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retreat preparation

To be done upon waking each morning for 5-10 minutes before getting up. Do a few sweeps of the spine, this is enough unless you wish to do more. Its fine to fall asleep, be sleepy or be unclear during this practice.  Be sure to have a snooze alarm!  


Day 1 & 2 ~ Begin the very simple 5 minute morning practice before you get up: with eyes closed, scan your body with your awareness.  Experiment going from one part to another, or blanketing your entire body with your awareness.  Breathe the part or area into your heart on a gentle in breath, and extend your kindness, or an inner smile of greeting, toward the area from your heart on the out breath.  You may continue doing the same part or area for 3-5 breaths and then move on OR just one breath and then move on. Its normal to fall asleep, so be sure to use the snooze button on alarm clock. This practice is very useful even if you fall asleep.  If you have time when you wake up again to do at least one more scan….great!



After completing the first meditation, sit up and read the second meditation below daily. Sit for another 5 minutes a follow the instructions you read. Please print out read the meditation daily.  


Day 3 ~ Repeat the same as above noting any aliveness in the area or its lack ~ either is fine. If lacking its very helpful to offer this place your embrace of unconditional acceptance with your awareness.  You’re just noticing, not trying to change anything.   

For this practice you may sit on a chair, couch or meditation cushion. The only requirement is to stay in one place for 10 - 20 minutes. If you become uncomfortable,  shift your position i.e. move your legs, hands, scratch an itch, stretch your neck and so on. But, don’t get up and move around or relocate your body.  Remain comfortable, quiet and awake.

Within these parameters, simply do whatever you’re doing. Think what you’re thinking, feel what you’re feeling, experience what you’re experiencing. There’s no right or wrong way to meditate. If you’re following your breath, follow your breath. If you’re reciting a mantra, recite a mantra. If you’re doing nothing in particular, do nothing in particular. There’s no need to follow a thought, nothing to concentrate on, nothing you need to do. If you’re captivated by a particular line of thought, a feeling, or a physical sensation, that’s fine. If you observe this process you do, if you don’t you don’t. There’s nothing to correct or adjust, no guidelines about what you’re supposed to be concentrating on, such as breathing, thoughts, feelings or sensations.

If your eyes are open, let them be open. If they’re closed let them be closed. If you open them, close them, then open them again and let them wander around, let all this happen. If you need to distract yourself, then, within the parameters of this practice, distract yourself. It doesn’t matter whether you’re concentrated or distracted. In fact, because there’s no object of meditation and no need to meditate, there are no distractions. You don’t need to do anything other than what you’re doing. You can’t go wrong. If you enjoy a session, you enjoy it, if you don’t you don’t.  Enjoying your contemplation is no better than enduring it.

Because it consists of doing whatever you’re doing when you’re sitting, this practice incorporates any other meditation practice you may be engaged in. To begin this practice, you don’t need to know how it relates to this course or even why you’re doing it.


If an alarm clock is used set to 10 minutes earlier than usual, as you may fall back to sleep during the process.  Hit the snooze button when you awake rather than turn it off.  I recommend a  Zen Alarm Clock, its very conducive to timing this, but any alarm clock is fine. Begin this practice as asap, and continue doing Meditation 1 as well.  If you’re an advanced practitioner or have a long standing meditation practice, do the above for 5 - 10 minutes before then your regular meditation practice.  If you’re meditating with another use this at the beginning and end of each meditation for 5 minutes.  PLEASE do this practice daily from now until the retreat.  This practice is call just sitting or simply sitting or perhaps un-meditation.



You may have never been able to meditate, or even strongly dislike meditation, but find you like these practices.  

For those of you who are advanced meditators, the second one is at the same time the most advanced, and the most basic; as it deconstructs meditation altogether.  It will serve to fine tune your current practices.  The second one is great to do before you start your established practice.



Please no sugar, alcohol, recreational drugs or chocolate for as many days prior to retreat as possible. Ideally, for two weeks but two day would be acceptable. This is to reset some subtle biochemistry.  Also no consciousness altering substances to include marijuana or Iyahuasca for at least 2 weeks prior. This benefits your ability to more clearly work in the subtler aspects of meditation. Do whats necessary to be well rested with extra hydration for 2 days prior to the retreat.

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