The Virtual Vihara Winter Retreat
21 November-20 February
This is a different animal from my other online Order retreats this year: longer, more intimate, more intensive, and more individual. It is for those wishing to deepen their practice alone, in connection with a small stable community.
I will be on retreat for this whole period and I invite you to join me. Get on with your practice as you wish; use the retreat in whatever way you find helpful. I can offer practice reviews and personal support to the best of my ability.
Retreats need space to work well. You will probably be at home, with a few things you have to do, and that’s OK. But please do as little as possible. Just for the retreat, change your routines and limit extraneous events to a minimum. Communicate this to anyone you live with or interact with. The retreat will support you taking on a substantial period of reduced input. More simplicity will free up space and allow your experience to deepen. Otherwise—this won’t work.
Programme: Meditation sessions 10am-12pm, 4pm-6pm, and 8pm-9pm. Do an early morning sit as well. All sessions are optional: it’s understood that if you don’t attend the collective practice, you’re practising alone in some way. If you are practising mostly in solitude that is totally fine, so long as you stay in touch via at least a weekly email.
The mid morning and afternoon sessions consist of 2 x 45 minute practices with a half hour break for walking (or other in-between) practice. Use those sessions how you like, and break up the time how you like. The evenings will be one hour long with a ritual. Generally meditations will be un-led, with an ending bell.
Teaching: There will be no collective teaching programme set in advance. During the first of the double sessions (morning or afternoon) I may sometimes give short talks or lead meditations. If that happens it will be spontaneous, arising from the needs of retreatants.
I will be offering personal reviews to all retreatants. I should be able to see everyone at least weekly. At times there might be a need for more frequent check-ins. It will be possible for me to work with small groups (for example longer term retreatants or people with special practice interests) if appropriate.
If you would like to join, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the dates you’d like. I look forward to helping create an effective practice space for you.