The Buddha’s Practice of Mindfulness of Breathing
Four Meditation Retreats in 2022
with Doug McGill
$400 for the four weekend retreats; or
$125 per weekend retreat
On these four online weekend retreats, we’ll experience mindfulness of breathing as an intuitive, step-by-step meditation leading practitioners to ever-deeper levels of relaxation, clarity, joy and letting go.
“Breathing in, I know I am alive,” says Thich Nhat Hanh.
“Breathing out, I smile to life.”
A perfectly simple, loving, and transforming practice.
Often referred to as “watching the breath,” very few people know the true power of the Buddha’s original breath meditation as a profound stepwise journey through consciousness, leading from suffering to ease.
This will be exactly our practice on this series of four retreats, offered one each quarter through 2022.
We will learn mindfulness of breathing as the Buddha actually taught it, including 16 separate exercises that first relax, then gladden, and finally liberate the body and mind completely—and for good.
Don’t we all so dearly need this liberation, individually and collectively?
This series of four retreats thus offers a truly distinctive introduction to mindfulness of breathing, or “anapanasati,” in these five ways:
First, we will experience the 16 exercises of anapanasati as flowing seamlessly and intuitively, from one to the next until the end. In this way, the exercises don’t feel like a list to laboriously memorize, but rather like a river to drift upon, flowing all the way to freedom;
Second, practitioners will have the opportunity to experiment and savor each of the anapanasati exercises over the course of a year, since each weekend retreat focuses on only four of the 16 exercises;
Third, on the retreats we will explore how mindfulness of breathing liberates every individual’s innate—though often veiled and hidden—radiant warm-heartedness, AKA “loving-kindness” or “metta;”
Fourth, when practiced in its full and original form, anapanasati dissolves obstacles that yogis often face with loving-kindness, which can feel superficial in a “greeting card” way, or like a forced and mechanical process. Instead, by simply using the breath to awaken loving-kindness, loving instantly feels as natural as breathing.
Fifth, as with all of my retreats, the focus combines formal and daily life practice, emphasizing the latter. “If we want to have real understanding, we must practice in real situations,” says my teacher, Sayadaw U Tejaniya. Therefore, we will learn mindful breathing as a formal sitting practice, but emphasize its daily life applications on this “daily life” retreat.
The “The Breath of Love” retreats have these special features:
Over the course of the four retreats, we will develop a sangha of practitioners committed to supporting each other. “Spiritual friendship is 100 percent of the spiritual life,” the Buddha said. So you are certain to make spiritual friends through your commitment. The sangha by its existence and actions will model the concrete reality of spiritual love.
Daily Life Meditation
Following the Buddha’s own meditation style, between our formal meeting times we will go about our daily lives, activities and relationships completely as usual. So, between the online sessions we are free to do errands, answer emails, chat with friends, cook a meal or go for a walk.
Dharma Talks, Meditations and Check-Ins
Each of the four weekend retreats will run from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon and will consist of a guided meditation, dharma talk and Q&A on Friday and Saturday evenings; and alternating practice sessions, free daily life time, and check-ins throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday.
TO SUM IT UP …
Consider these inspiring words from Santikaro, an American-born former Thai forest monk, and close aide and translator of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, a prominent 20th-century Thai monk and philosopher who taught anapanasati to several generations:
“Mindfulness with breathing is an exquisite tool for exploring life through subtle awareness and an active investigation of breathing and of life. We discover the fundamental reality of human existence and learn to live our lives in harmony with that reality.”
If that—and all the above— sound good, I hope to see you on one or more of the “Breath of Love” retreats.
With love 🙏
If you still have questions, feel free to email me at email@example.com, I’ll be happy to reply.
In “anapanasati” or mindfulness of breathing as taught by the Buddha, we travel through subtle layers of consciousness, from suffering to freedom and infinite warm-hearted love.
The full 2022 retreat schedule:
March 25-27: “Relaxing the Body With Love”
June 24-26: “Breathing Feelings With Love”
Sept. 16-18: “Breathing the Mind With Love”
Nov. 11-13: “Breathing Reality As Love”
Doug McGill founded and for 16 years was the Guiding Teacher of the Rochester Meditation Center in Rochester, MN. In 2019, he edited “Relax and Be Aware: Mindfulness Meditations for Clarity, Confidence and Wisdom,” by Sayadaw U Tejaniya. Since 2013 he has published “The Daily Tejaniya,” a daily email practice reminder from Sayadaw. Since 2013 he has taught a six-week “Introduction to Awareness Meditation” class several times a year. He learned insight meditation from Steve Armstrong, Kamala Masters and S.N. Goenka; and non-dual self enquiry from Rupert Spira. From 1979 to 1999 he was a reporter at The New York Times and a bureau chief for Bloomberg News based in Tokyo, London and Hong Kong. He currently writes a newsletter, “Spirituality for Citizens,” which looks at the day’s headline social issues through the lens of the Dhamma.
Visit Doug’s website at www.dougmcgill.com
Read testimonials from Doug’s meditation classes over the years
The following books are highly recommended – but not required – as excellent supports for the “Breath of Love” retreat series:
“Breathe, You Are Alive! Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing,” by Thich Nhat Hanh
“Mindfulness With Breathing: A Manual for Serious Beginners,” by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, translated by Santikaro Bhikkhu.