Silent Meditation Retreat with Les Schaffer
Note that the Center is accepting guest stays during this retreat. See below*
Les Schaffer will facilitate this retreat from his homespace in Massachusetts, via Zoom. Join in and explore sitting, looking, listening and asking questions together with Les and other online participants from near and far.
Here’s what Les writes about meditative work together and how the retreat will happen:
Bringing it home
The early March retreat will be online again this year. By way of inviting you to join us, I’d like to share some thoughts about this retreat and reflections on the possibilities it offers.
In this retreat, most of us will be home—in the very place where our ongoing routines have served to make our homes a home. We will have a chance to do silence and sitting right in the middle of our everyday constructed environments. I will weave this theme into talks during the week. And I will speak to the feeling of distractedness and various possible responses to that condition.
It is at home that we attempt to “make” our lives moment by moment, day by day, and decade by decade. Didn’t Tolstoy have something to say about this “making” when he said in Anna Karenina, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” ?
What is it like to bring our meditation practice home? What does it mean to us in our very lives, in our bodies and minds, as we wake, sleep, eat, wash, relate and work and worry? In my experience, this is how we find gold. This is where it counts—at home, long after the retreat is over.
A nearly half century of dedication to sitting and silent retreat has taught me, often the hard way, that meditation and inquiry must meet us where we are at home. It’s about life, yours and mine, in all of our uniqueness and commonality.
In my experience, a one-on-one meeting with someone dedicated to “bringing it home” in all its particulars is the most evocative and fruitful of dialogs. I will not advise you to sit “my way” but will do my best to support you in deepening a way that is yours. I will work with what is true for you in your own experience of sitting and silence. I will explore this more fully in talks during the retreat.
I will be available for one-on-one meetings for all retreat participants throughout the retreat. I want to encourage you to take advantage of this. Please sign up for and use the meeting times. I will remind myself to talk about this early in the retreat to so as to make it clear what meetings are like, and why they are so important.
We will not have dialogue groups or question and response periods during this particular retreat. In addition I will encourage retreat participants to meet with each other during the week to connect, share experiences, get a feeling for the community of retreatants, and explore our common and unique needs. I will speak to how we might do this in the talks.
I fully expect that the war in the Ukraine will follow us into this retreat. I look forward to seeing you there, with all that we carry.
Space is available for online participants to attend full or part-time. Register here.
*It’s possible to visit the Center as a guest or volunteer during this online retreat. If desired, guests may combine a guest stay with online participation in the retreat using their own devices. All meals during this retreat will be self-serve. Please email reception to ask questions or register for a guest stay.