August 16-18, 2019
What is it?
Everyone wants happiness. Unfortunately, the faulty assumptions by which we live our lives do not afford us the pleasure of abiding in a state of perpetual happiness, peace and contentment. Buddhism promises such a state. When successfully training our minds through various meditation techniques, happiness follows.
It is mind alone that determines whether we experience happiness or suffering from the events in our life. Because meditation directly addresses the mind, it is the key to creating a happier, healthier and more peaceful life.
In this lively weekend course, we’ll have an opportunity to taste various meditation techniques and to have a friendly interchange with one another on what supports our practice.
This retreat can be combined with the Deepening Your Practice retreat that follows immediately after on Feb. 24. We encourage you to come for both and make it an immersive ten-day experience.
See below for a note from the teacher.
Who is it for?
This retreat is intended for beginners who are trying to develop a meditation practice and trying to figure out how to go about it. It will also benefit those who have a meditation practice and want to learn about other meditation techniques.
- Learn how to develop inner peace and greater emotional balance with the methods of concentration meditation.
- See how disturbing emotions and mental problems arise and how to counteract them.
Note from Elaine
Hello Dear Friends,
In my more than 40 years of meditation experience, as I watch the “busyness” and pace of everyday life escalate and see the epidemic of anxiety and depression, especially among young people, I want more than ever to share the sanity of Buddhist practice. Lama Yeshe called Buddhism “psychology of the mind” and encouraged us to become our own therapist. I’m looking forward to our next Introduction to Meditation retreat. I thought to share a little bit about it and why it is useful to develop a meditation practice.
Generally, when we think of meditation, we think of developing concentration through “JOK GOM” – placement meditation – placing our mind on an object, holding it there and bringing it back when it is kidnapped by a thought, a feeling or an emotion. Our object might be our breath, our mind, an image, or any number of possibilities.
The word “GOM” in Tibetan, which we translate as meditation, has the connotation of “becoming familiar with virtue.” Besides JOK GOM, also widely used are both SHAR GOM, which is review meditation and CHE GOM, which is analytical meditation. In fact, we are actually engaging in meditation as we contemplate our daily activity, or when we review and analyze any situation.
For meditation as a spiritual practice, the important addition to the definition is the word “virtue.” In Tibetan, virtue is defined as “that which brings happiness now and in the future.”
When we reflect on our own personal mental habits, it is useful to check: Is my everyday “meditation” leading to happiness? Perhaps we focus on our shortcomings, on what we wish we would have done, could have done or should have done differently. This “would-a, could-a, should-a done syndrome” is a close sister to the “if only syndrome.” These “meditations” keep us trapped.
When we become adept at placement meditation, we recognize that inner peace is available in each present moment. We practice letting go and letting be. We see mental activities as ephemeral, as illusory, as having no essence. This doesn’t mean that we lose our ability to think. What we experience is that it is possible to abide in a state of peace and to think more clearly. This is our birthright. Peace is available right now. Through meditation we learn to touch it, to taste it, and to return to it again and again until it becomes the habit of our mind.
In this retreat we will be gentle with ourselves. Our sessions will include sitting practice interspersed with walking meditation. We will have guided as well as silent practice and we will practice using different meditation objects. We will examine the obstacles that arise and discuss their antidotes. We will also take a look at Lama Tsong Khapa’s basic overview of Tibetan Buddhism – the Three Principle Aspects of the Path. This will give us a body of knowledge upon which to engage in review and analytical meditations.
I invite you to give yourself this gift of inner peace. Leave your phones and internet devices behind. Unplug from your ordinary “busyness,” sit in the Gompa or by the Stupa, walk in the forest along the “Peace Trail,” listen to the meandering creek, hear the welcome of the birds, marvel at the beauty. You will be well held as you immerse yourself in quietude, experiencing a peace that is truly available.
I look forward to seeing you there. Meanwhile may you be well and happy.
- Please plan on arriving between 3:00 and 5:00 PM on the first day of the retreat
- Please plan on departing approximately 2:00 PM on the last day of the retreat
- Consider reviewing our accommodations
- For more detailed information, please see our FAQ
If you are interested in serving as Course Liaison for this retreat, please apply here.
Ordained monastics should contact the office directly to register.