Why Cultivate Unshakeable Stability?
If there is a dimension of reality that is absolutely still, unmoving, the ground of being from which all existence flows, then what kind of mind would one need to be able to dwell in its presence?
AND HOW WOULD THAT HELP OUR WORLD?
After more than twenty years of study, practice, and preparation, I am entering a retreat in silence, solitude, and thousands of hours of meditation to try and find out.
Why Long Retreat?
Since 2004, I have spent three to eight weeks every year in solitary retreat, focusing on different aspects of the spiritual path in both Christian and Buddhist forms.
While the experience of regular short retreats can be profound and life-changing, I have seen how difficult it is to sustain the necessary subtlety – during an active daily life – in practices that were designed to evolve over the course of months and years in a stable retreat environment.
In August 2017, I will enter a retreat hermitage in the high desert of the Eastern Sierras, in California, to begin a series of strict retreats: three months, six months, and so on, building up stamina, stability, fundamental balance, and inner silence. I will continually discern the sequence of practices and my long-term plan under the close guidance of several experienced teachers.
The key to meaningful retreat practice is to be able to focus entirely on meditation, until it is natural to sit unmoving for many hours at a time. This requires optimization of physical, spiritual, intellectual, and emotional energy, in order to offer greater and greater freedom to access the deeper layers of the mind. But for that to take place, it is essential that there be no other demands pulling one's mind away from the practice.
During this time I will be without income. Therefore, if you feel drawn to it, I am asking your help to support my basic needs in retreat. I hope to create a Circle of Support, in which many people, each offering a modest amount each month, will become directly involved in the purpose and enactment of my practice in solitude. Each of you will be included in my heart and daily prayers, as part of our united efforts to benefit our world in so many different ways.
Please see the Circle of Support page for details on how to make a regular monthly donation that will go directly to cover my personal expenses while in retreat.
Though I will not be actively working on any projects during periods of strict retreat, I do expect to take two to three months each year to emerge from my hermitage, and to share what I have learned – both as a scholar and as a practitioner – by leading short intensive courses and longer group retreats. If you are interested in hosting such events within your own communities, whether Christian or Buddhist, please write to me from the Contact page.