Retreat Talks


Fall 2021 Retreat Talks

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October 1, 2021

10-1-21.m4a

October 2, 2021

10-2-21talk.m4a

October 3, 2021

10-3-21.m4a

October 4, 2021

10-4-21.m4a

RETREAT NOTES

(unedited)

Set intention, set compass


Vulnerability and comparison


Retreat is an opportunity to pause. To bring space. To allow a gap in the current storyline


Natural/universal intelligence and compassion


Useful to recognize and become interbeing with awareness, no-thing-ness, timeless, changeless, formless.


We fear that the inner voyage of discovery will lead us to some dreadful, awful truth. In its programming of our minds, this is one of the barriers that the world has set up to prevent us from finding out the real truth. There is one thing the world does not want us to find out and that is the truth about ourselves. Why? Because then we will become free. We can no longer be controlled, manipulated, exploited, drained, enslaved, imprisoned, vilified, or disempowered. Therefore, the inner voyage of discovery is cloaked over with an aura of mystery and foreboding. What is the real truth about this voyage? The real truth is that, as we go within and discards one illusion after another, one falsehood after another, one negative program after another, it gets lighter and lighter. The awareness of the presence of love becomes stronger and stronger. We will feel lighter and lighter. Life becomes progressively more effortless.——hawkins


There is no greater power than the power of Love. There is no greater happiness than the happiness experienced AS Love. We experience Love when the individual ego end and hearts unite as one. Love is the ultimate realization of seeing others as ourselves or as God. It is time for us to build this bridge of Love and friendship. In this way may we be able to realize a world-family of unbounded love——AMMA




Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow—

even today I am still arriving.

Look deeply: every second I am arriving

to be a bud on a Spring branch,

to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,

learning to sing in my new nest,

to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,

to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,

to fear and to hope.

The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death

of all that is alive.

I am a mayfly metamorphosing

on the surface of the river.

And I am the bird

that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

I am a frog swimming happily

in the clear water of a pond.

And I am the grass-snake

that silently feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,

my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.

And I am the arms merchant,

selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl,

refugee on a small boat,

who throws herself into the ocean

after being raped by a sea pirate.

And I am also the pirate,

my heart not yet capable

of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo,

with plenty of power in my hands.

And I am the man who has to pay

his “debt of blood” to my people

dying slowly in a forced-labor camp.

My joy is like Spring, so warm

it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.

My pain is like a river of tears,

so vast it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,

so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once,

so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,

so I can wake up

and the door of my heart

could be left open,

the door of compassion.—Tich Naht Hahn


What the orientation of retreat is. its a calling of the heart. Its heartfelt rather than technique driven. You lend or give the gift of your attention to something other than tasks, doings, programs, techniques, strategies. You have to be willing to let go of the reins long enough to listen to the deeper layers of your being.


Experience occurs. Its the waves on top of the water. Sometimes Whipped into a frenzy, or calm or somewhere in between . Its very changeable. Characterized by change. As we allow these changes and we settle in and just watch. We let experience just be. In mediation we reorient to the constant in the midst of all the change. This constant is not an experience so its challenging at first. Because it can’t be found in the usual way. How do you experience something that is changeless? But you have an intuitive regard. You sense that something besides the stream of changing experience is here. The common denominator in every experience is me or I. But what is this constant this thing that experience seems to happen to. what never ages. So you start to see that something remains, you curious about what is remaining rather than what is changing. You become engaged with the what am I? What is this? What is here? And you begin to realize that you can’t find “me”. You can’t objectify it.

So what’s here? Simple, obvious awareness. The awareness that gives rise to, sees, and experiences all the events. The clear, open, spacious, awareingness. It can’t be understood or known or analyzed like an object or phenomena. It IS. even your attention is seen. You know when attention has wandered or moved. What knows this? Awareness is the clear space in which phenomena are perceived. It lights up attention. It lights up knowledge. It lights up analysis.It lights up confusion. it lights up clarity. Its not experience. it lights up experience. It lights the world. So we lend our attention to what isn’t changing. Its all-ways here. Its prerequisite. And its the nature of our being. So no matter what the experience happens to be it is perfect for recognizing awareness. Because awareness is inherent no matter what the experience is. busy mind. Restless body. Grief. Sorrow. Bliss. Whatever. So we aren’t fixing ourselves. We aren’t unworthy or not fit in any way. We can’t earn who we are. Any relative experience will do. Self improvement is a very important task. But at retreat we are lending our curiosity to something other than a psychological process. So realize who you are and then lend that realization to the psychological process. And then one is operating from and AS love. Rather than from unworthiness and lack.

If you say “the witness” it implies a noun an object. But the truth is that there is witnessing. Completely, inherently impersonal. No-one owns it. We have a hard time conceiving of the truth that witnessing simply IS. it wakes up to itself. There is no one aware of awareness. No one has awareness. No one brings awareness to a moment. No one moves awareness. Awareness doesn’t become. No one controls awareness. It IS. all-ways and already. You rest in this. Why am I searching for what is always here, what I always am. When I rest in this truth, this acknowledgement. And it starts getting very quiet and very bright, very present. Awareness isn’t a groovy concept. As you rest in this you realize the emptiness, the non-object, can’t find or lose it. You realize that nobody is doing awareness. Well who is aware of awareness? That is an assumption that something or someone possesses awareness. The only thing aware of awareness IS awareness. What is there in the presence of all the questioning. You aren’t the one that is aware. You simply are awareness. That realization changes everything. But then the danger is chasing after the realization and wanting to happen over and over. And a person will think they have lost something. “life seems so ordinary”. Yes, yes it does. You can’t lose the always and already. So the direct recognition of context gets you in the door. It is the first essential shift. The beginning of disidentification of thought stream and narrative. It evolves into this bright, formless, open , aware , nothingness. And if one stays with it. Keeps letting go of experience and stays curious and questioning. Another deeper movement begins to happen. The new identity that has been formed around being awareness begins to be relinquished. And as this is recognized and this other movement begins to be very curious about the phenomenal world. The witnessing collapses into that which is witnessed. And the heart begins to flower. And Unity unfolds. Everything is seen as everything. All is nothing and all is everything. The one sees the one. Collapses the subject/object relationship. ISNESS IS. Life is experiencing life. Wholeness is experiencing wholeness. New perceptual world. And this is a time of fire. All the little separate bits come back to be forged in the fire of the universal heart into their originality. Returned. All the personal conditioning, all the ideas of separateness come into consciousness. And then the real freedom begins. Am I free enough to embody uncaused Love, joy and peace? Can you live the realization of nothing as everything? You perceive that something and nothing are exactly the same. Its beyond this idea of oneness. Its not one and its not two. Its whole. Holiness..


and then the meditation was bringing attention to awareness. giving it like a gift. thoughts and words are by nature agents of separation. names are for distinctions. they help us discern and discriminate the whole into its parts.


opposites arise together. they are part of a cohesive whole. without opposites we don’t have any references.





Endeavoring to discover the Source of Reality, one’s fundamental ground, through questioning every thought and belief is a radical act of love.


We come to retreat and even if we just get a glimmer, a brief sense of the essential Silent source, the Peace that passeth understanding

We become more peaceful naturally. Eventually the “I” returns all the way back to Source. And the domain of consciousness where “all is eternally well” is experienced directly. But this realization is coupled with a natural open hearted , profound caring about everything. Deep, spontaneous compassion from profound at-peace-ness.




“Anchor the eternity of love in your own soul and embed this planet with goodness. Lean toward the whispers of your own heart, discover the universal truth, and follow its dictates. Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge. Release all bitterness. Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won. Choose confrontation wisely, but when it is your time don’t be afraid to stand up, speak up, and speak out against injustice. And if you follow your truth down the road to peace and the affirmation of love, if you shine like a beacon for all to see, then the poetry of all the great dreamers and philosophers is yours to manifest in a nation, a world community, and a Beloved Community that is finally at peace with itself”—John Lewis




Presence is I AM. Its something we can all agree on. And is completely basic and fundamental. Here I am. I Am Here.




“One must be willing to stand alone—in the unknown, with no reference to the known or the past or any of one’s conditioning. One must stand where no one has stood before in complete nakedness, innocence, and humility. One must stand in that dark light, in that groundless embrace, unwavering and true to the Reality beyond all self, not just for a moment but forever without end; for then that which is sacred, undivided, and whole is born within consciousness and begins to express itself. That expression is the salvation of the whole. It is the activity of an inward revolution brought down into time and space.”

——Adyashanti


What is most useful to understand and then tell the truth about is that there are levels of consciousness. Reality is multi dimensional. We are living in a world where we have experience all the way from needing to take the life of something in order to stay alive, to simultaneously having the function of self awareness and the ability to realize GOD.


Levels of consciousness represent a map of spiritual development. Our lives, perspectives, bodies, reflections reorient around our current level of consciousness as we transcend the layers.

At some levels of consciousness “choice” is very operative. Its not essentially true but its useful. Choosing to come to silent retreat. Follow one’s inner calling etc. Choosing to behave according to our values our aspirations. This is why its so important to be sincere and tell the truth about one’s experience. And not to just adopt non-dual language as yet another veil over the truth.


At other levels of consciousness, one might say more developed, more mature, not better, (like trying to teach someone who is two independent living skills, its not appropriate), choice is no longer seen as fundamentally true and actually is not really experienced anymore. The Love that animates the entire Universe shines through the human form, the human expression AS speaking ness, hearingness, crankiness, walkingness talking ness joyfulness etc. There needs to be a “me” in order for choice to be perceived. The personality is what it is. That’s why Saints have moments of anger, crankiness, loneliness, etc etc. Everythingness happens every moment AS Everythingness. It happens of its own accord, of/from/through and AS the Power of God. There is no experiencer taking owning anything.


As people who are called to a spiritual life, a life beyond ego, we are concerned with how to get over the ego, the guilt the shame the despair the depression the trauma that is the experience of life through the eyes of the ego. We want to find the level of consciousness of Love. The higher frequency of Love. Love is dawning. Its becoming conscious in the light of human experience as it unfolds in the non-linear domain. Uncaused. Love without object. Love for the sake of Love rather than agenda and expectation.

At this level we fall in love with the world and everybody. And Love continues to keep permeating the layers. And eventually the realization that the world exists only through/from and AS the Love of God .. This realization is transfiguring. Nervous system . Inner life is serenity, ecstasy, joy although your emotions still play out as emotion-ness. They are not identified with as one’s story, or self and therefore they don’t stick around for long. You can drop something at anytime. The story doesn’t have to be maintained because its not who you are.


At some point there is a crossover from “I” as limitation and form to “I’as the field of consciousness itself. I is thyself! The sense of “I” is coming out of an infinite, eternal Ground of Being that as it manifests as us and it comes through us we personalize with a me-ness that you make friends with, feed and water and pet it. But don’t mistake it for who you are.


There is a lot of mixing of levels going on. Where people are getting a taste of Love and mistaking it for passivity in the physical/newtonian realm. Nick harvesting elk. Sanctification of the human realm. Making Peace with the human condition



Thyself—- That which everything flows from. That which animates. That which sees itself reflected in all of existence.




Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,

there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,

the world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’

doesn’t make any sense.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep You must ask for what you really want. Don’t go back to sleep. People are going back and forth across the door sill Where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open. Don’t go back to sleep. ——-RUMI

Enlightened Relativity

Begins with cultivating and retraining the attention to turn towards something other than the intellect and though stream and belief in “me”. We turn the attention to the deeper aspects of our Being. We use the body to orient. And attend to the vital sense of Presence, the I AM. Somewhere below the neck. Cultivating an attitude of gentle attentiveness. Listening without agenda or expectation.

Stay sincere, true and authentic. Don’t give over our personal authority and responsibility. Listen to teachers that ignite your fire and associate with teachers that are living AS the enlightened consciousness. But anchor yourself in the Reality the Truth that You are what you seek, your heart is in the heart of the Mother, you are even now emerging from/through and AS SOURCE. Speak and move from your direct experience as much as possible. Step back, be still, question the thoughts, evoke the source, evoke the heart of the matter. Nurture faith, gratitude, reverence, willingness, surrender. Be weavers of the magic of humility and apology. Ho’o’pono o’pono.

Emptiness/interdependentness feels like radiance in the heart and Presence in the body.

Ultimately, SHE is to be realized as the essence of limitless Consciousness, infinite, indivisible, all-pervading and Absolute. Pure and changeless, transcendent and genderless, permeating everything with limitless Consciousness.