Natural Awakening: Trusting Our True Nature
5 DAY ADVANCED RETREAT
7:15 PM EST WEDNESDAY UNTIL NOON EST SUNDAY
JANUARY 27 - 31, 2021
According to the profound teachings on Direct Awakening such as the Great Perfection, Mahamudra, Advaita, Zen,Taoism and other non-dual traditions, our deepest nature is already perfect and complete.
There is nothing we need to change, nothing we need to fix, and nowhere to go. Our essential being is pure from beginningless time – and our deepest wisdom is always accessible, waiting to be experienced.
All that is needed is for us is to recognize the true nature of the very awareness that is reading these words.
- At first, we may only glimpse this transparent knowing which is difficult to see.
- Then, as we learn to deepen into the continuous presence of awareness with curiosity, an unconditional dimension of our Being starts to reveal itself.
- When known through the heart, it opens us to the very core of what it is to be human – to feel love, caring, compassion, and connection.
Direct Awakening rarely occurs once and for all. And yet, you could say that in each moment that you embody awakening, there is a quality of realization that is all at once. For most of us, stability in that realization is a maturing process that unfolds over a period of years.
We become more familiar with the experience of our true nature through meditative inquiry, opening our heart, and letting go. The more we do so, the more there develops a deepening conviction in the process.
This opens us to trust whatever is occurring as the grace-filled unfolding of awakening.
The Online Format for this Retreat
We want to make participation in this 5 day retreat as easy as possible.
The circumstances of practicing from home are different than in a retreat center. Others may be present in your household. There may be unavoidable demands upon your time.
To allow you greater flexibility, this retreat is structured as a combination of online and off-line meditation sessions. (The detailed schedule is below.) Please feel free to participate in the way that best meets your circumstances.
All of the online Zoom sessions will be recorded. This means that if you miss one, you can listen later when it is more convenient for you. We will do our best to make recordings available by the following day.
Feel free to participate in whatever way your life allows.
If you do miss a session, just try your best to keep the retreat alive in whatever you are doing. Awakening is not a “state,” nor is it limited to the confines of formal meditation sessions. Simply tune in to the awareness that is always already here now.
There will be 3 sessions each day. The mornings and evenings will take place online via Zoom:
- The morning Zoom session (9:30 am – 12 noon EST) will include guided and/or silent meditation as well as a talk.
- Afternoons are set aside for personal time and silent meditation on your own. We have prepared a recommended schedule (below) to guide your sitting and walking practice. If you can follow the schedule, that is ideal retreat immersion. But if that’s not possible, participate as you are able and create a meditation schedule that works best for you.
- At 4:30pm EST Scott will perform the Medicine Buddha practice of distant healing to enhance your practice, remove obstacles, and provide physical/emotional healing and balancing. These 45-minute sessions will not take place on Zoom. You simply lie down at that time and receive the energy of the Medicine Buddha.
- The evening online Zoom session (7:30pm – 9:00pm EST) will include meditation, a short talk and discussion.
More on Awakening and The Focus of This Retreat
The word “awakening” is used more and more these days especially with reference to meditation. But what it means varies a lot depending on the context. We can “wake up” in any number of ways.
For example, in Mindfulness Meditation if we drift into wandering mind, when we notice that, and come back to the present moment, we sometimes say that we “woke up”. But this is not what we mean here by “awakening”.
This retreat is not a traditional Mindfulness Retreat. Nor is this retreat a traditional Buddhist retreat.
Although Scott’s teachings are strongly influenced by his deep training in Buddhism, his teachings are presented in a non-denominational way that is more accessible to anyone longing to awaken.
For this Retreat, we reserve the term “Awakening” (with a capital “A”) to refer to the beginning of the radical process of “enlightenment” or “liberation” or “realization” – as experienced by meditators and contemplatives throughout history. The “i-n-g” ending of the word Awakening indicates that it is not a fixed state but a dynamic process or continuity.
It means Awakening from the illusion of being a solid, separate “me”. And Awakening into the direct recognition of the universal, undivided, heart-consciousness of our true nature.
Awakening initiates a complete shift in our sense of “identity.” Who we take ourselves to be at the start of the journey gradually dissolves – and is no longer to be found once Awakening has taken over. Therefore it may not be wise or appropriate for those who do not feel ready to make that kind of shift.
There are two primary approaches to Awakening: Awakening the Mind and Awakening the Heart.
Initially, some people are more drawn to Awakening the Mind and others are more drawn to Awakening the Heart. The mature and complete fullness of Awakening is the union or inseparability of the two. Open-hearted Awake Awareness.
Awakening the mind
begins when our everyday awareness relaxes its constant grasping after objects of experience (sense objects, thoughts, feelings, images, concepts) and sees or recognizes itself. It is like a child looking in a mirror and for the first time recognizing that what it sees is itself.
Awareness recognizes itself to be open, clear, shapeless, and content-free. It is not anything we can grab hold of. And yet, it is an alive knowing. It is our very Being.
When awareness truly sees itself, the habitual, contracted ‘small self’ temporarily dissolves into a spontaneous presence that is awake, formless, and pervasive. Awareness “wakes up” and realizes that it is not something separate from the objects it perceives but, more accurately, is the mind-space in which everything is appearing.
Moments of true insight happen first as glimpses. But even a glimpse can catalyze a profound shift in our experience.
With practice we learn to let go again and again into the simplicity of unfabricated presence. Then gradually, habitual mind surrenders and our essential Being reveals itself spontaneously. This brings experiences of deep freedom, well-being, wholeness, and joy.
The meditative style of Awakening is not the practice of deliberate mindfulness.
Instead, it is a type of insight meditation, not necessarily concerned with breath awareness. The meditative approach is to simply and directly ‘see’ and recognize the natural qualities of the awareness that is always already here – Awareness itself, effortlessly mindful, ever present, and already awake.
When mind-habits of grasping and rejecting happen – which they do – the practice is simply to recognize them without any judgment. Without struggle or resistance, these insubstantial waves of consciousness can be allowed to dissolve back into the ocean of all-encompassing Presence.
Awakening the Heart
begins with a glimpse of the tender, open, spacious heart.
When the heart relaxes its preoccupation with emotions and settles into itself with vulnerability and openness, it begins to discover what is underneath – our very Being.
From the perspective of our heart, finding our essential Being is finding the very source within us of love, compassion, gratitude, generosity and more.
As we let go and surrender to that source of love, we find that it is not just within us but is the very heart-space of life in which everything appears.
The more our heart opens, the more we are filled with love. The more we are filled with love, the more we feel love for everything we experience. All is included and welcomed by the open heart.
Even painful emotions, when met with love, begin to dissolve into the non-dual essential nature.
Everything is seen as an expression of this universal love.
brings an end to all seeking because we recognize that everything we have been looking for is already and always present as the essence of who we are.
It becomes easier and easier to let be and let go. Old habits begin to dissolve naturally.
The unconditional compassion of our innate awake awareness holds all that we are, as well as absolutely everyone and everything in its boundless embrace.
Much of the power of retreat lies in the charged atmosphere of sustained group practice, our mutual authenticity, our willingness, and the fact that awakening can be shared. Even though not in the same room, you will experience the heightened atmosphere of mutual awakening as we practice together on-line and throughout the full course of the retreat.
You will be guided towards continuous recognition and sustained experience of your most essential Being, which is eternally awake.
For those who have already recognized awake awareness, retreat practice increases meditative stability, deepens insight, brings forth beneficial qualities, and dissolves the boundary between meditation and daily life.
Your guide is a highly trained teacher praised for his abilities to impart instructions in a clear, compassionate, practical way. The teachings are non-denominational and draw primarily from Buddhism as well as other non-dual wisdom traditions of the East and West informed by modern contemporary psychology and neuroscience.
All times are Eastern Standard Time (EST)
To find your time, please use this time zone converter
|(Zoom Session)||7:15pm Sharp! – 9:00 pm||Meditation, Talk|
|Thursday – Saturday|
|(Zoom Session)||9:30am – 12 noon||Guided/Silent Meditations and Talk|
|(Offline)||12 noon – 2:00pm||Lunch and Personal time|
|2:00pm – 2:45pm||Silent Meditation|
|2:45pm – 3:15pm||Silent Walk or Break|
|3:15pm – 4:00pm||Silent Meditation|
|4:00pm – 4:30pm||Silent Walk or Break|
|4:30pm – 5:15pm||Receiving Medicine Buddha Healing|
|5:15pm – 7:30pm||Dinner and Personal Time|
|(Zoom Session)||7:30pm – 9:00pm||Meditation, Talk or Discussion|
|(Zoom Session)||9:30am – 12 Noon||Meditation, Talk, Discussion|
Comments from Previous Retreats
“I am so very grateful for the experience of the recent retreat you led. I’ve had other retreat experiences for comparison and this one is exemplary. You provided an atmosphere of safety and respect for all participants, which I’ve learned is essential to the intimate work that occurs in silence and in sharing with others. Your commitment to teaching others is filled with integrity and loving intention, clearly drawn from the power of your own personal awakening.” J.F.
“This retreat was excellent. I appreciated the guidance, exercises, discussions, time for practice, and the care and compassion in helping us awaken in a loving way. I absolutely value the teachings on awakening and open heartedness. Best retreats ever!” M.F.
“The group was phenomenal. The atmosphere seemed super charged and that was extremely supportive. I truly felt my progression towards more awakening and was so excited almost every sitting to really look deeply and feel my true nature. It felt like food for my soul.” K.D.
To encourage as many people as possible to participate, we have substantially reduced tuition as follows:
Standard (reduced) Tuition: $199
Patron Price: $225
***If you would like to attend but cannot afford the full cost of this retreat, please contact us. We can help! Our community maintains a Generosity Fund to help everyone participate so PLEASE contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cancellations: If you need to cancel, you must notify us by sending an email to email@example.com. Full tuition refunds will be issued for cancellations received at least one week prior to the start date. Account credit towards a future program will be given when canceling less than one week prior to the start date. But no refunds or credits will be issued for cancellations received less than 24 hours before the start. Instead, you will receive access to recordings of the live Zoom sessions.