During this retreat, we’ll explore practices that help us to quiet the mind and open the heart and support of the development of wisdom, clear seeing, and loving awareness that is so needed in our world today. The daily rhythm of an online Insight meditation retreat includes guided and silent meditation practice, time for independent sitting in the communal virtual meditation hall and walking meditation periods, rest, mindful eating instructions for meals, Dharma talks, and small group practice discussion meetings with the teachers.
Practicing “alone together” while in our own spaces presents a unique and powerful new kind of retreat container to deepen our practice and the integration of mindfulness into how we’re living during these times. After teaching several online retreats, we’ve learned what works well for supporting a home retreat and have created a schedule that’s accessible to people with different circumstances. This particular format combines the dedicated practice time of a residential retreat while also supporting those with family members and/or other responsibilities.
There’s an optional first meditation period that usually begins before breakfast. Each morning the teachers offer continuing meditation instructions for the day. The whole retreat is a succession of mindfulness trainings, breathing practices, deep awareness of the body and environment, meditations on the nature of feelings, and awareness of mind from the Buddhist Insight Meditation tradition.
Sitting (or stationary) Meditation: Sitting meditation is at the heart of silent retreats. In sitting practice silence and stillness develop, concentration deepens, and awareness expands. Through training the heart, kindness and compassion are awakened to meet all that arises within awareness. We come into presence and learn to find freedom in the midst of life as it truly is. The Buddha invited us to establish mindfulness in all postures. For those who find sitting is not possible for their body, alternate stationary postures are suggested.
Walking Meditation (or movement meditation): Throughout the retreat we learn to cultivate mindful awareness in all postures: sitting, walking, standing, and lying down. In mindful walking meditation practice, we learn to sustain meditative awareness through movement, and establish continuity of mindfulness in the midst of activity. Walking meditation helps us to bridge the gap between our experiences in seated meditation and daily life. We alternate between sitting and walking meditation to support the establishment of mindfulness and concentration and to balance the factors of energy and calm in our practice. The Buddha invited us to establish mindfulness in all postures. For those who find walking meditation is not possible, alternate forms of mindful movement are suggested.
Eating Meditation: Instructions will be given on how to integrate the process of nourishment and eating as a meditation during retreat for continuity of mindfulness and a deepening of practice. Retreatants are encouraged to bring the same calm, focused attention to eating as is brought to sitting, walking, and other activities. Through reflection on the Buddhist teaching of interdependence, we have the opportunity to slow down and recognize each bite of food we eat is a result of countless causes and conditions and to appreciate the blessing of mindful nourishment.
Dharma Talks and guided meditations: Each day, the teachers present a different set of teachings that are central to practicing mindfulness and compassion. These teachings can be applied to our own direct experience. Sometimes the talks focus on retreat practice, and sometimes they offer teachings for wise living in the world.
Dana/Generosity: There will also be an opportunity to offer Dana for the teachers and center at the end of the retreat. Thank you for your support!
(please note opening day will begin at 9am, not 7:00, closing day will finish at 12pm)
7:00 – 7:45 am Optional morning sit
7:45 – 9:00 am Meal break
9:00 – 10:15 am Sitting meditation (or stationary practice) with instructions, Q&A, announcements
10:15 – 10:45 am Walking meditation (or movement practice)
10:45 – 11:30 am Sit (or stationary practice)
11:30 am – 12:00 pm Walk (or movement practice)
12:00 pm – 12:30 pm Sit (or stationary practice)
12:30 – 2:30 pm Meal break
2:30 – 3:00 pm Sit or Small Group Practice Discussion Meeting
3:00 – 3:30 pm Walk or Small Group Practice Discussion Meeting
3:30 – 4:15 pm Dharma Talk
4:15 – 4:30 pm Break
4:30- 5:00 pm Sit (or stationary practice)
5:00 – 5:30 pm Walk
5:30 – 6:00 pm Brahma Vihara (Heart practice) guided meditation
6:00pm – evening Meal break, rest, or further practice
*The retreat includes 6 full days and 6 nights of practice together. We are asking participants in this retreat to commit to all items on the schedule that are in bold, and as many of the other practice sessions as your circumstances allow. It will start at 9:00am PST on Saturday, October 2nd and end at 12:00pm PST on Thursday, October 8th
*Note: This retreat meets the online retreat qualifications for Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach’s Mindulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program. If you are a participant in that program and would like to receive credit for attending this retreat, please indicate in your registration and fill out the agreement form to meet the requirements.
Any participants from the MMTCP training program will be required to fill out this agreement form as a prerequisite to the retreat.