We are happy to share that this retreat has been thoughtfully formatted to accommodate international time zones so that we can practice together as a global community! Please click this link to view the two schedule options for the retreat. You can choose the option that is listed for your time zone.
This retreat also meets the requirements for participants in Jack Kornfield + Tara Brach’s Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification program through Sounds True.
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.
During this retreat, we’ll explore practices that help us to quiet the mind, open the heart and deepen our capacity to find balance and steadiness in the midst of change and uncertainty. We will cultivate the loving awareness and clear seeing that is so needed in our world today within this unique retreat container. 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
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, including breath awareness, inhabiting the body with mindful attention, 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!
Testimonials from Christiane and Celeste’s Oct 2020 retreat:
At the beginning the teachers said “You get the retreat you need” and it was absolutely true for me. There were difficult moments, and joyful moments, and for all of them the teachers were supportive, compassionate, and felt right there with me while also encouraging us to listen to ourselves. I’m definitely planning on attending at least one every year. – Caroline Y
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.
Register for a cabin on the Big Bear Retreat Center website HERE.
(Arrive 3/26/2021, Depart 4/2/2021)