Category Archives: Retreats

Repairing our Hearts – Healing with the RAIN of Compassion (retreat talk)



Living in a fear-based society fuels the trance of separation and unworthiness. This talk explores how we can bring an engaged compassionate presence to the suffering of this trance—in our inner work, and more broadly, in healing our culture (from the 2020 IMCW 7-day Silent New Year Retreat).

I must have been incredibly simple or drunk or insane to sneak in to my own house and steal money, to climb over the fence and take my own vegetables.  But no more.  I’ve gotten free of that ignorant fist that was pinching and twisting my secret self.

The universe and the light of the stars come through me.  I am the crescent moon put up over the gate to the festival.

Rumi

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Change, Loss and Timeless Love – Part 2 (Retreat Talk)



Our capacity to live and love fully is entirely intertwined with how we relate to change and loss. These two talks are an invitation to look honestly, and without judgment, at the ways, we resist facing our fears and grieving our losses. We then explore how to bring mindfulness and compassion to processing what we’ve resisted, and opening to the timeless love that is our true nature. (given at the Fall 2020 IMCW 7-Day Silent Retreat – 2020-10-26).

Everything you see has its roots
    in the unseen world.
The forms may change,
    yet the essence remains the same.

Every wondrous sight will vanish,
every sweet word will fade.
    But do not be disheartened,
The Source they come from is eternal–
growing, branching out,
    giving new life and new joy.

Why do you weep?–
That Source is within you,
and this whole world
    is springing up from it.

The Source is full,
its waters are ever-flowing;
    Do not grieve,
    drink your fill!
Don’t think it will ever run dry–
This is the endless Ocean!

A Garden Beyond Paradise by Rumi

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Instruction and Meditation: Pathway to Non-Doing Presence (41:30 min.)



While meditation begins with purposeful collecting of attention, it leads to non-doing presence, to Being. In this guided practice, we arrive in presence through a body scan and attention to the breath, open the attention to changing experience, and then explore the freedom of not controlling anything, and letting life be just as it is. (given at the Fall 2020 IMCW 7-Day Silent Retreat – 2020-10-26).

There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado. Dam a
stream, and it will create a new
channel. Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground. The only
safety lies in letting it all in—
the wild with the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.

Allow by Danna Faulds

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Meditation: Spacious, Loving Awareness (from retreat) (30:03 min.) ~ with video



~ an Open Awareness Meditation ~

When our awareness is awake and open, we naturally respond to this changing life with warmth, tenderness and love.

This practice helps us discover the spaciousness of awareness by realizing the space and aliveness that is in the body, and then sensing the continuous space that holds all life. We then sense how this continuous space is filled with the light of awareness and pervaded by love. Includes a short talk that contexts the meditation. (from the Spring 2018 IMCW 7-day Silent Retreat)

Closing quote is from The Radiance Sutras, Lorin Roche, PhD.

There is a place in the heart where everything meets.
Go there if you want to find me.
Mind, senses, soul, eternity, all are there.
Are you there?

Enter the bowl of vastness that is the heart.
Give yourself to it with total abandon.

Quiet ecstasy is there –

and a steady, regal sense of resting in a perfect spot.

Once you know the way
the nature of attention will call you
to return, again and again,
and be saturated with knowing,
“I belong here, I am at home here.”

More Open Awareness Meditations here.

Photo credits: Donna JS Russo Dogfish Art


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Guided Heart Meditation: Loving Kindness – Befriending our Lives (27:22 min.)



This heart meditation guides us in how to cultivate a deep quality of friendliness in relating to our inner life and each other. The gift of this practice is a direct sense of belonging – knowing that we can never be alone (retreat meditation).

“My soul tells me, we were
all broken from the same nameless
heart, and every living thing
wakes with a piece of that original
heart aching its way into blossom.
This is why we know each other
below our strangeness, why when
we fall, we lift each other, or when
in pain, we hold each other, why
when sudden with joy, we dance
together. Life is the many pieces
of that great heart loving itself
back together.”

~ Mark Nepo, The Exquisite Risk

Enjoy the meditation with a short talk that introduces Loving Kindness practice here: Short Talk and Guided Heart Meditation – Loving Kindness – Befriending our Lives


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Short Talk & Guided Heart Meditation: Releasing Blame (retreat) (41:39 min.)



Our self-protective habits of resentment and blame block intimacy and connection with ourself and others. This short talk and meditation are an invitation to deepen our understanding of the suffering of blame, and to release the armoring to loving freely. Includes a meditation using “RAIN on Blame.” (recorded at the IMCW 2019 New Year’s 5-day Silent Retreat)

Closing quote is from The Radiance Sutras, Lorin Roche, PhD.

There is a place in the heart where everything meets.
Go there if you want to find me.
Mind, senses, soul, eternity, all are there.
Are you there?

Enter the bowl of vastness that is the heart.
Give yourself to it with total abandon.

Quiet ecstasy is there -
 and a steady, regal sense of resting in a perfect spot.

Once you know the way
the nature of attention will call you
to return, again and again,
and be saturated with knowing,
“I belong here, I am at home here.”


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The Power of Awake Awareness (retreat talk)



We all encounter “demons” of fear, anger, hurt, craving and shame. This talk explores our key ways of resisting difficult emotions, and how “when the resistance is gone, the demons are gone.” We look at the power of mindfulness and compassion to undo resistance, and open us to the loving presence that can handle whatever energies arise. This special talk was given at the 2019 IMCW 5-Day New Year’s Silent Retreat.

photo: Jonathan Foust

photo: Jon McRay


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Introductory Meditation Instructions – Guided Practice from Retreat (39:02 min.)



This guided session includes an overview of the primary components in meditation practices, and then guidance in awakening the senses, collecting the attention, and opening mindfully to changing experience (from the 2019 IMCW New Year’s 5-Day Silent Retreat).


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Short Talk and Guided Heart Meditation – Releasing Blame (retreat)(37:50 min.)



This meditation explores the meaning of forgiveness and its role in healing and transformation. We then are guided in a forgiveness practice that helps us release the armoring of blame, and inhabit an inclusive and open heart (given at the Fall 2019 IMCW 7-Day Silent Retreat).


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Short Talk and Guided Heart Meditation – Loving Kindness – Befriending our Lives (39:29 min.)



This meditation introduces the domain of “heart practices” and then guides us in how to cultivate a deep quality of friendliness in relating to our inner life and each other. The gift of this practice is a direct sense of belonging – knowing that we can never be alone (given at the Fall 2019 IMCW 7-Day Silent Retreat).

Photo: Jon McRay


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