May 26-28 (Friday-Sunday)
Taught by Susan Mickel, MD, PhD
Recognition of, and cultivation of dwelling in the innate love/compassion/wisdom awareness that is our true nature is the heart of meditation from the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist perspective. The simplicity, peace, and power of this true nature are ordinarily clouded over by our habitual patterns of thought and emotion.
Dependent origination is a core Buddhist teaching that describes the process by which we keep getting caught in habitual patterns of thought and emotion. And it describes the points of freedom that can release us from that suffering.
At another level dependent origination is understood to mean interdependence. Interdependence refers to the vast network of mutual influences of a cause and effect nature among all animate beings and inanimate forces in the world, the universe. Interdependence is a core understanding that we develop with insight meditation, also known as emptiness practice.
The meditations in this retreat will introduce the pointing out style of teaching, which emphasizes group instruction, discussion of meditation experience, and the pointing out of how to make adjustments.
The meditations are short at the beginning of the weekend and lengthen gradually over the course of the weekend. We begin with concentration, then adding the awareness perspective and emptiness (insight) meditations. The emptiness meditations will incorporate dependent origination.
Susan Mickel, MD, PhD Susan has been meditating for over twenty-five years, first in the Christian tradition, then in the Burmese mindfulness tradition, and since 2003 in the Tibetan Mahamudra and Dzogchen traditions. She learned Burmese mindfulness meditation from Mary Jo Meadow, and teachers at Insight Meditation Society, Spirit Rock, and other centers.
Mary Jo Meadow authorized her to teach in the Theravada tradition. In 2001 she completed a certificate in ecumenically oriented Christian spiritual guidance from Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. Daniel Brown, PhD, a student of Geshe Ngawang Wangyal, her first teacher of Mahamudra, authorized her to teach essence Mahamudra.
Her main teachers of Mahamudra are Khenpo Kunga of Tergar and Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche. Her main Dzogchen teachers are Rahob Rinpoche Thubten Kalsang and Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche. For fifteen years she has been teaching retreats, first in the Burmese mindfulness tradition, including Christian-Buddhist retreats, and for over ten years in Indo-Tibetan Mahamudra. Her personal practice and orientation is Buddhist, and she is interested in interfaith discussion and exploration.
Interested in the mind since she can remember, Susan’s college major was comparative religions, studying with a student of Mircea Eliade. After medical school at Emory University, she worked as a behavioral neurologist and ran a memory disorders clinic for 25 years at a large nonprofit multispecialty clinic.
In 2004 she returned to school for a clinical psychology Ph.D. and in 2013 became a licensed psychologist. She has wide interests in psychology including attachment, geriatrics, trauma, and integrative assessment of persons with potentially neurologically-based behavior problems. Her guiding interest in all her work is how one can influence people to help them decrease their suffering and increase happiness.
Currently her major activity is a three-year Nyingma Dzogchen meditation retreat, which she began in January 2015. The retreat is unconventional in that she is based in her home and continues to work about two days a month; Rahob Rinpoche Thubten Kalsang and Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche are supporting the retreat.
If you have questions, or to register, contact Susan at: firstname.lastname@example.org.