19 Jan
Posted in: Groups, Retreats, Talks
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“Sampler Retreats”

SamplerThis morning I sent an email about my latest idea to connect folks here in St. Louis with retreat teachers and practices at Spirit Rock and IMS (Insight Meditation Society). But not everyone is on my mailing list so — with apologies to those who have already gotten the word — I’m re-posting the email here:

Whenever I come back from retreat at Spirit Rock (SR) or IMS (Insight Meditation Society), I’m always filled with gratitude for the opportunity to sit with and learn from teachers who have had so many years of deep, DEEP experience practicing the Dharma. At the “Box Retreat” on Sunday, Sharon Salzberg said that by the time an insight has formed itself into words/thoughts in your mind, it has already changed you….and it’s clear to me that the teachers I’ve sat with at SR/IMS have been profoundly changed in ways that I also want to be changed.

Which is why I keep going on retreats!

I know how fortunate I am to be able to do that. And I know that taking time away from work and/or family is not something everyone is able to do. Not to mention flying halfway across the country, paying the fees, making the arrangements, etc etc etc. But I also know how vital it is to experience the teachings offered in this way and to connect with teachers who embody this level of practice.

Which is why I’m committed to finding ways to bring something of the retreat practice available at SR/IMS to all of us here in St. Louis. It’s why I joined the board of MidAmerica Dharma and am acting as retreat coordinator for 2017. It’s also why I started offering the video-recorded “Box” retreats.

And now I’ve got another idea:

I’m going to try offering “Sampler Retreats.” By which I mean choosing a sampling of recorded talks and guided meditation instructions taken from a selected retreat offered at SR/IMS, and playing them — one each week, for 4 weeksat my house (in Dogtown), to a small group of people who have signed up in advance and are committed to attending at least 3 of the 4 weeks. We would start each session with sitting meditation and end with group discussion.

Here’s the first “Sampler”:

Joy on the Path: selected talks/instructions from this retreat at IMS (January 9-16, 2016), led by Lila Kate Wheeler (one of my mentors) and Pascal Auclair.
“While silently sitting and walking with meditative presence, and with guidance from the teachers, we will explore the different kinds of spiritual joy: joy in the happiness of others and in their good qualities and good fortune; the joy of blamelessness; and the joy of presence, concentration, insight and liberation!

Thursday, Feb 4, 7:00 to 9:00 pm: Joy and Gladdening, talk by Lila Kate Wheeler

Thursday, Feb 11, 7:00 to 9:00 pm: Meditation Instructions on Concentration, led by Pascal Auclair

Thursday, Feb 18, 7:00 to 9:00 pm: This Fleeting Life, talk by Lila Kate Wheeler

Thursday, Feb 25, 7:00 to 9:00 pm: Joy on the Path, talk by Pascal Auclair

(There are 11 recorded talks/instructions available from this retreat. Click here for the full set of talks.)

Space at my house is VERY limited. Send me an email here if you would like to reserve a seat and expect to be able to attend at least 3 of the 4 weeks. Also, email me if you are interested in future “Samplers,” but are unable to attend this one.

I hope this works!

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