Sky Meadow Retreat

Insight Meditation
For independent people looking for meaning and purpose without subscribing to a set of beliefs or ideals

    You are managing your life, but there is this anxiety that you can't quite put your finger on. Something essential is missing that all of your accomplishments or material gains have not been able to resolve. You are still unclear what all of this is for, where life is taking you, and why exactly you are here. Believing in a prescribed doctrine or set of ideals has never worked for you, and the explanations offered by religion, science, or philosophy have not answered these gnawing questions.

    What you need is a way to look deeply into your experience of life and see what is really going on. No one else's description or explanation is going to satisfy you. You have to get to the bottom of this mystery yourself, and to do that you need tools.

    Over 2,500 years ago in ancient India, the Buddha offered such tools in the form of meditation or mindfulness practice. They were designed to enable you to investigate your moment to moment experience without the distortion of your rational thought process. He understood that only when you experience for yourself what life is for, will your thirst for meaning be quenched.

    I have been practicing Insight Meditation since 1976, and leading retreats since 1999. I can show you how to focus your awareness so that you become more present and are able to see what is real, and what your thinking mind has made up. Once you learn to make this fundamental distinction between your conclusions about reality, and your direct experience, life's meaning and purpose begins to emerge with great clarity.

    The focus of my teaching is to give you tools and support you in practicing them. You can then use them to relax and center yourself so you can be present and aware without being tense or anxious. This will enable you to access the truth in the present moment, without relying on beliefs or doctrines. The result will be a continually fresh perspective providing a certainty unclouded by old fears,doubts, and worries.

    Insight Meditation is a simple practice of bringing direct awareness to the experience of each moment.  Doing this brings clarity and calms the mind, enabling one to see through interpretations and concepts to a direct experience of reality.  

This method comes from the 2,500 year old Buddhist Monastic tradition practiced in Southeast Asian countries such as Sri Lanka, Burma, and Thailand. It is one of the simplest meditation practices as the primary aim is paying attention to the sensations of the body breathing. It does not involve learning concepts or taking on beliefs, but rather relies on our innate capacity to know through unfiltered awareness.

Intensive retreats are a time to train the mind in this direction and provide a foundation to carry  meditation practice into daily life.  These retreats are held mostly in silence and consist primarily of sitting and slow walking meditation periods.  Participants are expected to follow the daily schedule and maintain silence while on retreat.   There will be simple instructions, short individual interviews, and inspirational talks based on Buddhist teachings.

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Excerpt from Beyond Perception

This Empty Feeling

This empty feeling is simply our innate longing for freedom from our mental programming. Until we decide to recognize this longing for what it is and stop trying to make it go away by feeding it candy or giving it trinkets to play with, our lives contain a certain amount of despair and impotence. We become caught in an endless loop where all of our attempts to free ourselves fall short and we unconsciously affirm the hopelessness of our situation again and again. This naturally leads to chronic depression or anxiety from which we can get only temporary relief through our addictive behaviors or medications.