Where and how we place our attention is fundamental to being human. In some ways, we can say that attention is our most sacred resource. Modern life increasingly fragments our mind and shortens our attention spans. An undistracted mind is a rare gift.
The last element of the Buddha’s Eightfold Path, wise concentration, allows us to perceive experience without reactivity, fixation and stress. In the simplicity of relaxation and meditative attention, we find that obsessive thoughts and difficult emotions lose their hold. The gathered mind is an antidote to distraction and leads to delight: joy, contentment, equanimity and a responsive heart.
Our retreat will explore relaxation, embodiment and the natural rhythm of the breath as supports for calm abiding, deepening concentration and clear seeing.
RETREAT SCHEDULE: 6 nights, 7 days
Arrive 2-4pm Friday, April 17th
Depart 11:00am Thursday, April 23th
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.
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.