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All times are Pacific unless otherwise indicated.  

May 1-8 (Wednesday to Wednesday): Settling, Seeing, and Spacious Awareness (with Tere Abdala): Big Bear Retreat Center (Southern California), co-hosted by InsightLA and Big Bear Retreat Center.  In-person residential retreat. We will train in three inter-related modes of practice. First, we will settle and stabilize our minds and bodies, becoming more concentrated, through both sitting and moving forms of meditation, including regular Qigong. As we settle, we then become better able to examine closely both our experiences of our bodies, thoughts, and emotions, and the general patterns of experience, both more personal and more universal. We see more clearly when we are reactive, when we suffer, when there is a thick sense of self, and we learn to be more with the impermanent flow of experience. We can also tune in more, as we settle and see, to an increasingly unconfined and luminous awareness beyond reactivity, that is a source of freedom, wisdom, and compassion, both in retreat practice and daily life. PrerequisiteCompletion of a class or retreat in mindfulness practice and a regular mindfulness practice. For further information: https://insightla.org/event/settling-seeing-and-spacious-awareness/2024-05-01-00-00/

May 15, 22 (Wednesday morning), Spirit Rock, 10 to noon. Meditation, talk, and discussion. Go tohttps://www.spiritrock.org/programs/wednesday-morningOn Zoom.

May 31–June 2 (Friday dinner to Sunday 5:30 p.m.): Mindful Heart Buddha Sangha: Evansville, Indiana: Transforming the Judgmental Mind, Cultivating the Wise Heart. In-person residential retreat. Judgments of a reactive and often automatic nature are very strong in most of our lives and in the dominant culture. They can distort our perceptions, make relationships with others difficult, and undermine our work in the world. In this weekend residential retreat, we will explore the nature of such judgments (and their difference from non-reactive discernment) and how to transform them. We will cultivate mindfulness, inquiry, and heart practices such as loving kindness, forgiveness, and compassion. We will also explore the somatic and social dimensions of judgments and the role of cultivating awakened qualities in transforming judgments. These tools will help us to preserve the intelligence and energy often found in judgments, using them for discernment and compassionate action, while working through judgments’ destructive and compulsive aspects, that often rest on unconscious or unexamined limiting beliefs. This retreat will include sitting and walking meditation, including instructions for several guided practices, talks and group discussion, and some basic movement practices, all in the context of a small, supportive community. For further information and registration: https://mhbsangha.com/upcoming-insight-meditation-retreat-transforming-the-judgmental-mind-cultivating-the-wise-heart/.

June 3 (Monday evening): Louisville Vipassana Community, 6:30 p.m. (Sitting meditation followed by a dharma talk). For further information: http://www.louisville-vipassana-community.org/index.html.

June 4-9 (Tuesday to Sunday): Southern Dharma Retreat Center, Hot Springs, North Carolina: Bringing Wisdom, Inner Work, Empathy, and Skillful Responses to Conflicts. In-person residential retreat. In our times, conflicts (which we’ll define as differences in values, goals, views, or strategies and not necessarily involving hostility or aggression) seem increasingly pervasive – in relationships, communities, workplaces, political polarization, and social issues. Differences and conflicts can lead to reactivity – manifesting in avoidance, acting out, frustration, anger, blaming, and/or withdrawal. How do we bring our practice to this area? 

In this retreat, from a container of silent practice, we will explore: 

--Core teachings and practices (including meditation) for working with differences and conflicts, particularly when they lead to difficult mental, emotional, and somatic states; 

--The practice of empathy (which can co-exist with disagreement);

--Grounding in ethics and recognizing the Buddha Nature of all; and

--Wise speech.

We will be guided by a vision of non-dual “conflict transformation,” rooted in the Buddha’s Middle Way and the contemporary work of peacemakers, in which we aim for a “win-win” solution, meeting the deep interests of all concerned. Our intention is to better approach differences and conflicts as opportunities for learning, connection and reconciliation, steadiness, trust, and compassion. 

About two-thirds of the retreat will be conducted in Noble Silence, with the remainder composed of interactive sessions, guided meditations, talks and discussion, and practicing with scenarios involving differences or conflicts. No prior meditation experience is required. For further information: https://southerndharma.org/retreat-schedule/1344/bringing-wisdom-inner-work-empathy-and-skillful-responses-to-conflicts/.

June 16, 30 (Sunday): Benicia Insight Meditation Community, 4 to 6 p.m. For further information: https://beniciainsightmeditation.com. St. Paul’s Church, 120 E. J St., Benicia. Hybrid: In-person and online.

June 26, July 3 (Wednesday morning), Spirit Rock, 10 to noon. Meditation, talk, and discussion. Go tohttps://www.spiritrock.org/programs/wednesday-morningOn Zoom.

July 7 (Sunday evening): San Rafael: Marin Sunday Sangha, 6 to 7:30 p.m. or so: Meditation, talk, and discussion. For further informationwww.marinsangha.orgBy Zoom.

July 8 (Monday evening): Spirit Rock. 7:15 to 9:15 p.m. Meditation, talk, and discussion. Hybrid: In-person and online.

July 20 (Saturday): Spirit Rock, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Transforming the Judgmental Mind. Judgments of a reactive and compulsive nature are very strong for many of us. They can distort our perceptions, make relationships with others difficult, and undermine our work. We will examine what judgments are and how to work with them, using mindfulness, heart practices, and inquiry, helping us to preserve the discernment often found in judgments, while working through their destructive aspects. We will also explore how we internalize the judgments of our society in a number of ways, particularly related to race, gender, sexual orientation, and other identity characteristics. Attendees will have the option of regular follow-up sessions to continue and deepen the learning. On Zoom.

July 24, 31 (Wednesday morning), Spirit Rock, 10 to noon. Meditation, talk, and discussion. Go tohttps://www.spiritrock.org/programs/wednesday-morningOn Zoom.

July 28 (Sunday evening): San Rafael: Marin Sunday Sangha, 6 to 7:30 p.m. or so: Meditation, talk, and discussion. For further informationwww.marinsangha.orgBy Zoom.

August 28 (Wednesday morning), Spirit Rock, 10 to noon. Meditation, talk, and discussion. Go tohttps://www.spiritrock.org/programs/wednesday-morningOn Zoom.

September 13-15 (Friday to Sunday): Louisville, Kentucky: Louisville Vipassana Community: Weekend Retreat (Friday, 7 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.):

Held at the Earth & Spirit Center (“The Barn”), 1924 Newburg Road, Louisville. For further information: http://www.louisville-vipassana-community.org/index.html.

September 16 (Monday evening): Louisville Vipassana Community, 6:30 p.m. (Sitting meditation followed by a dharma talk). For further information: http://www.louisville-vipassana-community.org/index.html.

September 18-25 (Wednesday to Wednesday): Southern Dharma Retreat Center (North Carolina): Metta and Awakened Awareness: Developing Loving Awareness: A Retreat for Experienced Practitioners. In this retreat, we will cultivate and increasingly integrate two fundamental practices that help us to access the depths of our being. In the first half of the retreat, we will practice metta or lovingkindness, the steadfast cultivation of the intention of kindness and warmth as our orientation in meditation and in daily activities. In the second half of the retreat, we will also focus, while continuing metta practice, on opening to a non-dual awakened awareness, an increasingly unconfined, loving, and luminous awareness beyond reactivity, that is a source of freedom, wisdom, and kindness, both in retreat practice and daily life. We will particularly emphasize the integration of the kind heart, wisdom, and awareness, an integration which in many ways goes against our conditioning to separate the “heart” and the “mind.” There will be both group and one-on-one meetings with the teacher and there will also be a daily session of Qigong, linked with an emphasis on embodiment. Prerequisite:Completion of at least two 5-night or longer silent Insight Meditation retreats or permission of the teacher. Registration opens July 1.

It’s possible to combine the September 18-25 and September 27-October 1 retreats and stay at the center between the retreats, doing several hours a day of work (especially on the grounds) in the interval.

September 27-October 1 (Friday to Tuesday): Southern Dharma Retreat Center (North Carolina): Self-Guided Retreat: Join other experienced practitioners for self-guided practice in Noble Silence, with the support of a resident teacher (Donald!). Retreatants are invited to join up to five regularly scheduled daily group meditation sessions. Participants may be further supported by two evening dharma talks – one at the beginning of the retreat and one in the middle of the retreat – a closing session the last morning, as well as optional one-on-one sessions with the teacher. The daily schedule will also include 60 minutes of required working meditation, primarily on outdoor groundskeeping, housekeeping tasks, and food preparation. Please feel free to bring your own cushions, benches, zabutons, or other meditation and/or yoga props if you choose to. Yogis also have access to our on-site lending library of dharma books. Participants must have taken part in at least two 5-day silent meditation retreats (or one 10-day retreat) and have experience with regular, self-supported daily meditation practiceRegistration opens July 1.

October 11-13 (Friday to Sunday): Tucson, Arizona (Tucson Community Meditation Center—TCMC, non-residential weekend retreat), Friday, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 9 to 4 p.mThe retreat will include sitting and walking meditation, talks, and discussion. Location: TCMC, 1231 E. Edison, Tucson. For further info, go to http://www.insightmeditationtucson.org.

November 23-24 (Saturday and Sunday): Spirit Rock: Two-Day Online Retreat With Sylvia Boorstein.

December 1-7 (Sunday to Saturday): InsightLA: Cultivating the Wise Heart on the Cushion and in the World: Practicing Mindfulness and the “Divine Abodes” (Lovingkindness, Compassion, Joy, Equanimity), with Kaira Jewel LingoThe Divine Abodes (Brahmaviharas) of lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity, are the places of the open, awakened heart. In this retreat, on the foundation of insight meditation and the development of mindfulness, we will learn the formal practices of lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. We will also offer guidance for bringing these practices into daily life, including in challenging situations—whether in our relationships, our work and community lives, or in our efforts at social change. All of these practices strengthen clear seeing and wisdom, self-confidence, self-acceptance, generosity of spirit, steadiness of mind and heart, and skillful action, revealing our fundamental kindness and wisdom, in a culture in which heart and mind are often disconnected. The retreat will generally alternate silent sitting meditation and walking meditation. Core instructions in the different practices will be offered, along with talks, discussion, and brief daily guided movement sessions. For further information and registration: https://insightla.org/event/cultivating-the-wise-heart-2024/2024-12-01-14-00/. On Zoom.

December 8, 15 (Sunday evening): San Rafael: Marin Sunday Sangha, 6 to 7:30 p.m. or so: Meditation, talk, and discussion. For further informationwww.marinsangha.orgBy Zoom.

Ongoing Wednesdays Class, Spirit Rock, Woodacre, CA: 10 a.m. to noon morning class: Share teaching with Sylvia Boorstein (most Wednesdays, either Sylvia or I will teach; Heidi Bourne has also been teaching for much of 2020 – 2024): 45 minute meditation, talk and discussion. Donald will be teaching May 15, 22; June 26; July 3, 24, 31; August 28. Further dates to be determined.

Donald’s Talks At: Dharma Seed (www.dharmaseed.org/), Audio Dharma (www.audiodharma.org )