A Personal Retreat
“Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes and the grass grows by itself.” —Zenrin, The Gospel According to Zen
I often tell my students to take one day a month or set aside a weekend for solitude.
Should you try it, the directions are simple. Go into an empty room, if you have one, or a large closet, if it gets enough fresh air. Don’t see or speak to anyone. Don’t read or study.
Simply sit quietly, aware of yourself and the world around you. Do some formal meditation practices if you wish.
Solitude shows you the way your mind creates your universe. For longer retreats you can … go out in a tent or a cabin.
Go anywhere you can be completely alone for a week, a few weeks, a month or more.
During this time, follow your own schedule of methods, such as formal meditation, hatha yoga, chanting and mantra.
But also spend time just sitting quietly. Sit near a tree, a brook, a rock. Set aside your intellect.
Let the natural flow of the universe course through your being and harmonize your soul.
Let it draw you into an eternal sense of time, of flow.
While sitting quietly you may get depressed from rerunning the old movies of your life. Your fantasies and plans may plague you.
But eventually a deep quietness will pervade your being, connecting you with profound aspects of yourself and of the universe.
It will open you to deeper guidance from within, guidance that brings you closer to God.
—Ram Dass, Journey of Awakening: A Meditator’s Guidebook
Stillness Within Retreats
“What shape waits in the seed of you to grow and spread its branches against a future Sky?” ~ David Whyte
Our silent half-day retreats explore a variety of mindfulness techniques, and are suitable for those new to meditation as well as experienced practitioners.
They consist of silent and guided meditation, walking meditation, a guided visualization, and other awareness practices. We end with tea and fellowship.
Our retreats nurture wholeness, and the ability to live our lives with more peace, happiness, wisdom, and compassion.
Feel free to bring your own meditation bench, but we sit on comfortable chairs for meditating. Dress causally, and bring a water bottle if you like. Please arrive a little early so that we can begin on time.
On Retreat: Practicing Nobel Silence
“Unless you stop and let go of your ordinary concerns, the spirit cannot speak to you.”
Noble Silence is a commitment to take a certain amount of time to simply be and keep silent, purposely withdrawing from activities that take your attention outside yourself.
As you maintain an inner focus, you become aware of thoughts, impulses, and emotions as they arise. Your prejudices and habits of mind will become illuminated. And rather than being swept up by them, bear witness to them.
Whether in activity or in meditation, this practice sharpens your senses and makes you more self-aware, bringing you greater wisdom and insight.
When you’re in Noble Silence, you unplug. You stop speaking, listening to music, watching television or movies, writing, or reading; and you even stop looking in the mirror at the image people recognize as “you.”
You may feel an intense need to say something to someone or communicate while in silence, whether through writing or gesturing, but refrain from giving in to these impulses.
Instead, pay attention to yourself. This practice of silence is a doorway through which you connect with your soul to become the witness to the perfect flow of your own life.
If you can, set aside some time to give yourself a mini–meditation retreat. Even though a half day, full day, or one week of unplugging from your virtual world and delving into silence may seem like a long time, I encourage you to give it a try.
Soul-Centered: Transform Your Life in 8 Weeks with Meditation by Sarah McLean