with Doug McGill
Fee: $125 (11 online sessions)
Do you ever feel sideways to reality?
Ouch, that hurts!
It’s the Buddha’s definition of suffering: being out of alignment with life, with “the way things are.”
A really painful spot.
But it’s also great news because the Buddha’s definition of suffering precisely defines the cure: just get yourself aligned with life.
On this very special retreat, we’ll learn how utterly simple and powerfully transformative this one spiritual practice is.
“Practice should be very simple,” says Ajahn Sumedho, the Thai Forest Tradition monk whose teachings will guide us on this retreat. “The simpler we are the more clear, more profound, and more meaningful everything is.”
In every moment just notice, “It’s like this.”
Observing the present moment in this way is like looking into a single atom and discovering pure energy, pure emptiness, and pure reality there.
With this one inner move, Ajahn Sumedho says, “we shift from the highly emotive, painful, personal position, to awareness knowing, ‘It’s like this.’
“It’s a sense of relaxing, opening and receiving. You feel relaxed and home here.
“All the problems of being a separate person, a personality, drop away. As you explore and investigate this, you will find the way out of suffering.”
So this—just this—is the one practice we’ll explore deeply on this retreat.
A wisdom practice that takes one timeless second.
And serves inner freedom for a whole lifetime.
Along with Ajahn Sumedho, we’ll draw also from the teachings of Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Sumedho’s own teacher; and, as always, from Sayadaw U Tejaniya, the Burmese monk and meditation teacher of daily life meditation.
In dharma talks, guided meditations, handouts, and Q&A’s we will explore:
• The fantastic simplicity of practice
• The Buddha’s basic wisdom (panna) teachings
• How understanding brings true happiness
• How to recognize wisdom in our experience
• How to let wisdom guide our life
The retreat has two very special features:
The Foundations of Awareness
Our practice will follow the Buddha’s meditation method, the Four Foundations of Awareness, proceeding from awareness of the body, through awareness of feelings, awareness of thoughts, and awareness of habits of thought. In this way, we go deeper and deeper in awareness, down to the root level of mind where suffering begins and where we extinguish it by simply knowing, “it’s like this.”
We’ll meet as a sacred sangha of spiritual friends, or “kalyana mitta,” on this retreat. As spiritual friends we offer our highest selves to others, as much as we receive that precious gift from them. As spiritual friends we offer our patience and loving interest in reality as a powerful support to the practice of “it’s like this.”
For more information on “The Liberating Wisdom of ‘It’s Like This’” retreat, June 25-27, 2021, feel free to email me at email@example.com, I’ll be happy to reply.
Retreat Schedule (Central Standard Time)
On this retreat we’ll do everything we normally do on the weekend—wake up, have breakfast, walk the dog, clean the garage and everything else.
Except on this special weekend, we’ll meet online several times each day to learn how to maintain continuous mindful awareness and thus support the arising of a calm and stable mind, love and wisdom in our lives.
The retreat’s daily schedule alternates between “Online” sessions consisting of a short group meditation and instructions for each new meditation, and “Practice” periods for applying that new meditation in our daily life:
7 to 8:30 PM: Welcome to the Retreat!—A Dharma Talk on “The Liberating Wisdom of ‘It’s Like This’”
9 AM: “Awareness of the Body” (First Foundation of Awareness)
11:30 AM: Check-In
1:30 PM: Check-In
3:30 PM: “Awareness of Feelings” (Second Foundation of Awareness)
7 PM: A Dharma Talk on “Relaxing in Every Moment of Daily Life”
9 AM: “Awareness of the Mind” (Third Foundation of Awareness)
11:30 AM: Check-In
1:30 PM: “Awareness of Dhammas” (Fourth Foundation of Awareness)—Guided Meditation: “My Body is Within Me”
3:30 PM: Staying With It—Guided Meditation: “Be Everything”
4:30 to 5:30 PM: Group Sit and Closing Circle
Recommended readings (optional):
“Relax and Be Aware: Mindfulness Meditations for Clarity, Confidence and Wisdom,” by Sayadaw U Tejaniya. A concise guide to cultivating continuous awareness in daily life, edited by Doug McGill, the retreat leader.
“Being Aware of Being Aware,” by Rupert Spira. The best book on the most indispensable skill, by the British non-dual writer and teacher.
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.
Read testimonials from Doug’s meditation classes over the years.
A sliding fee scale is available, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.