Mindfulness on the Mountain: “The Posture of Meditation” Onsite Weekend Retreat
(All Event Times Listed are Central Standard Time)
Sewanee, TN 37375
Mindfulness on the Mountain: “The Posture of Meditation”
May 6-8, 2022 Onsite Weekend Retreat
Taught by Gordon Peerman and Ryan Black
Come join us for a weekend of Mindfulness on the Mountain. This will be a Silent Retreat. There will be both guided and silent meditations, with morning, afternoon and evening teaching by Gordon Peerman. Ryan Black of Nashville Tai Chi and Wellness will lead the mindful movement of Qigong, integrated throughout the retreat. Meals will be silent (except for the opening Friday dinner). Both beginners and those with experience in mindfulness practice are most welcome.
What has come to be known as “mindfulness” in the West most typically comes in two “flavors.” The first flavor is Focused Attention, which is a concentration practice (or samadhi in Buddhist teaching). The object of attention may be breathing, or sounds, or the world of bodily sensations, or a mantra, or a visual image.
The second flavor of mindfulness as it has come to the West is Open Monitoring, or choiceless awareness (known as vipassana in Buddhist teaching). Choiceless awareness is less focused and more “open” than Focused Attention. Choiceless awareness can be likened to someone sitting on the bank of the stream of consciousness, witnessing what is passing by, without focusing on any particular content.
Focused Attention and Choiceless Awareness are two flavors of what is known as “Deliberate Mindfulness.”
There is a third, and less commonly known flavor of mindfulness, known as Effortless Mindfulness (or rigpa in Tibetan Buddhism), which is the awareness of awareness itself, or Non-Dual Awareness. Here the focus of attention is not on contents in consciousness, but on consciousness itself. In this case, the practitioner turns and shifts awareness back on itself. Because awareness is not striving, not trying to get anywhere, not trying to make anything happen, not resisting anything, awareness “recognizes” itself as “effortless.” Effortless Mindfulness is a recognition of what is already here, a “flashing on of the awakened heart-mind.”
The platform for both Deliberate Mindfulness and Effortless Mindfulness is an embodied posture which is aligned, relaxed, and resilient. We will be using Will Johnson’s The Posture of Meditation: A Practical Manual for Practitioners of All Traditions as background for this retreat. While reading this book beforehand is not required, we believe reading it will enhance your experience of the retreat.
Gordon Peerman is an Episcopal priest, psychotherapist, and mindfulness meditation teacher. He is the author of Blessed Relief: What Christians Can Learn from Buddhists about Suffering, and his most recent book, The Body Knows the Way: Coming Home through the Dark Night. He teaches at One River Wisdom School Nashville, an interspiritual gathering, and leads retreats and workshops on the intersection of contemplative practice and psychological growth. With his late wife Kathy Woods, he taught mindfulness practices at Vanderbilt’s Osher Center for Integrative Health, and to Vanderbilt law and medical students. At Vanderbilt Divinity School, he taught courses in Buddhist-Christian Dialogue and pastoral psychotherapy.
Ryan Black learned Tai Chi from Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming of YMAA, after years studying Taekwondo, Wing Chun Kung Fu, and Kendo. Ryan is a strong believer in the health benefits of Tai Chi for people of any age, but he recognizes that as we get older, it becomes an especially powerful practice. He is also interested in mindfulness and is currently a co-teacher at the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program at Vanderbilt’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, and a regular facilitator for Mindful Mondays. He incorporates mindfulness in his teaching of tai chi as well.
This event is fully booked.