The daily rhythm of a retreat usually involves alternating periods of sitting and walking meditation, nature walks, meals and tea, as well as practice meetings, dharma talks and rest periods. The first sitting usually begins before breakfast. Each morning the teachers offer continuing meditation instructions for the day. 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 are from the Buddhist Insight Meditation tradition.
Sitting Meditation: Sitting meditation is at the heart of silent retreats. In sitting practice silence and stillness develop, concentration deepens, and awareness expands. The training of the heart brings kindness and compassion for all that arises. We come into presence and learn to find freedom in the midst of life as it truly is.
Walking Meditation: Walking gracefully and wisely on the earth is also a way to practice meditation. On retreat, periods of walking meditation alternate with periods of sitting meditation. Through walking practice we learn to sustain meditative awareness through movement. In walking meditation, we become aware in the midst of activity. Throughout the retreat we learn to cultivate a mindful awareness in all postures, sitting walking and lying down.
Eating Meditation: An awareness of food, and the mindful understanding of the entire process of nourishment and eating is included in the practice at retreats. Retreatants are encouraged to bring the same calm, focused attention to eating as is brought to sitting and walking. Mindful eating is a wonderful context for the arising of insights. Every bite of food we eat contains, rain, sun, earth and the work of many, many beings.
Dharma Talks and guided meditations: Each day, the teachers present a different set of teachings that are central to practicing mindfulness and compassion. These teaching can be applied to our own experience. Sometimes the talks focus on retreat practice, and sometimes they offer teachings for wise living in the world.
OPTIONAL: Meditation Cabins for Rent at Big Bear Retreat Center
If retreat practice is challenging because of your living situation or you would like to practice in a private location, there is an option to practice this online retreat on your own at the Big Bear Retreat Center. Please note: there would not be any in-person instruction or facilitated activities during your stay.
Big Bear Retreat Center is offering a limited number of its 3 bedroom / 2 bathroom cabins for rent, on a first-come first-served basis, for the duration of this retreat. Each cabin has a living area and small kitchen. The cabin (and portions of the grounds with wifi access) would be your own private space to participate in the online retreat virtually via your computer or phone.
Contact-free vegetarian meals will be delivered to your cabin three times per day, and coffee, tea, and snacks will be available in your cabin’s kitchen. You may also bring your own snacks with you. In addition to your private cabin, you will also have full access to the grounds, trails, meditation hall (limited capacity), and outdoor dining spaces.
Pricing for this offering is set at $750 per cabin for room and meals for the duration of the retreat plus an additional $250 per additional guest – sharing the same cabin – for room and meals during the retreat.
Click HERE to find out about pricing.
Register for a cabin on the Big Bear Retreat Center website HERE.