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Online Autumn Retreat

Not Knowing in a Time of Uncertainty: An Online Retreat

Explore your mindfulness practice, touch into the roots of compassion and,
find refuge in the space of ‘Not Knowing’

September 25, 26, 27 | 2020
Online | Fee:  full $250, mid $175, base $100 *

*Please pay the highest fee you can, to allow others who need to pay less the ability to do so.  No one will be turned away due to funds. Please contact us if you need further support.

Register Here

Thanks to a generous community donor for supporting our annual autumn retreat.

  • Tend to Mindfulness daily with both seated and walking practices
  • Contemplate Compassion for self and others
  • Practice Deep Listening with this partially silent retreat
  • Invite nature connection into your daily awareness practices
  • Cultivate a relationship to your home as a refuge and space for practice

Mindfulness + Compassion Skills with Nature build a foundation for loving kindness and a deepening our sense of interrelation and oneness.

Even though this retreat is online, in the comfort of your own home, we will be making space to connect to nature. This could be your yard, a local park, your balcony etc. Including nature in our reflective and practice time allows us to deepen and expand our heart awareness towards all beings.  

If you are a beginner to meditation and mindfulness practice, we ask that you contact (Rev.) Andrew, our Retreat Director to discuss your practice and how this can be of best support to you.

An invitation into Not Knowing from (Rev.) Andrew Blake:

This online retreat format can be both a challenge to navigate and an opportunity to bring practice into our lives. It will challenge us to make our home, or some quiet place we go to, a place of refuge. While we are unable to gather this year at Sarana Springs, our country refuge for practice, this online retreat gives us reason to bring our practice into our homes and our families. In our family lives, we need time and reason to move inward, to pause, and to ask our loved ones for this space to turn towards inner states of ease, awareness, and compassion.

As an online sangha, we will support each other in our sitting practice and strengthen our mindfulness and compassion skills together, as we also explore the roots and meaning of the teachings on Not Knowing from secular, Zen, and Vajrayana Buddhist perspectives. Coined the  “beginner’s mind,” by  Zen teacher, Suzuki Roshi, not knowing is considered an essential state and can open us into a space of loving inquiry as we learn to see things as they truly are, rather than how we “think” they are. It also invites us to see how we tend to find more comfort and security in what we “think” we know, and to see our discomfort with uncertainty.

The “I don’t know” mind certainly appears daily in these changing pandemic circumstances we find our selves in. For some of us, it can bring anxiety and fear around a sense of loss of control, others become sad even hopeless, and still others become impatient that can lead to frustration and anger. Regardless of how we are dealing with things, working with what we don’t know, or rather what is unknowable, is an essential element of our practice. In exploring our Dharma practice, we see that we are moving between our knowing of things, sometimes referred as the “Relative,” and what we cannot know, referred to as the “Absolute. During our retreat we have a unique space to dive into both.

I look forward to joining together with each of you to reach a place of quiescence within the vast display of your mind, both in its playful wildness and its wondrous distractibility. In our retreat days, we embark to make friends with our minds, the key to a lasting relationship with sitting meditation practice.

Two Hands Together,
(Rev.) Andrew

Register Here

Preparing for the Retreat

Please click here to learn more about how you can best prepare for our time together.

Further Questions:

On Being Compassionate:
by (Rev.) Andrew Blake

With practice, we learn to be with the qualities present in our moment-by-moment experience, and then with more curiousity and perseverance, we learn to touch into the roots of a reactive emotion or a strong trigger that sets us off into fear, sadness, jealousy, or rage. Slowing down brings us greater awareness of these states and, through this first skill of mindfulness, we learn that we can let them go in any given moment. This gradually brings us ease, acceptance and greater trust of emotionally states. This is not control, but rather what in neuroscience is called “regulation.” But how to we understand the roots of our emotions and even transform those old prickly triggers? How do we direct compassion and kindness to our own reactions and suffering? This is where your meditation cushion hits the pavement…continue reading here.

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  • (Rev.) Andrew Blake unpacks the practice of Tonglen for us. Tonglen is considered a very deep and advanced practice, a practice and journey born by the Bodhisattvas, or those who have chosen to free themselves and all beings. Like tonglen, that journey has many stages. Here are some thoughts to meet the reality of living in a world of Covid-19, supported by the 3 Stages of Tonglen: Equality of Others, The Four Types of Exchanges, and Caring for Others More Than Oneself.