Mindfulness on the Mountain: Gladdening the Mind
(All Event Times Listed are Central Standard Time)
Sewanee, TN 37375
In Person Retreat, $375 St. Mary’s Hall & $275 Commuter Packages available, includes meals, program fees & materials.
(Anna House packages sold out)
Gladdening the Mind: Meditating in the Divine Abodes
Mindfulness on the Mountain, with Gordon Peerman and Ryan Black
When you wake up in the morning, after you get going with your day, what is the quality of your mind? How do you look upon the world, and upon your life? What qualities of mind do you bring to your experience? Do you find yourself bringing curiosity to your day, or is your mind more characterized by judging and griping? Are you weary or wary or angry or sad? How do you relate to these feelings? Are your eyes warm and soft, or suspicious and hard, or resigned and maybe even despairing? Is your mind a good friend to you? Do you like hanging out with yourself? How do you relate to dear ones, to difficult persons, to adversaries, to strangers, to people in distress?
In the Buddha’s teaching of mindfulness meditation, there are four qualities of mind he called the Divine Abodes, or brahmaviharas. Tibetans call these divine abodes “the four immeasurables.” These four are Lovingkindness, Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity. These qualities of mind can be cultivated through meditative practice. We can learn to “incline the mind” toward these qualities, and these divine abodes are good neighborhoods to hang out in.
Someone once asked the Dalai Lama, “What is your religion?” He replied, “My religion is kindness.”
Our lives, the Buddha taught, will be characterized by both pleasure and pain, gain and loss, praise and blame, fame and disrepute. This was his own experience, and he observed that these “eight vicissitudes” or “worldly winds” are just part of the package of being human, along with sickness, aging, and the fact of dying. Meditative practice can really make a difference in how we relate to these to these inevitable changes in our lives.
Finally, because it is at the core of the teaching of Jesus, and because grievance and resentment toward others, oneself, and life can block the experience of kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity, we will to add Forgiveness as a “fifth brahmavihara,” as do some contemporary mindfulness meditation teachers.
Ryan Black will be weaving Qigong practice throughout the retreat, giving us embodied experiences of gladdening the mind.
The Rev. Gordon Peerman, DMin, is an Episcopal priest and leader of One River Wisdom School Nashville, a mindfulness meditation group. He has been engaged with contemplative practices, including Centering Prayer, mindfulness meditation, yoga, and Qi Gong since 1975. He has taught Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at Vanderbilt and St. Thomas Health Services, as well as classes in Buddhist Christian Dialogue at Vanderbilt Divinity Schools. He is the author of Blessed Relief: What Christians Can Lear from Buddhists about Suffering, and The Body Knows the Way. He lives in Nashville, TN.