Cultivating True Joy: Still Water Fall Practice Retreat
Fri, October 6 – Sun, October 8
Fri, October 6, 5:00 pm–Sun, October 8,
Our society is characterized by running. Everyone is running, running to the future. You want to assure a good future and since you see other people around you running, you cannot resist running. If you do not have peace, you are not capable of being in the here and the now and touching life very deeply. … I would say that the Kingdom of God is available to you but you are not available to the Kingdom of God. That is why we need to learn to live, to walk, in such a way that we become a free person. That is the meaning of the practice. -- Thich Nhat Hanh, from Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames
In the tradition of mindfulness practice, our deepest and most complete joys come not from our entertainments, not from our successes and achievements, but from simply being fully present to each moment of our lives. The Zen teacher Pat Enkyo O'Hara writes (in Most Intimate: A Zen Approach to Life's Challenges) that True Joy is "To be so close to your experience of life, so intimate with your world, that you are filled with awe. You are like a child lying in the grass, staring up at the vast starry night."
During our Cultivating True Joy retreat, from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon, we will practice quieting our running minds and living each moment deeply, whether we are engaged in sitting and walking mediation, preparing or eating a meal, or gazing at the sunset.
As a spiritual community practicing together we will 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 and early Sunday 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 Sunday we will come out of our silence and share together our experiences, challenges, and insights. The retreat will end after lunch on Sunday, 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. 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 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 $180 per person; the benefactor donation is $260 per person; and the limited income donation is $140 per person. For those wishing to camp, the suggested donation is $120 per person; the benefactor donation is $190 per person; and the limited income donation is $90 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. 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.
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.
The limited-income contributions cover Still Water's accommodations and direct expense costs. All contributed amounts 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