The simplicity, peace, and power of our true nature tend, in ordinary life, to be clouded over by habitual patterns of thought, emotion, and perception. Such patterns keep us seeking happiness and wisdom externally, rather than opening to and dwelling in what is already present within. Recognition of our basic goodness and inner wisdom, and cultivation of dwelling in them, are the heart of meditation in the Indo-Tibetan essence traditions. This retreat has as its foundation the teachings of the Theravada mindfulness meditation tradition. The heart of the retreat draws primarily on the essence traditions, which belong to the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.
We begin with an emphasis on mental stabilization and opening to the positive states of mind that are already present within, such as lovingkindness, compassion, joy, equanimity, patience, and generosity. With that as a basis, we investigate how the mind constructs experience ways that perpetuate patterns of reactivity to our life experience. Finally, the instructions point to resting in nondual open awareness. As compared with the foundational level retreat, this retreat more emphasizes working with positive states and increased depth of exploration of emptiness, nonduality, and resting the mind.
Although the emphasis in this retreat is on cultivation of direct experience through meditation, the teaching will also present conceptual understandings of the approach. Where relevant, the teaching will clarify distinctions between this Buddhist approach and that of western psychology. Group discussion of meditation experience gives an opportunity for regular feedback to help students to stay on track, and it helps participants to learn from each other.
Prerequisite: practitioners must have completed a foundational level Opening to Pure Awareness retreat with Susan Mickel, or a Level 1 retreat with Susan Mickel or a teacher from Pointing Out the Great Way. A brief telephone call with Susan regarding ongoing practice is required to approve participation (there is no charge for this).
If you have questions about the retreat, or to register, email Susan.
Susan Mickel, PhD
Susan has been meditating for more than 25 years, first in the Christian tradition, then in the Burmese mindfulness tradition, and since 2003 in the Tibetan Mahamudra and Dzogchen traditions. She was authorized to teach Vipassana meditation by Mary Jo Meadow, PhD. Susan first taught Theravada Vipassana retreats with Resources for Ecumenical Spirituality, which offers Christian-Buddhist retreats. In 2001 she completed a certificate in ecumenically oriented Christian spiritual guidance from Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. In 2005 she was authorized by Daniel Brown, PhD, to teach Indo-Tibetan Mahamudra. She taught Mahamudra meditation retreats with Pointing Out the Great Way for 10 years. Currently Susan’s main teachers are Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche and Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. Other teachers who have influenced her are Rahob Rinpoche Thubten Kalsang and Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche. Last year, Susan completed three years of intensive home meditation practice, following a curriculum traditional for a Nyingma 3-year retreat. She plans to continue to practice intensively at least 6 months a year.