Resident teacher Susan Weir
Susan has been leading sittings and teaching insight meditation classes since 1999.
Spring 2017 retreat
Saturday morning graduated practice instructions: Level 1 - container consciousness
Saturday morning graduated practice instructions: Level 2 - what's pulling the strings
Saturday morning graduated practice instructions: Level 3 - watching consciousness itself
On being headless - talk The intro talk to the Douglas Harding "On Being Headless" exercises.
On being headless -exercises - Here are the three exercises done: the Douglas Harding "On Being Headless" exercises, followed by an exploration of the lack of boundaries around the self, ending up with pointing out instructions.
Saturday night talk: - manipulating the content of our experience
Paul Smit's Advaita Cowboy - YouTube video
Sunday morning talk - presence with pain as the wise response to life
Closing poem: Cast all your votes for Dancing
Spring 2017: Looking at the Suttas
Spring 2016 retreat
Friday night talk
Moving from doing to being, guided instructions into concentration practice on the breath.
- Saturday night talk: The Heart Sutra
Winter 2016: Continuing class
Fall 2015: Continuing class
Sept. 2015: Non- random acts of Kindness and Generosity
Spring 2015 retreat
Winter 2015 Continuing Class: becoming present with discomfort
Fall 2014 Continuing Class: practice tune up, three marks of existence
Spring 2014 retreat
Spring 2014 Retreat talk part A.
NOTE: I was part way through the talk when realizing that the recorder was not switched on. Part A was re-recorded at home a few days later to the best of memory.
Summer 2014 Continuing workshop: Right Concentration
Talk 1: What is Right Concentration
There was a rich class discussion before this talk, and the class agreement is to not record any discussion. Please keep in mind as you listen that you are hearing the tail end of a larger conversation.
Winter 2014 Continuing Class: 8 Fold Path: Right view, right intention, right effort, right mindfulness
Fall 2013 Continuing Class
Seeing Mind and Stories as a way to Nondual Awareness
In 2007, we developed new retreat format, a practice intensive, which explores the possibility of deep retreat experience without leaving our daily lives.
We've often pondered how we could better bring the deep mindfulness of a retreat experience more fully into our daily lives. Is it possible to cultivate the clarity and presence of sustained retreat meditation without leaving our families, homes, and work?
Some years ago, a student mentioned she was doing a 12 step program called “90 meetings in 90 days”, where she committed to an AA meeting every day for 90 days. It was inspiring. I asked her how she was managing all those meetings with her full time job. She replied that as odd as it sounded, as she oriented everything in her life around making that daily meeting, she felt like she had more time than before. I turned to my husband, also a meditation teacher, and said, “What about 90 sittings in 90 days? Could we get a group together to make a commitment to sit every day for 90 days?” He smiled and said, “Let’s start with a week.” Thus the practice intensive began.
Traditionally held the first full week of January, the core of the intensive is a group sitting every morning at 6:30 at the meditation center. For a group to make this effort creates an energy container participants report feeling held in as they move through the day. We hear repeatedly how the presence of the group is felt by participants throughout the week, a feeling of shared support across the hours and miles of the day that is palpable and mystical.
At the end of the sitting, instructions are given for a specific mindful, dharma based exercise to do for that day. Often these involve carrying a small notebook around and writing down observations, or carrying a small timer that goes off at regular intervals, where the meditator stops what they are engaged in and follows the day’s exercise.
A different theme is chosen each year. These have ranged from finding the contented heart, looking at difficult arisings, cultivating without attachment, practicing presence. Each day’s exercise builds on the previous day, the focus is to bring the dharma into direct experience. After the sitting, a few minutes are given to explaining the day’s exercise. It is also printed out in a handout form at the door, and sent out daily in email form - as we now have people participating who are not local.
Another aspect of intensive is the practice partner. Each person chooses a partner, often someone they do not know well. Daily, the partners have a short phone interaction to support each other in practice. Sharing the exercise of the day, both speak from direct experience, and listen from the heart without cross talk. As this is for mindfulness support, not conversation, we have found it helpful to develop cards we hand out the first night detailing exact guidelines to keep the interaction focused and on track.
On Sunday night before the first early sitting begins, there is a two hour organizational meeting. We introduce ourselves, the flow of the week, and a short talk on the dharma theme we will be exploring. Besides the early morning sitting, people agree to sit in the evening on their own. Practice partners are chosen, phone numbers exchanged, and partner guideline cards are passed out. We model the daily partner interchange, then have partners practice the daily interchange with each other.
Suggestions are made to watch our speech, keep talking to a minimum during the day, and to eat mindfully. Then we enter into noble silence, from that point on entering and leaving the practice center in silence.
As the week progresses, something powerful is set into motion. Perhaps it relates to Goethe’s quote that when we make a firm commitment to something, heaven and earth will move on our behalf. The days take a different rhythm, work and parenting become a focus for mindfulness and inner quiet takes hold. The retreat experience comes home.
The intensive ends Saturday morning. A short sit, then silence is broken. Small group conversation allows for insights and appreciations to be shared. A final dharma talk ties together the exercises for the week and helps fit the week’s experiences into deeper understanding of the dharma. The feedback tells us we’re on to something good – that it is possible to have deep insight and dharma realization using life itself as a vehicle for our practice. We hear about the intensive all year. Amazingly, even as it is inconvenient and challenging, most come back year after year. For myself, it has become my favorite retreat.
Practice Intensive 2015: Moving from suffering to cessation
Practice Intensive 2014: the Brahma Viharas
Practice Intensive 2013: Feelings and their pull