A note from Celeste: Dawn Scott is one of my dear Dharma sisters and a wonderful teacher and deep and dedicated practitioner. She and I have been sitting together at the annual monthlong retreat at Spirit Rock for the past decade. We are really looking forward to this special opportunity to co-teach together for the first time and share our practice with you. I hope you’ll join us.
We live in an increasingly complex world, and many of us long for more stillness and quiet in our busy lives. During this seven-day retreat, we’ll learn to slow down and attune to the fresh simplicity of our present moment experience, rest in stillness, and connect with the heart’s inner capacity for healing and freedom. Together we’ll explore some of the supports for presence: letting go of distraction, the development of simplicity and contentment, and connection with a true sense of refuge within our own hearts and minds, in community, and in nature. By bringing mindful attention to our moment to moment experience, we can learn to cultivate resilience amidst change and grow in awareness, love and wisdom. As we focus on practices that quiet the mind and open the heart, we support a continuity of mindfulness and the unfolding of insight and a deepening of our meditation practice.
The structure of an Insight meditation retreat includes time for sitting meditation, walking meditation, rest, mindful eating, and Dharma talks along with some instructions and guidance, and short individual practice discussion meetings to support you within the container of a silent retreat. This helps us to deepen our connection to our direct moment to moment experience, cultivate continuity of mindfulness, and awaken the heart and mind for greater ease, balance, and clarity in daily life.
RETREAT SCHEDULE: 6 nights, 7 days
Arrive 2-4pm Saturday, May 2nd
Depart 11:00am Friday May 8th
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.
Pricing: The price of the retreat includes accommodation for 6 nights and all meals for the duration of the retreat.
Donations/Dana: Please note that the price of the retreat covers accommodation, food, facilities, and other InsightLA expenses. To allow the teachers to continue their dharma work, support from the students is needed. There will be an opportunity to contribute at the end of the retreat to the teachers.
Accommodations: Located just a 2.5 hour drive from Los Angeles, Big Bear Retreat Center is nestled in the ancient Juniper woodlands of the San Bernardino Mountains near the town of Big Bear, California. The tranquil property is immediately adjacent to the National Forest and offers access to roughly 1,300 acres of conserved lands.
The property consists of eleven separate buildings for dining, meditating, and sleeping. The single-story residence buildings include both single and double rooms. There is a mirror and a small clothes-hanging area in each room. Two bathrooms are located in each building.
Yogi Jobs: Participation in this retreat will involve a light working meditation to support the community experience. When you arrive you will be assigned a daily task to complete with mindful attention. Please let us know if you have any physical challenges that might impact your ability to perform certain tasks. Please also bring long pants, closed toe shoes, and a shirt that you can change into in the event you are assigned a yogi job in the kitchen.
Meals: All meals will be vegetarian. Gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options available.
Work Retreatant Opportunity: A work retreatant can attend the retreat for free in exchange for up to 5 hours of work a day and the rest of the time they can attend all activities of the retreat. If you are interested please email firstname.lastname@example.org.