My Dear Friends,
I want to welcome you wholeheartedly to Open Gate Sangha's upcoming silent retreat. Retreat is my favorite forum to teach in because it is an opportunity to focus all of our time and attention in a sustained and devoted way toward responding, with the full measure of our hearts and minds, to the great spiritual instinct flowing within us all. This shared commitment makes retreat a powerful transformative environment.
Although the spiritual instinct is experienced in its own unique way within each one of us, it originates in the very ground of our universal being, and is an instinct to awaken to the timeless and measureless reality of our true nature─a true nature that encompasses the paradoxical qualities of transcendence, wholeness, and in-formed embodiment. This instinct to awaken to, and become conscious of, our true nature is as much a part of us as breathing. For our true nature seeks not only its full realization but also its in-formed and embodied expression in time and space.
I encourage you to come to retreat with as much of an open mind and open heart as you can. Whether this is your first retreat with me (welcome) or your latest among many, please show up ready and committed, and with a beginner's mind free of expectations or preconceived ideas of what this retreat has in store for you. Over two decades of teaching retreats has taught me that each and every retreat is unique and has a mysterious life of its own. So let us all come to retreat willing to live on the edge of discovery, and allow the inherent instinct of awakening to reveal all that it desires within us.
Retreat is also a commitment to the structure and container of retreat, as well as to the guidelines that help each of us to silently support one another and maintain the integrity of the retreat environment. This shared regard and respect for the dignity of one another and for the retreat structure is an important part of being on retreat, because we are all here both to respond to our own spiritual calling, as well as to silently support one another with great charity, courtesy, and kindness.
And finally, retreat is a time to retreat from the endless ways that we distract ourselves from the deeper and wider horizons of ourselves and of life. Many of our technological devices function as much as implements of distraction and addiction as they do to helping us navigate the practicalities of daily living. So please enter into retreat fully committed to being here, and tie up whatever loose ends you can so that you can give the full measure of your devotion to what spiritual retreat truly is and to why we gather together in sacred community.
I look forward to sharing this wonderful and rare opportunity to be with you on retreat, in mutual love and devotion to the truth at the heart of being. May all beings everywhere benefit.
With Great Love,