Mindfulness on the Mountain Onsite Weekend Retreat | May 5-7, 2023

May 5th, 2023 @ 5:00 PM
- May 7th, 2023 @ 11:00 AM

(All Event Times Listed are Central Standard Time)
St. Mary’s Sewanee
770 St. Mary's Lane
Sewanee, TN 37375

Meditation, Movement, and Devotion

Mindfulness on the Mountain

taught by Gordon Peerman, Ryan Black, and Kenneth Robinson

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. Kenneth Robinson will lead us in the devotional chanting of Kirtan. 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 foundational 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 whatever contents are 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.”

In the course of the weekend, we’ll make use of both Deliberate Mindfulness and Effortless Mindfulness. The sitting meditation of calm abiding in Breath Awareness, the mindful moving meditation of Qigong, and the devotional chanting of Kirtan set the stage for the heart to open into Effortless Mindfulness. Together they provide a platform for Awareness to rest in its spacious and benevolent essential nature.


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 leads retreats and workshops on the intersection of contemplative practice and psychological growth. With his late wife Kathy Woods, Gordon 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.

Kenneth Robinson is a psychotherapist in private practice in Nashville, Tennessee.  His practice brings together art, psychology, and spirituality as a means to facilitate emotional integration following trauma.  Employing dance and movement, body and breath awareness, and “healing theatre,” Kenneth guides others beyond the shattering consequences of trauma to a sense of wholeness and connection.  He considers his work a form of performance art, and his approach is best expressed in his quote: “Freedom is not a luxury; Ecstasy is not an indulgence.” Kenneth is a poet and musician and a founding member of Chant Ram, a musical group that leads kirtan, a form of meditation and worship that allows participants to move to open-hearted awareness and self-expression through sound.

Deposit & Cancellation Policies
St. Mary’s Sewanee-Sponsored Programs and Retreats:
A $100 non-transferable deposit is required to confirm your registration for an event. It can be fully refunded if cancelled within three (3) days of booking. The remaining balance is due seven (7) days prior to arrival. The credit card on file will automatically be charged the balance unless other payment arrangements have been made.
There are no refunds within 7 days of the event date and payments are non-transferrable.
If you are registering online, payment in full is required at the time of registration. If you prefer to only make the $100 deposit, please register by calling us at 931-598-5342

Bookings are closed for this event.