Touching the Wonders of Life: Still Water Three-Night Practice Retreat
Fri, March 30 – Mon, April 2
Fri, March 30, 5:00 pm–Mon, April 2,
In Breathe, You Are Alive! Thich Nhat Hanh writes:
When you pour fresh juice into a glass and let it stand for fifteen minutes, all the pulp sinks down to the bottom of the glass. If you allow your body to sit in a relaxed, peaceful way, it calms your body and your mind. Sitting like this allows you to enjoy your in-breath and out-breath, to enjoy being alive, to enjoy sitting here. To enjoy your in-breath and out-breath is a miracle, the miracle of being alive. Just sit there and be yourself; don’t try to become someone else. Your thinking will stop. You will touch the wonders of life that are available in the here and the now. The period of sitting is time worth living.
During our Easter-weekend Practice Retreat we will have the time, the spaciousness, and many favorable conditions that will encourage our minds to calm and our hearts to open. Through mindful sitting, walking, eating, and living, we will practice embracing and looking deeply into what is present in each moment. Our Dharma talks and readings will help us work with what the Buddha termed the Four Foundations of Mindfulness:
- Embodied feelings,
- Emotions and mind-states, and
- The objects of mind in us and around us.
As a spiritual community practicing together we will assist one another 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 if requested.)
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 $300 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