Present Moment, Wonderful Moment: Still Water Spring Three-Night Practice Retreat
Fri, April 10 – Mon, April 13
Fri, April 10, 5:00 pm–
In Peace is Every Step Thich Nhat Hanh writes:
Our appointment with life is in the present moment. If we do not have peace and joy right now, when will we have peace and joy---tomorrow, or after tomorrow? What is preventing us from being happy right now? As we follow our breathing, we can say, simply, “Calming, Smiling, Present moment, Wonderful moment.”
This exercise is not just for beginners. Many of us who have practiced meditation and conscious breathing for forty or fifty years continue to practice in this same way, because this kind of exercise is so important and so easy.
During our Easter-weekend Practice Retreat we will be practicing Noble Silence, a calming of the discursive mind that allows us to reduce our internal commentary, including our judgments, worries, and fantasies. We will practice Noble Silence when we are sitting in meditation, walking, cooking, eating, and in our other activities. A deep awareness is nourished, one that is wordless, caring, and appreciative.
Additionally, we will be learning and working with gathas – short meditation-inspired poems that remind us how we can open to the present moment and transform our lives. Examples of gathas recommended by Thich Nhat Hanh for retreats and daily use include:
Washing the Dishes
Washing the dishes
is like bathing a baby Buddha.
The profane is the sacred.
Everyday mind is Buddha's mind.
Beginning a Sitting
Sitting here is like sitting under the Bodhi Tree
My body is mindfulness itself,
entirely free from distraction.
Meditating or Walking
I have arrived. I am home.
In the here,
In the now.
I am solid – I am free.
In the ultimate
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 also 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.
Monday late morning 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 $200 per person; the benefactor donation is $300 per person; and the limited income donation is $150 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 considered 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@gmail.com or 301-509-0983 (mobile voice/text).