Our 2016 Retreats
Start Here Now: An Open-Hearted Guide to the Path & Practice of Meditation with Susan Piver March 18-20, 2016
Meditation has been proven to help with everything from insomnia to complete enlightenment. It is one amazing practice! Because of all the current attention on mindfulness, there may be confusion about where to begin, what to actually expect from it, and how to preserve the spiritual meaning. Susan Piver’s new book, “Start Here Now” was designed to help you wade through the nonsense to create a meditation practice that is rooted in genuine tradition but also completely applicable (and doable) in our crazy, hectic lives.
In this program, she will address the most basic basics (how to hold your body, breath, and mind in order to practice; tips for creating a trustworthy routine; the obstacles and how to navigate around them; common misconceptions), discuss the potential the practice holds for deep transformation, and explore how to bring mindfulness out into daily life. The marks of the meditator are discipline, peace, confidence, flexibility, and humor. This gathering is more than an academic introduction to the practice, it is about actually doing it and discovering the benefits. Detailed meditation instruction will be given and there will be plenty of time for questions and answers.
Susan Piver is a meditation teacher, writer, entrepreneur, and a professional speaker who has been invited to share her expertise everywhere from Procter & Gamble and Hubspot to CNN, Oprah, and the TODAY show. Known for her ability to merge the profound and the practical, Susan is founder of the Open Heart Project, an international online meditation center with close to 15,000 members. In her new book, Start Here Now, she presents the practice of meditation as something more than just the latest “life hack,” but as a path to wisdom and compassion. Susan is an award-winning New York Times best-selling author of nine books that have sold more than 400,000 copies and been translated into 10 languages.
Grief, Joy, and Awakening: An Insight Meditation with David Chernikoff April 15-17, 2016
The primary focus of this retreat will be the practice of sitting and walking meditation while keeping silence. There will be meditation instruction, dharma talks, and opportunities for discussion. In addition, we'll do some interactive exercises that are designed to deepen our understanding of the ways in which life's difficulties and challenges can become steppingstones leading to profound spiritual transformation.
David Chernikoff, M.Div., L.C.S.W., began the study and practice of meditation in 1971 and started teaching insight meditation in 1988. He trained as a yoga teacher at the Integral Yoga Institute and completed the Community Dharma Leader program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. His teaching has been influenced by senior teachers from the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock, Tibetan teachers with whom he studied during a 3-year stay in Nepal, and spiritual guides from other contemplative traditions, most notably Ram Dass, Father Thomas Keating, and Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. David taught psychology and meditation for many years at Naropa University. He currently serves as one of the guiding teachers of the Insight Meditation Community of Colorado and has a private practice as a spiritual counselor and psychotherapist in Boulder.
Kind Hearted Awareness with Rebecca Bradshaw - DONATION BASED May 13-15 2016
We will explore ways to develop openness of heart and mind to the wide range of joy and sorrow that is this human life. During this retreat we will explore a natural, easeful awareness of our experience. Extensive guidance will be offered in how to meet all experiences of body, thought, and emotions with compassionate presence, discovering for ourselves a deeper sense of relaxation, clarity, and peace.
This 2 day retreat, held in silence with alternating periods of sitting and walking meditation, will include daily guided Vipassana and loving kindness practice, evening talks, and opportunities to meet with the teacher. The retreat is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators. This 2 day retreat will begin Friday afternoon and end Sunday morning on May 15th. Note: Please bring linen for a twin bed, towels and toiletries. There is a $25 fee if we loan you linen.
Rebecca Bradshaw, is the Guiding Teacher of the Insight Meditation Center of Pioneer Valley in Easthampton, Massachusetts, and one of the Guiding Teachers at the Insight Meditation Center in Barre, MA. She has been practicing Vipassana meditation since 1983 in the United States and Myanmar (Burma) and teaching since 1993. She completed her dharma teacher training at Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, where she is part of the three month retreat teacher team, leads retreats for young adults, and serves as a member of the diversity committee. She also teaches at other locations in the United States and abroad, including Spanish language retreats, bringing a style that explores the convergence of love and wisdom. Rebecca has a master's degree in Counseling Psychology and is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC).
A Soft and Radical Transformation of the Heart: Balanced Sensitivity, Embodied Wisdom with Pascal Auclair June 24-26, 2016
Could "waking-up" mean becoming sensitive again? Letting the senses be the doorway to the freedom we so seek? Intimacy with the world, inner and outer, will be what we will open to and cultivate during this retreat, inviting again and again balance of heart and mind, friendliness and clarity to set the right conditions for wisdom and freedom to arise naturally. While sitting and walking with meditative presence, and through silence and guidance from the teacher, we will discover for ourselves what is possible in this very life.
Pascal Auclair has been immersed in Buddhist practice and study since 1997, sitting retreats in Asia and America with revered monastics and lay teachers. He has been mentored by Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Massachusetts and Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California, where he is now enjoying teaching retreats. Pascal teaches in North America and in Europe. His depth of insight, classical training, and creative expression all combine in a wise and compassionate presence. In addition, his warmth and humour make Pascal a much appreciated teacher.
7th Annual Gulf Coast Kundalini Yoga Retreat Realizing Richness Within: Discovering and Exploring Our Chanting Voices through Naad (Sound) Yoga with Dev Suroop July 15-17, 2016
Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan is a yoga of awareness and energy. A Kundalini Yoga session comprises mantra (chanting and music), pranayama (breathing), mudra (hand gestures), bandha (body locks), asana (body postures and exercises), savasana (relaxation) and dhyana (meditation). A session typically flows through a sequence of tuning in, warming up (breathing and/or exercises), kriya (a series of asana), relaxation, meditation, and closing.
This will be the seventh year that folks from around the Gulf Coast states and elsewhere come together to experience the benefits of Kundalini Yoga. We will be led and inspired by guest artist / teacher Dev Suroop and four local teachers. The cost of the entire weekend of yoga, meditation, music, wholesome food and elegant accommodation is just $300.
Kindly contact William Savage [email@example.com or 504-881-6566] for more information, to register and to make arrangements to pay the $150 deposit or the full amount. (The balance of $150 is due one month before the retreat.)
The Path to Freedom and Love with Terry Ray July 22-24, 2016
We all face times of difficulty and stress in our lives. There are tools available that were given to us by the Buddha, that we can learn to use and practice in order to transform these occasions to growth and healing. Through meditation we begin to realize our own natural intelligence and a greater peace than we can imagine. This silent retreat offers guidance and a space to turn into ourselves and learn trust the present moment as well as to help us move deeper into wisdom and love.
Terry Ray is a licensed psychotherapist who has been practicing Vipassana meditation since 1974, and teaching for over 30 years. She completed the first Community Dharma Leader’s program at Spirit Rock, leads retreats and teaches through the Insight Meditation Community and at Naropa. Terry also studied intensively with Charlotte Selver in Sensory Awareness, and is certified to lead this somatic based mindfulness practice.
Experiencing an Open Heart: Compassion in the Midst of Chaos with Rev. Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Ph.D. September 16-18, 2016
We will explore the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra which espouses compassion and wisdom. It is regarded as the essence of Buddha's teachings and gift of fearlessness. We will contemplate the questions: How do we live through chaos rather than run from it? How is there both a beginning and end of all things and at the same time a boundless freedom? Through meditation and reflection we will look into the fire of our lives as that which will ignite complete liberation.
Rev. Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Ph.D., is an author and ordained Zen Buddhist priest since 2008. She will receive shiho or full dharma transmission by Zenkei Blanche Hartman in January 2016. Zenju Earthlyn Manuel combines Zen meditation, intuitive knowing, and indigenous ritual in a path of liberation. She is the guiding teacher of Still Breathing Zen Meditation Center in East Oakland. She is the author of Tell Me Something about Buddhism with a foreword by Thich Nhat Hanh and her most recent book is the bestselling, The Way of Tenderness: Awakening Through Race, Sexuality, and Gender, that explores the nature of embodiment within a boundless life. More information at zenju.org.
Embodied Freedom: Coming Home Through Mindfulness of the Body with Anushka Fernandopulle October 7-9, 2016
The human body can seem so many contrasting things: painful, miraculous, fragile, beautiful.....and with awareness, the path to greater freedom and well-being. Come join us to train in deep connection to the body. We will practice mindfulness of the body through sitting, walking, eating, breathing, resting and everyday activities. We will explore how mundane activities like washing your hands or putting on your shoes can be beautiful ceremonial acts when done with awareness. We will practice sending kind wishes to our bodies and learn how to regard ourselves and others with goodwill.
The retreat will be held in silence and supported by guided meditation and talks, with time for questions and answers. It is suitable for beginning or experienced meditation practitioners. This retreat is not recommended for those who are actively working with issues of trauma in the mind and body.
Anushka Fernandopulle teaches meditation and provides leadership coaching to individuals and teams that brings Eastern practices to Western modern life. She is interested in the synthesis of leadership, innovation and awareness, helping leaders to develop courage, clarity and compassion to make their vision come to life.
She has over twenty years of training Buddhist meditation; primarily Vipassana or Insight Meditation and studied Buddhism at Harvard University. She is a member of the Teacher’s Council at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, a driving force behind the San Francisco Insight Meditation Center, a blogger on the Huffington Post about meditation and a mayoral appointee to the San Francisco Citizen’s Committee on Community Development. More about her work, publications, guided meditations and teaching can be found on her website,
Awakening a Radiant Heartmind with Four Essential Attitudes with Dr. Hans Gruenig November 11-13, 2016
In this weekend meditation retreat, we will explore attitudes recommended by ancient meditative wisdom traditions and contemporary positive psychology researchers alike – attitudes that help to increase happiness, love, connection, meaning, self-acceptance, and inner peace. These life-enhancing attitudes:
• are enjoyable in themselves and make life more enjoyable;
• serve as antidotes to different forms of stress;
• provide wholesome motivation to act beneficially;
• are integral to a happy, meaningful, and connected life; and
• are essential and foundational for many traditional paths to enlightenment.
We will focus primarily on the four attitudes of loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity. We will also consider some complementary positive attitudes. The retreat will include dharma talks, Q&A, guided meditations, mindful movement (gentle yogic stretching), reflection exercises, and chanting. Our goal will be to deepen our familiarity with these profound life-enhancing attitudes, to bring them to life in our practices, and to use them to awaken and strengthen a radiant heartmind for the benefit of ourselves and others.
Dr. Hans Gruenig is a Dharma and meditation teacher and a professor at Tulane University, where he teaches courses on Buddhism, Asian Philosophy, and Happiness and Human Flourishing. He has been teaching meditation for more than 15 years and gave talks as a Designated Speaker for the Dalai Lama leading up to his visit to New Orleans in 2013. Since 1995 Hans has attended Buddhist teachings and meditation retreats with dozens of monastic and lay teachers in the USA, Europe, and India — and completed a Dhamma & Meditation Teacher Training at the Bhavana Monastery with Henepola Gunaratana. After a decade of Theravada practice, Hans started attending retreats in nondual Zen and Vajrayana lineages as well. He received teachings from the Dalai Lama in India, Dzogchen initiations from Tsoknyi Rinpoche, and completed a nondual facilitator training at the Kanzeon Zen Center. Hans has also completed trainings intensive trainings in positive psychology based coaching, Marshall Rosenberg’s work on compassionate communication, Byron Katie’s work on transforming stressful thoughts, and has been certified to teach John Gottman’s principles and practices for successful relationships.
Dissolving Anger, Fear and Self-criticism through Heartfelt Meditation with Mushim Patricia Ikeda December 9-11, 2016
Strong emotions such as anger and rage, anxiety and fear, and guilt and shame produced by a harsh Inner Critic are common experiences for many. We understand through our own wisdom that these emotions have the potential to contain strong positive elements, such as the motivation toward justice, the need to plan for the future, and what Thich Nhat Hanh has termed "beneficial regret," or the commitment to learn from our mistakes. However, if joy, serenity, contentment, and equanimity are not present as well, our lives can become unbalanced and our experience dominated by suffering. Mindfulness meditation, also known as insight meditation, and related meditation practices of good will, compassion, joy and equanimity can be helpful in dissolving and transforming afflictive emotions, bringing more joy and ease into our daily lives. These practices of heartfelt meditation are based in Buddhist teachings, and are accessible to all, including beginners in meditation. The weekend will include sitting and walking/gentle movement meditation with guidance from the teacher, Dharma talks, reflective journaling, and mindful multicultural discussion and interaction.
Mushim Patricia Ikeda is a Buddhist teacher, writer, diversity consultant, author, mentor, and community activist. She teaches meditation retreats for people of color, women, and social justice activists nationally. Mushim has become widely known for her down-to-earth, humorous, and penetrating approach to Dharma and social transformation. Mushim has taught residential meditation retreats for people of color, social justice activists, and women nationally, and her work is based in values of cultural humility, acknowledging the wisdom that is ever-present in individuals and collectives, and the need for expression, empowerment, and co-creative self-determination in marginalized communities. Mushim has been featured in the award-winning documentary film Between the Lines: Asian American Women’s Poetry and as one of three subjects in the documentary Acting on Faith: Women’s New Religious Activism in America, distributed by the Pluralism Project at Harvard University.
She is based in Oakland and teaches primarily at the East Bay Meditation Center in downtown Oakland, where she also served on the board of directors, known as the Leadership Sangha, for seven years. She now works part-time on EBMC’s staff as the community coordinator. What to bring: Please make sure that you bring unscented toiletries to this retreat. You may also want to bring modest, loose fitting clothing, avoiding tank tops and deeply cut tops. Blouses with sleeves are preferred. Layered clothing is best. Also please bring towels for personal use, sheets for a single (twin) bed, an alarm clock (non-ticking), shawl, water bottle (we have filters on all faucets), slip-on shoes to make entering meditation hall easy, and yoga mat (if yoga is offered). Healthy snacks---please bring healthy snacks that can be shared by all between meals.
Forgiveness: Letting Go and Awakening with Amma Thanasanti Bhikkhuni Friday December 30, 2016 - Sunday January 1, 2017
The Buddha taught that the key to peace, joy and happiness is release: a state of mind and heart not driven by a relentless insistence that life, in this moment, be other than as it is. This capacity for freedom is available every moment but is often obscured by our agitated minds and wounded hearts. This retreat will use foundations of mindfulness to investigate our direct experience with teachings on forgiveness and merciful compassion.
Amma Thanasanti Bhikkhuni started meditating in 1979. From that time she consciously committed to awakening and envisioned living her life as a nun.
She joined the Ajahn Chah lineage and community of nuns living at both Amaravati and Chithurst Buddhist Monasteries in England where she received higher ordination. After 20 years, she returned to the U.S. as an independent nun and was then ordained as a Bhikkhuni. She founded Awakening Truth whose mission is to use Forest Tradition teachings in conjunction with depth psychology and relational practices to support integration and engagement along side awakening. She blends rigor with gentle loving encouragement to find your own way - finding a balance between fierce holding of the Dhamma and compassion, tenderness, humor and empowerment.