An extended period of retreat offers the rare opportunity for sustained and dedicated practice. This retreat emphasizes quieting the mind, opening the heart, and developing profound clarity and depth of insight practice. For the entire fourteen-day period, we are committing to The Eight Precepts, which are simple training tools that can be helpful in establishing a continuity of mindfulness.
Most of the retreat is held in silence with periods of sitting and walking meditation. There are also teaching talks, guided meditations, time for questions and answers, and practice meetings with a teacher. Come join us in this silent and mindful environment where awareness sharpens, the mind settles, and space opens for insight and understanding to develop.
Melissa McKay and Lien-Chi "LC" Tran will be teaching for the entire month. Kate Johnson will be teaching from July 17th to July 24th. Additional teachers will be announced soon.
Please note that this two-week retreat is being held in the container of a longer one-month program. For more information on the month-long, click HERE.
WHAT TO EXPECT
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 time for rest. 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 trainings, breathing practices, deep awareness of the body and environment, meditations on the nature of feelings, and awareness of the mind that come from the Buddhist Insight Meditation tradition.
Sitting meditation is at the heart of silent retreats. In sitting practice stillness develops, 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 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.
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.
GUIDED MEDITATIONS & DHARMA TALKS
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.
The Sixth Precept holds, “I undertake the training to refrain from eating at the wrong time (i.e. after lunch).” This training can be a powerful tool in helping to establish a continuity of mindfulness.
In observing the Eight Precepts on this retreat, two healthy vegetarian meals will be provided for participants along with only a light snack (fruit, crackers, peanut butter) in the evening. Dietary restrictions are accommodated whenever possible.
That said, we fully encourage all participants to generously take care of themselves in whatever way is best for their body and practice. Individuals who may not be able to commit to The Sixth Precept are more than welcome to bring their own food as needed. Each housing residence is equipped with a refrigerator and cabinets for storage, as well as a full kitchen.
More detailed information about the Big Bear Retreat Center will be sent to registrants as the date approaches.
There are a limited number of single rooms available with a private bath, and single rooms available with a shared bath. Otherwise, the majority of the rooms are shared rooms with shared baths.
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.