The Present Moment is Our Teacher: Still Water Easter Practice Retreat
Fri, April 14 – Mon, April 17
Fri, April 14, 5:00 pm–Mon, April 17,
A practice retreat is a time for regeneration, paying attention to our bodies and allowing our minds to clear. In "Walking into the Kingdom of God," a 1997 Dharma Talk, Thich Nhat Hanh emphasized the importance of arriving in the present moment:
It can be said that the practice of Plum Village is the practice of arriving. Because we have been practicing running all the time, and we have not arrived. . . . How to practice in order to arrive and to feel at home, that is the point.
If you have not arrived, if you have been running a lot, if you have been very tired, it is time for you to try the practice of arriving. When you hear the bell, stop running. Because we continue to run in our daily life, even when we sleep. We run sometime not with our feet, but we run inside. You never get rest.
Your true home is always there if you know how to handle the monkey within yourself, how to stop running. Each of us is like a hungry ghost. We are hungry for love, we are hungry for understanding. We are hungry for stability, for freedom, and that is why we have been running all the time. We have not had a chance to stop and rest. That is why the practice of meditation is first of all the practice of stopping and resting in order to go back to your true home. ...
Everything you are looking for is in the present moment, including God, including the Pure Land, including the Buddha. The blue sky, life, especially life, can only be touched in the present moment. When could life be touched? Where else? Only the present moment. So the practice here in Plum Village is to go back to the present moment, every time, and to go back by the techniques of walking and breathing. Always go back to the here and the now, because it is the only place where you can find your home, your address. Your true address is: body, mind, united here and now. You don’t need any zip code.
The Still Water Easter Practice Retreat offers us the possibility of releasing our inner running and developing the habit of arriving with each moment, each step, each experience. Through mindful sitting, walking, eating, and living, we learn to embrace and look deeply into what is present in each moment.
As a spiritual community practicing together we assist each other in letting go of worries and preoccupations, holding our sorrows with tenderness, and opening to the understated joys of life. The nurturing environment includes the calming waters and natural wonders of Charter Hall Point, at the confluence of the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay.
We will gather on Friday evening for a silent pot-luck dinner and a sitting.
Saturday morning, after breakfast, we will break the silence for introductions and a short talk on practices for developing our mindfulness, concentration, and insight.
The rest of Saturday, all day Sunday, and early Monday will be given to periods of guided and self-guided formal sitting meditation, group walking meditation, short Dharma talks and sharings, eating meditation, and time for mindful walks, naps, or exercise.
Late morning on Monday we will come out of our silence and share together our experiences, challenges, and insights. The retreat will end after lunch on Monday, about 1:15 p.m.
Location and Leadership
The retreat will be held at the Charter Hall Retreat Center near Perryville, Maryland (about 75 miles from downtown Silver Spring, one and a half to two hours from Washington). The retreat will be led by Mitchell Ratner, the Senior Teacher of the Still Water Mindfulness Practice Center, and by other experienced members of the Still Water community.
The community will share responsibilities for the three meals on Saturday and Sunday and the two meals on Monday. Each participant will be assigned to a meal team which will purchase, silently prepare, and clean up after one or more meals. All participants will help wash dishes after each meal, as well as completing individually assigned community chores during the retreat. (All meals are vegetarian and we can usually accommodate special dietary needs requests.)
The Still Water MPC has established a sliding scale for our retreats so that all may attend. For those staying in the lodge the suggested donation is $280 per person; the benefactor donation is $400 per person; and the limited income donation is $220 per person. For those wishing to camp, the suggested donation is $190 per person; the benefactor donation is $275 per person; and the limited income donation is $145 per person.
You are welcome to contribute any amount between the limited-income contribution and the benefactor contribution (or more if you wish), in accord with the urgings of your heart and your means and circumstances.
With your contributions, the Still Water MPC is better able to meet its financial obligations, support its teachers, develop new programs, create space for those with limited incomes, and offer no-cost community events. If contributing at even the limited-income level would be a hardship, please let us know and we will endeavor to make other arrangements with you.
The limited-income contributions cover Still Water's accommodations and direct expense costs. All amounts contributed above the limited-income level are documented as voluntary tax-deductible donations.
If the registrant cancels 8 days or more before an event, the entire amount will be refunded. If the registrant cancels 7 days or fewer before the event, 75% of the amount paid will be refunded.
Space in the lodge is limited, so please register early.
Please contact the Retreat Registrar, Gary Stone, at garold.stone "at" gmail.com or 301-509-0983.
Charter Hall Retreat Center
499 Charter hall Road
Perryville, MD 21903