Zen Mindfulness Retreats
"Peace is not something you can force on anything or anyone... much less upon one's own mind. It is like trying to quiet the ocean by pressing upon the waves. Sanity lies in somehow opening to the chaos, allowing anxiety, moving deeply into the tumult, diving into the waves, where underneath, within, peace simply is."
Mindfulness practice has its roots in Eastern meditative and Western Christian contemplative traditions. The contemporary clinical use of mindfulness as a treatment for mental disorders has focused on the core characteristics of mindfulness practice, independent of its spiritual origin and background. In this context, mindfulness is understood as the practice of awareness of “what is” at the level of direct and immediate experience separate from concepts, category, and expectations. It is the practice of living awake, with your eyes wide open; allowing the moment, so to speak. Mindfulness is thus the practice of willingness to be alive to the moment and radical acceptance of the entirety of the moment. The path of mindfulness is a journey without maps or destination, a path for you to discover and experience for yourself. At the same time, it is the window to freedom and wisdom.
The Mindfulness Retreat
The Zen Mindfulness Retreat offers the opportunity for an extended period of practice. At a retreat, we separate ourselves from our daily affairs in order to sink deeply into mindful practice, free to transcend the background chatter of our busy minds. These retreats follow the style and format initiated by Willigis Jaeger, O.S.B. (Ko-un Roshi). Formal procedures are observed. We practice together but we do not interact. Silence is observed throughout the retreat with the exception of the opening and closing meals, private interviews with the teachers, and the question and answer periods. A brief mindfulness talk is given each morning by Marsha Linehan and a brief question/answer period is conducted each afternoon by Marsha Linehan.
Mindfulness retreats are open to therapists and other service providers working with patients. Priority is given to returning retreat attendees, and interested persons can contact us to be added to the waiting list.
The Retreat consists of four daily blocks of sitting: early morning, late morning, afternoon and evening. Each block is broken up into periods of 25 minutes of sitting. There is a 5 minute period of walking mindfulness between each period of sitting. Private interviews with the teachers are held during blocks of sitting. There is a rest period after each block of sitting and a daily work period. Mindfulness practice periods of extended walking and mindful dance are interspersed within sitting periods. It is assumed that everyone will participate fully in the daily cycle unless prior arrangements have been made.