Evening Practice at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension

Evening Practice at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension

Fri, January 17 Sun, January 19

Fri, January 17, 5:00 pm

Fri, January 17, 5:00 pm – Sun, January 19, 1:30 pm

[January 6, 2020 -- The retreat is now full. However, there are often cancellations. If you would like to be on the waiting list, please register and we will try to fit you in. Thanks for your understanding.]

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The Buddha told his followers that they should recite the Five Remembrances each day.

I am of the nature to grow old.
There is no way to escape growing old.

I am of the nature to have ill-health.
There is no way to escape having ill-health.

I am of the nature to die.
There is no way to escape death.

All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change.
There is no way to escape being separated from them.

My actions are my only true belongings.
I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.
My actions are the ground on which I stand.

The first four remembrances remind us that, inevitably, changes come to each of us. The fifth remembrance reminds us that if we welcome the changes and give attention to the reverberations of each thought, spoken word, and deed, we will be able to transform our suffering. Thich Nhat Hanh writes in The Blooming of a Lotus:

When we begin to practice conscious breathing, mindfulness is lit up within us. In that gentle light, if we simply acknowledge the presence of our fears and smile to them as we would smile to an old friend, quite naturally they will lose some of their energy. When once again they return to our subconscious, they will be that much weaker. If we practice every day, they will continue to grow weaker.

During our weekend together we will have the conditions we need to settle deeply into the present moment. We will work with the Five Remembrances in our silent and guided meditations, through a study of the Sutra in which they appear, and through our Dharma talks and sharing.CAM02463 (1)

The nurturing environment of this retreat includes a supportive community of fellow practitioners and the quiet grounds of the Am Kolel Sanctuary Retreat Center, nestled in Montgomery County's agricultural preserve.

The retreat will be led by Mitchell Ratner, Senior Teacher of the Still Water Mindfulness Practice Center, and by other experienced members of the Still Water community.

Retreat Schedule:

We will begin on Friday evening with a pot-luck dinner, an orientation, and a sitting. After our sitting, we will remain in noble silence until late morning on Sunday.

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 periods of guided and self-guided formal sitting meditation, group walking meditation, 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 1:30 p.m.

Location and Responsibilities:

The retreat will be held at the Am Kolel Sanctuary Retreat Center in Beallsville, Maryland (about 33 miles from downtown Silver Spring).

The community will share responsibilities for five vegetarian meals, three on Saturday and two on Sunday. Each participant will be assigned to a meal team and will contribute to the purchasing and silent preparation of one meal.


The Still Water MPC is a religious nonprofit that depends on voluntary donations for its continued existence. With your contributions, the Still Water MPC is 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.

Retreat participants will be staying in shared comfortable rooms of the Sanctuary Retreat Center. The suggested donation for the weekend is $220 per person; the benefactor donation is $275 or more per person; and the limited income donation is $165 per person (which covers Still Water expenses associated with the retreat and the rental cost of the facility). .

You are welcome to contribute 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. All contributions above $165 are considered to be voluntary, tax-deductible contributions.

The Main House at Am Kolel Nature Sanctuary
The Main House at Am Kolel Nature Sanctuary

Cancellation Policy:

If the registrant cancels eight days or more before an event, the entire amount will be refunded. If the registrant cancels seven days or fewer before the event, 75% of the amount paid will be refunded.


Please contact the Retreat Registrar, Gary Stone, at garold.stone "at" gmail.com or (301) 509-0983.


Am Kolel Sanctuary Retreat Center

19520 Darnestown Rd

Beallsville, MD 20839


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