All Are Welcome
The Samadhi Center is open to everyone regardless of experience, background and religion. A meditation retreat is an opportunity to move out of the endless patterns of doing to experience simply being; to become a true human-being as opposed to a human-doing. It is not an escape from your life, nor is it a holiday or time for relaxation, but rather it can be likened to doing deep surgery on one's entire being. Intensive meditation helps one to become free from the conditioned patterns that cause suffering. Rather than an escape from life, it is actually the way to engage more fully with life, to cultivate greater equanimity and presence in every facet of one's existence, and to awaken one's true nature beyond name and form (to realize Samadhi).
It is now becoming well-known that practicing meditation provides many benefits such as improved heath, stress reduction, improved productivity, improved mental focus, emotional stability and improvements in overall well-being. While these are all valuable side-benefits to one's life, the true gift of meditation is to realize Samadhi, which is immeasurably greater than anything that could be conveyed in mere words. Samadhi is the 8th and final part of the Buddha's noble eightfold path, and the 8th limb of Patanjali's 8 limbs of yoga, but for the most part it has been forgotten by the world. Our retreats offer a unique opportunity to realize our true nature.
Rather than following one particular tradition, we borrow from many traditions freely. It is our understanding that there is one dharma which is reflected in the many world spiritual traditions, and it is our intention to convey our unique expression of the dharma using all available means. Those who are familiar with Vipassana retreats or the Zen Sesshin format will find a similar level of structure and opportunity for deep practice. In our retreats we incorporate (but are not limited to) facets of the Zen sesshin, elements from the Vipassana traditions, as well as Christian mysticism, the yogic traditions, Vedanta and non-dualism and others. All traditions and teachings are merely pointers to the unfathomable inner source which is beyond the limited egoic mind. The facilitators, Daniel and Tanya, provide instructions and teachings as needed throughout the retreats, as well as private consultation.
The Zen term “sesshin” means something like “gathering the heart-mind”, and this phrase reflects the essence of our meditation retreats. The sesshin is a period of intensive practice, during which all efforts and energies are focused or “gathered” for the purpose of awakening out of one’s conditioned or unconscious patterns. Likewise, Vipassana, one of the world’s oldest meditation techniques taught 2500 years ago by the Buddha, is a process of deep self inquiry and purification. In the same way the 8 limbs of yoga are aimed at purifying oneself through deep concentration and surrender in order to reach Samadhi. Regardless of which teachings one is familiar with, it is our intention to allow participants to explore the experiential truth that comes through single-pointed concentration and inner non-resistance. Through meditation practice we are able to observe and purify the self structure, which is the cause of all suffering, and to awaken the spiritual heart which is beyond name and form. The spiritual heart has gone by many names throughout history and is also known as the true self, the selfless self, Atman (soul), Anatta or “no self”, Buddha nature, and Christ Consciousness.
The word Samadhi has many different meanings, which can lead to much confusion. Rather than trying to define it, we guide participants towards a direct realization of it. It is not something to be understood with the mind, because it is a cessation of the egoic mind's control. To the limited mind Samadhi must must remain a mystery, while prajna or wisdom is the realization of our true nature. Samadhi is realized directly through pure forms of deep meditation, prayer and self-inquiry, and flowers into its full expression as the wisdom attained in meditation is integrated into every day life.
At the Samadhi Center many effective techniques may be offered and explored to assist you on your inner journey. As one moves toward inner stillness, one lets go of any technique or anything that is held in the mind. We simply allow reality to be as it is, which means a surrender, inner letting go and eventual cessation of the egoic mind structures, including techniques. At the same time one cultivates the capacity for unwavering concentration on the meditation object. Like two wings of a bird these two aspects of duality, Shakti and Shiva, surrender and presence, yin and yang, carry one to Samadhi.
Participants will have the opportunity to stay more connected to their inner energy and oriented inward towards awareness itself by maintaining silence throughout the retreat. Although there is no talking, gesturing or writing between participants, the silence is held in a way that can foster a deep connection to each other; a compassionate contribution to the group’s practice. There will be opportunities for questions and reporting during the daily group process, and if other communication is necessary, notes can also be left for the retreat manager on the cork board. (Replies will also be found on the same board). There is a private meeting room available if quiet conversation needs to occur between a participant and teacher or retreat manager. During work periods it may be necessary to communicate verbally in order to complete certain work, in which case speaking is allowed for that purpose only.
Yaza is a Zen Buddhist term which means "night meditation". At our retreats we offer participants the opportunity to meditate through the night. While yaza is optional, sitting at night can allow for a profound deepening of meditative states, and the possibility for exploration of the immaterial jhanas. We invite you to try some or all of the overnight sit. A snack is served for yaza participants mid way through the night.
One on One Interviews
During week long retreats we offer participants the opportunity to sign up for one-on-one private meetings with the teacher to discuss any aspect of their practice that they want to address.
Sound has been used for healing and transformation for thousands of years in cultures around the world. Everything in the universe is vibrating in a cosmic symphony. At the Samadhi Center a variety of instruments may be used during sound meditations. In particular we feel that the gong is a special instrument that can be used as powerful meditation tool. We have 6 Paiste gongs, including an incredible custom 50" gong which produces a unique sound experience. During sound meditation people can be sitting, lying down, or moving in response to the vibration. We encourage people to experience the transcendent effects of the gongs through their inner energy rather than through the mind, to realize aspects of the inner world which may otherwise be hidden.