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Retreat “in” daily life

JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matterNetherlands Veteran

I came across this on another forum. It’s an online guided experience which lasts two months during which there are weekly spiritual teachings and questions can be asked by email, and you get an exercise to do during that week. You’re also expected to use your personal time as if it is retreat time... so you can still work, live and eat with your family, as long as you dedicate the rest of your personal time to the retreat. It’s done by Adyashanti.

I include one of the teachings below...

Opening to Emptiness

The notion of emptiness is not theoretical. It’s a combination of a depth of experience and a way or view of seeing life and self. It’s a perspective-less perspective.

Opening to emptiness is associated with death of the ego. It’s the relinquishing of the experience of separateness—that’s what gains us access to the ground of being (emptiness).

The view of “What do I do with a given experience?” can be let go of; you let go of that whole way of relating to that experience of being. We are not going to do anything with experience.

When you stop doing, you will notice a tremendous silence. You don’t have to strive for it or maintain it. It’s there when you let go of trying to change the experience of the moment.

Our separate self is treading water on this ocean of silence. The underpinning of your entire psyche or consciousness is incredibly quiet.

Any movement of “trying” is in the domain of separateness. Being open to emptiness, to the ground of being, is letting go of the doer or controller and just noticing. Don’t do anything about it or you will be treading water and will not be in the silent domain of being. Start with this orientation.

We can’t make letting go happen. We can see the ways that the “me” treads water and perhaps in just the seeing, the “me” slows down. The transformative power is in the depth and quality of the seeing.

I thought it was interesting that these kind of retreats exist, bringing people together through the internet.



  • herbieherbie Veteran

    Dear Dharma friend Kerome,

    thank you for that. On the web page the sangha is presented as an inter-religious one, not subscribing to a specific religious tradition, i.e. also not to buddhism.
    Please do not misunderstand but that is exactly why I would not attend it.

    Let me explain my personal view on such an approach. No need to agree. I am not speaking about a generally valid reality. I am only expressing from the perspective of my indiviual experience in the context of emptiness teachings which seems to be the basis of that approach:
    Practice is both, the conventional world and the ultimate. I experienced that it is impossible to practice only in the sphere of the ultimate or focusing on it and that means that there is need of guidance as to what views/activities are appropriate and what views/activities are inappropriate in terms of attaining what one wants to attain, the goal of a path/practice which isn't just temporary. Therefore the setting of a retreat for me is essential. This teacher certainly does teach and his teachings will be essential for success, but what will he teach if he is not committed to a tradition? In short I would only attend a buddhist retreat.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran
    edited April 2019

    I highlighted that it existed just to show the possibility of these kind of hybrid retreats where you just dedicate part of your day... undoubtedly a search for ‘Buddhist online retreats’ would come back with a few different things. Adyashanti does have a Buddhist connection though, through his twenties and thirties he studied Zen before going through a series of transformative experiences. I know a few Buddhist people who accept him as a teacher.

    Of course that does not mean you should do so, but he is an interesting figure. He is now 56.

  • herbieherbie Veteran

    There is also the possibility to do short retreats on one's own if one has been provided specific practices to cover e.g. one weekend or so.
    Or be reminded of Uposatha lay practice days or buddhist fasting practices which cover a few days.
    Or to go into the woods for a weekend to meditate.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Those are all good possibilities. Of course it helps to do it with a group and a teacher, to help focus on a specific teaching. It really depends what you come across, but these kinds of hybrid retreats, designed to fit in with real life, are out there, it’s worth keeping an eye out for them.

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