Meditation retreat had only to walk from their cabins or lodge rooms to the Ridgen Shrine Room, where we all gathered on December 19th …

Thoughts on Mahamudra Retreats

by:  Acharya Richard John My first experience of a mahamudra retreat was in the first session of the three-year retreat at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, over 30 years ago. It was the classic Kagyu version, using the text by the ninth Karmapa, Pointing Out the Dharmakaya. Following tradition, the retreat began with three months of guru yoga practice. When we got to the actual mahamudra section, (another three months), we were fully primed for this pinnacle of Buddhist dharma practice, eight men and eight women, in our separate shrine rooms, all facing forward and doing shamatha and vipashyana practice. The obvious question for me was, what exactly made this mahamudra practice? It seemed like a very big deal, but it looked just like any other small dathun. My first insight into that, which sounds amusing now but seemed quite profound at the time, was “Oh, now we are actually going to follow the instructions!” That led to the recognition that we were practicing shamatha and vipashyana with a spirit of continuously roused windhorse, and ultimately to the …

How To Stop Your Marriage From Falling Apart

by  Harville Hendrix Ph.D. and Helen LaKelly Hunt Ph.D. Four provocative truths every married couple needs to know Falling in love is amazing! The excitement of meeting someone new brings out the best in all of us; the journey ahead feels like an open road full of possibility … but, then something happens: Either the relationship starts to feel stale, or perhaps money issues, kids, or trying to figure out a comfortable work-life balance comes into play. Whatever the cause, the initial spark dims or goes out altogether, and the future of your relationship becomes a long and winding road, full of pit stops and flat tires. Well, don’t worry because this happens to everyone. All it means is that it’s time for a tune-up. You see, we spend a lot of time and energy finding our perfect mates. By the time we say “I do,” we assume (and fervently hope) that the work is over. The idea of having to spend time working on your marriage may seem strange or even depressing, but it’s …

canoe couple

Stay In The Canoe And Paddle

by Harville Hendrix Ph.D. and Helen LaKelly Hunt Ph.D The question we are asked most often is: “what do you do if your partner doesn’t…..(do any imaginable thing!) or “what if you are married to someone who is…..(any imaginable bad trait or behavior).” In the past we have responded to these questions with answers addressed to the specifics. As we have listened to my answers, we found that whatever specifics we responded to, the pattern was always the same. The answer was “stay in the process.” So what is the process? It is IMAGO DIALOGUE. There are no enlightened answers to any question or clever solutions to any problem. Questions and problems are all functions of “process breakdown.” Partners stop listening and become defensive. Polarization occurs and the impasse is strengthened. The only way out of this quagmire is the Imago Dialogue process with its three parts: mirroring, validating and empathy. The process of Imago Dialogue is something like a canoe on a lake. Two people are paddling, one in the back and one in the front. …

planning a retreat

Plan to Retreat in 2022

by Dhi Good What’s the best thing you’ve ever given yourself? For me, the most precious and meaningful gift is time. Time away from the day-to-day fray of life, time to be with myself, time to move and be still and listen and just be. Time to eat mindfully, get plenty of rest and get away from those devices that buzz and beep for attention throughout the day. We all need time to reset, let go of habits that don’t serve us well, and get back to who we truly are deep down. We plan for holidays and trips to see the relatives, but when it comes to planning for our own health and wellbeing, our longing to reconnect with one’s self tends to fall to the bottom of the list. For 2022, why not try making your retreat(s) a priority? Whether you go for a yoga retreat or a silent meditation intensive, you will be taking a step toward wholeness and restoration. For me, I find that after several days on retreat I’m often …

work with senses

Working with our Senses and our State of Mind 

by Steve Vosper So, life can be challenging. We all know this. The question arises, what can we do about it? In my October SMC Newsletter posting, Challenges are the Path, I suggested that perhaps those challenges can be a way forward, rather than obstacles in our lives. In September I had also suggested that Mindfulness is the Key, and that’s where this particular rubber meets the road.  With our own basic mindfulness, we can work with our senses, work with our state of mind. We can begin to understand ourselves better, begin to transform ourselves for the better and begin to engage in our lives more fully.  That said, this doesn’t involve taking on some kind of dreadful project or big addition to our seemingly endless to-do lists. Nor does it require special skills and experience that only the select few can access or accomplish. It just involves a slight shift in attitude, a slight turning toward ourselves right now. It simply involves being with ourselves, being kind to ourselves in our present situation, …

how to be yourself

How to Be Yourself 

Excerpt from the international bestseller You Were Not Born To Suffer by Blake D. Bauer “Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.”     Hermann Hesse If you stop pretending to be something you are not, or to feel other than you do, then what? If you were to let your mask come off, and show the world all of who you really are, then who would we all get to meet? If you stopped trying to fit in or to please your parents, friends, partner or whomever else’s approval, praise or love you seek, then what would you say? Where would you go? And what would you do? If you allowed the world to see your darkness and your light, your vulnerability and your power, do you fear you’d end up alone? But wait, are you not alone already when you feel misunderstood or unable to express what you really think and feel?  It is ironic that we as human beings inevitably have to ask ourselves, ‘How …

silent retreat

The Gift of Silent Retreat 

by Jon Aaron  The silence amidst the noise the gem at the core of every experience is polished by simple attention into shining magnificence -Nirmala  “words do not come” I remember my very first experience on an 8-day retreat. I had no idea what to expect. I had been meditating for a year or so and decided it was time to try a retreat. The challenges in the first few days felt insurmountable. I wanted to jump out of my skin. By the end, I never wanted to leave! Each time I was ready to give up, something was said by one of the teachers which gave such encouragement and confidence that my thoughts of leaving vanished. This was helped by the support of everyone else as we practiced together in community. It’s hard to describe what happened. Suffice to say it changed my life forever. Retreat practice is such a unique opportunity, and these days in-person retreats are even more special. With vaccines, ease of testing and a communal commitment to keeping each other safe, we can …