CULTIVATING EMBODIMENT WEEKEND SILENT RETREAT
May 26-29, 2023
Sevenoaks Retreat Center in Madison, VA | Online via Zoom
Teacher: Stan Eisenstein
Affiliated with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington (IMCW)
Our bodies are our homes. They are intimately connected to the present moment. Our bodies give us indications about our feelings. They are connected to our intuitive guidance. Our bodies have a deep wisdom all their own.
And yet, many of us have little to no contact with our bodies. Whether through trauma, pain, illness, or conditioning, many of us have left our bodies because they did not feel safe. Some of us have only limited awareness of the wisdom of the body because we have always assumed that the mind had all the answers.
Yet, something in us knows that when we cultivate deeper and deeper awareness of the body, the nervous system calms down and life events don’t bother us as much. The mind clears up and becomes more efficient. We can stay with difficult emotions longer and listen for an inner guidance.
Through dharma talks, group meetings with the teacher, meditation instruction, personal meditation, and gentle movement practices, we will learn practices and principles that will help participants to come more fully home into their bodies. We will explore the effects of where attention is placed. We will practice with finding and staying with emotions in the body. We will practice with tuning into an inner guidance and wisdom. And we will explore using the sensations of the body to cultivate skillful ways of being in the world – cultivating strength or kindness or peace.
You can join in person at Sevenoaks Retreat Center, which is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. The property includes 5 miles of walking/hiking trails, a labyrinth, and several residential cabins. You can also join online via Zoom.
Retreat Details: Registration begins 4 p.m. Friday, dinner at 5:00 Friday, formal
program starts at 6:30, retreat ends 1 p.m. Monday with lunch afterward
Shared Room (2-4 people per room): $530.00
Some scholarship is available.
In keeping with the Buddhist tradition, the teachers and retreat managers receive no payment. The base fee covers admin costs to run the retreat. Donations offered by students at the end of the retreat are appreciated and support the teachers and retreat managers in continuing to make the teachings available to all.
REVIEWS FROM PREVIOUS RETREAT PARTICIPANTS
I went into the retreat with little expectation, just knowing that Stan is a wonderful teacher. What unfolded felt life-changing. The second night I really wrestled with the topic and what came up for me but trusted the following day whatever Stan presented would shed light. The following day I had such a profound experience. It was beyond anything I could have hoped for. I'm so grateful to Stan for taking on this difficult topic and presenting it with clarity, compassion and humility.
I have no words at this moment to describe what I learned or how I benefited from attending this retreat other than to say I will carry the truths Stan so skillfully taught, the people I met, and the deep knowing found during our meditation periods with me for the rest of my life. I am profoundly changed, and grateful.
This retreat gave me the special opportunity to sit with and touch the embodiment of no-self. The practices presented worked in a systematic and congruous way that, both rationally and subconsciously, helped us to touch deep into our being and be with the emptiness and awareness that is our true nature.
This was a much needed respite from the craziness of the world around us. Stan is a wonderful guide, teaching with love and kindness how to be loving and kind to ourselves during difficult times. His practices gave me a sense of calm and clearing out, and being in community with others (even over Zoom) felt so supportive. Many thanks!
For the first time I saw how my meditation practice connects with my emotional life. We were encouraged to feel and process feelings not just notice our breath. My meditation practice will be changed forever.
Stan's presentations of the teachings are always excellent and this retreat was no different. I have worked with Stan in the past and this was a chance to deepen my awareness of habitual reactivity patterns that I would like to change. My experience with Stan keeps insights building on each other and for that I am so grateful.
A moving an insightful retreat--even over Zoom I felt connected to Stan and to the larger group. It helped me to feel "unstuck" in my life and feel into where my life choices could be in better alignment with what I really want/need.
Stan's guidance throughout the retreat was unparalleled in the variety of teachings he incorporated and balancing that with periods without guidance to let those teachings do their work. I truly appreciated the way the activities throughout the day flowed into one another and how even the breaks had the spirit of the retreat. I could sense that he was keenly aware of folks' responses to his guidance and would provide additional guidance when necessary. It didn't feel like we were simply going through a set of preplanned events and the retreat had a sense of aliveness to it that was beneficial for me finding clarity about what it means to allow every part of my experience to be as it is and trust that all is unfolding as it should.
After the retreat, I feel relieved to have moved through some difficult emotions and patterns that were stored in my body for years. I feel recharged to face the "real world" with a deeper inner sense of calm. I feel that my experiences were relevant and respected by Stan as our guide; he listened deeply, supported us through it, and offered suggestions for sitting with sadness and grief. Thank you Stan for kindness, wisdom, and truly seeing us for who we are. I feel stronger now than when the weekend began and you charged my personal growth. Namaste.
I began a much needed homecoming this weekend, and I imagine the benefits will continue as I integrate the teachings and experiences from the retreat. The container and rhythm created by the managers and teacher, the guidance through all stages of the retreat, the availability of the retreat managers and teacher, the felt sense of sincere welcoming and openness of the community, and the balance of guided and unguided meditations, all worked together to allow me to reconnect with my body. I was invited to resume healing old wounds in a trauma-informed and respectful way, and open to a sense of loving awareness holding it all.
I moved through a great deal of physical pain and discomfort, greeting and accepting them. I investigated my reactions to daily uncertainties in my work as a secondary teacher during the pandemic and felt a moment of the ease that accompanies the spontaneous freedom of accepting, rather than fighting against. All of this was possible with Stan's gentle and safe guidance. I was inspired by the great care he showed each of us and the prescient questions he challenged us with.
I didn't realize that a Zoom retreat could be so deep. The teachings, the time in practice, and the community were wonderful.
In the relatively short span of the retreat, and with the expert guidance of the teachers, I touched into some new ways of cultivating self kindness or metta. The practice described as "reparenting" which I admit I was somewhat skeptical of at first, was surprisingly powerful and I look forward to exploring it further. I really appreciated the interaction with the other participants in breakout rooms. The retreat was a well-balanced mix of sitting, walking, Dharma talks, and engaging with the teachers and participants.
Stan has such an intuitive and healing presence. His meditations took me to a vulnerable and tender place, and I'm grateful for that experience. A wise guide indeed!
The teachers' and managers' welcomes created a space where I could welcome more and more of myself throughout the weekend. I was surprised by what I came to be aware of during the retreat. I was allowed my original intentions, and then by letting them go and surrendering to the process, came to see and accept both my deep struggles and deep aspirations, all with kind acceptance and with an eye toward the ever-emerging nature of being. I felt comfortable asking questions because the teachers didn't analyze participants. A heartfelt thank you for this offering.
This retreat gave me the space to safely connect and feel into the energetic reality of my body. I really enjoyed exploring my aspirations, not only for now and the year ahead, but also to recall aspirations that have guided me throughout my life. This was very enlightening. I was able to notice deep beliefs that that I had never considered before. The insights, wise and gentle guidance and community will stay with me for a long time.
Stan is without a doubt one of the best teachers for helping embody lessons. I felt connected to the lessons of the Noble Truths. In the end I was left with wanting to live with loving kindness and equanimity. What could be better?
As a practitioner and teacher of Vipassana mindfulness this retreat was expansive and transformative for me. Enjoyed Stan’s version of RAIN which was a different journey that resonated with me. Also enjoyed the Spiritual Heart Meditation, timing was perfect. The hybrid format was a wonderful opportunity for me because driving the distance wasn’t possible at this time and also the cost was considerably lower. Even though I missed the in-person energy I felt that there was an online sangha. I very much enjoyed that ability to hear from the in-person participants there comments during the integration portion of the retreat. Overall perfect timing and wonderful way to stay connected with other mindfulness meditators.