May 28-June 4 (Sunday-Sunday)
Taught by Susan Mickel, MD, PhD
Recognition, 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. The true nature is never separate from us, but always right here, and recognition of it is available to us at any moment.
In this retreat we begin with an emphasis on concentration and cultivation of positive states of mind (lovingkindness, compassion, joy, equanimity, patience, generosity). With that as a basis, we investigate how the mind constructs experience in a way that keeps us caught in looking for happiness and wisdom externally.
Finally, the instructions point to resting in the nondual natural state of the mind, where the true nature of the mind is free to shine forth. As compared with the Level 1 Mahamudra retreat, this retreat emphasizes meditations to cultivate positive states and increased depth of exploration of emptiness, nonduality, and resting the mind in the natural state. The instructions for realizing nondual awareness and resting in the nature of mind will be drawn from both the Mahamudra and Dzogchen traditions.
The teaching format emphasizes meditations to help participants develop direct experience of the path and its outcome. To support that overall emphasis, instructions will be offered to help participants to understand the overall framework, and to understand the specific role of each meditation in helping to cultivate the openness needed to relax into the mind’s nature. Group discussion of meditation experience gives an opportunity for regular feedback to help to stay on track, and it helps participants to learn from each other.
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.
Prerequisite: practitioners must have completed a Level 1 retreat with Susan Mickel or with a teacher from Pointing Out the Great Way. A telephone call with Susan regarding ongoing practice is required to approve participation (there is no charge for this).
If you have questions, or to register, contact Susan at: firstname.lastname@example.org.