Mind Like Sky: An Open Awareness Daylong Retreat

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Saturday, August 26, 2017
Nashville Friends Meeting, 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Led by Lisa Ernst

All of our thoughts and feelings arise in a field of awareness that is naturally spacious and open. In this retreat we will explore how open awareness practice creates a wider container to meet all of our thoughts and emotions with kindness and compassion. As we deepen into this practice the boundary between inside and outside dissolves and we experience intimacy and interconnection with all things.

This retreat will include periods of sitting and walking meditation, instructions and dharma talk. We will explore the way focused and open attention in meditation support each other. We will learn how open attention can invigorate and sustain, not only our formal practice, but awareness of our daily activities. The retreat is appropriate for newer and more experience meditators.

Cost is $50 and is due by 8/19. A reduced fee spot is available in the case of financial need. There will be a separate opportunity to practice dana (generosity) toward the teacher to support her time and efforts.

Payment can be made by Paypal here, or by check. Instructions for paying by check are at this link.  Please include your email address. Additional retreat information will be provided prior to the retreat. For questions, email onedharmaretreat@gmail.com

New Year’s Half Day Retreat

The Power of Intention: Clarifying Your Path for the New Year
Sunday, January 1 2017, 9 a.m. – Noon
Blooma Yoga, 4107 Charlotte Ave.
Led by Lisa Ernst

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“One of the Buddha’s most penetrating discoveries is that our intentions are the main factors shaping our lives and that they can be mastered as a skill.” – Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Start your New Year on the cushion by joining us for a half day intention setting retreat. At the beginning of a New Year, it is customary to take stock of our lives and the world we live in, to review the previous year and set our intentions for the upcoming twelve months and beyond. Bringing this evaluation onto the cushion, to look with fresh eyes and an open heart, can help us refine and clarify our direction and to live from the truest part of ourselves.

Led by meditation teacher Lisa Ernst, the retreat will include periods of sitting and walking meditation, dharma talk and discussion. Cost is $40 – $50, sliding scale and is due by Wednesday, December 28. A reduced fee option is available for those who need financial support. Paypal is available here. If paying by check, instructions are here. Be sure to include your email address For questions, email onedharmaretreat@gmail.com.

Kindness and Compassion Half Day Meditation Retreat

Saturday, November 14, 2015, 9:00 a.m. – Noon
Nashville Friends House
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During the busyness and outward focus that often the lead into the holidays, this daylong retreat will offer a quiet time to slow down, connect with our bodies and extend kindness and compassion to ourselves and others. Slowly, in the simplicity and silence of the morning, we will learn to let go of distractions and touch our experience with a kind and open heart.

Led by meditation teacher Lisa Ernst, this retreat is suitable for newer and more experienced meditators. It will include periods of sitting and walking meditation, practice instructions and dharma talk.

Retreat fee is $40. A reduced fee spot is available in the case of financial need, please inquire to the email below. Paypal is here. Instructions for paying by check are at this link. Please include your email address. For questions, email onedharmaretreat@gmail.com.

True Refuge Residential Retreat: Steady Mind, Open Heart

7 p.m. December 10 – Noon December 13, 2015
Special extended practice option through noon December 15
Retreat full, email onedharmaretreat@gmail.com to be added to the wait list

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Please join us for a weekend of meditation at a beautiful, wooded retreat site near Nashville. True refuge is turning toward our experience and finding freedom in the way things are. As winter approaches and daylight wanes, there is a natural tendency to slow down and turn inward. Yet, in the busyness of the holiday season we may forget that true refuge is right where we are. This silent retreat will focus on cultivating a quality of compassionate presence that embraces our experience with equanimity and insight. Through this practice we begin to pierce the illusion of separateness and taste the joy of interconnectedness to all things.

This silent retreat is suitable for newer as well as experienced students. The retreat will include sitting and walking meditation, instructions, dharma talks and private meetings with the teacher. Retreat fee includes lodging and all meals.

The 3 night retreat is $220 if paid in full by November 10; after $245. If you wish the stay through the 15th, the retreat fee is $365 if paid by November 10; $395 after. There will be a separate opportunity at the retreat to make a dana (generosity) offering to the teacher. A reduced fee spot is available in the case of financial need. Please inquire for details.

Lisa Ernst is a Buddhist Meditation teacher in the Thai Forest lineage of Ajahn Chah. She is the founder of One Dharma Nashville. In her teaching, Lisa emphasizes both transformational insight and everyday awakening as an invitation to embrace all of the path’s possibilities. She regularly leads classes, daylong and residential meditation retreats.

Please inquire at onedharmaretreat@gmail.com about slot openings or to be added to the wait list.

2015 Spring Renewal Meditation Retreat Recap

One Dharma just completed our fourth Spring Renewal Residential Retreat at Bethany Hills. Each April I especially enjoy our time in this beautiful and natural setting where our hearts can open in tandem with the flowers and leaves after spring rains.

Ferns by the Pond at Bethany Hills

Ferns by the Pond at Bethany Hills

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Altar Flowers by Frankie Fachilla

I appreciate all of nature’s seasons but spring is my favorite. In my twenties, during some of the darkest, loneliest years of my life, immersing myself in spring each year gave me a sense of possibility that my life could be more than the sadness and grief I lived with daily. As I witnessed newly leafed trees growing greener each day, purple wild iris opening along the water’s edge, and birds breaking into a melodious but raucous symphony every morning as the sun rose, I allowed my heart to open completely, to release my armor and touch the warmth and vulnerability of new life. This tenderness of heart nourished and fortified me through this otherwise long and lonely season of my life. Slowly, as the years passed and I reached my 30’s, the possibility of renewal that had once seemed so removed from the rest of my life blossomed at last. This awakening enabled me to live my life more fully, to move through my grief and find friends and love again. Thank you spring for sustaining and warming my heart when I had no other way to touch this moment with love and gratitude.

Double Web

Double Web

These two lovely poems, speak to the retreat experience of opening heart and mind in this moment. Both were written by attendees at our spring retreat.

Water Meditation

Water extinguishes fire
Takes away the angry,
burning desire to eat
everything in its path.
Be water,
drown in this moment.
Watch the world and its stories
pass like waves.
They aren’t yours to grab.
Try to grab them and
they disappear like
scattered stars,
reforming later, still
constellations of emptiness.

Instead, let the waves
crash over you,
their powerful fingers
tear at you then recede
into foamy nothing.
Crash and recede, crash and recede.
Nothing to do
but feel the sun.

– Andrea Hewitt

Cattails by Pond

Cattails by Pond

The retreat ended, rain stopped.
The geese have landed at the lake,
Sun shining thru clouds, I see clearly.

– Jeff Miller

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Clear Skies Reflected in Pond

New Year’s Half Day Retreat

The Power of Intention: Clarifying Your Path for the New Year

January 1, 2014, 8:30 a.m. – Noon, 12 South Dharma Center

Led by Lisa Ernst

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“One of the Buddha’s most penetrating discoveries is that our intentions are the main factors shaping our lives and that they can be mastered as a skill.”

– Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Please join us for a half day of sitting and walking meditation at the 12 South Dharma Center. At the beginning of a New Year, it is customary to take stock of our lives, to review the previous year and set our intentions for the upcoming twelve months and beyond. Bringing this evaluation onto the cushion, to look with fresh eyes and an open heart, can help us refine and clarify our direction and to live from the truest part of ourselves.

Led by meditation teacher Lisa Ernst, the retreat will include periods of sitting and walking meditation, dharma talk and discussion. Cost is $35 and is due by Tuesday, December 24.  You can pay through Paypal here. Please use the “donate” button. Alternately, you can bring your payment to one of our meetings or send a check, made out to One Dharma Nashville to: 12 South Dharma Center, c/o One Dharma Nashville, 2301 12th Avenue south, suite 202, Nashville, TN 37204. For questions, email onedharmaretreat@gmail.com.

Daylong Mindfulness Meditation Retreat

Deepening Your Practice

Saturday, March 9, Harmony Landing Retreat Center

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

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Please join us at a beautiful location just west of Nashville for a day of sitting and walking meditation. We will cultivate insight and lovingkindness through awakening our minds and hearts to the present moment.

Led by meditation teacher Lisa Ernst, this silent retreat will focus on mindfulness meditation. We will train our minds in present time awareness by bringing attention to the breath and sensations in the body, cultivating awareness of the myriad states that arise. Through this practice we gradually embrace the truth of the constantly changing nature of things, and we learn to respond with compassion and friendliness to all that arises.

This retreat is suitable for both beginning and experienced meditators; it will include sitting and walking meditation, practice instructions, and a dharma talk.

Cost: $50, plus dana (donation) to the teacher. A deposit of $50 will reserve your space.  Paypal is available at this link. Use the first “donate” button. Directions and additional information will be emailed prior to the retreat. Please contact onedharmaretreat@gmail.com with any questions.

A Day of Mindfulness Retreat in Nashville, Sunday October 21

We’re accepting a few last minute reservations for this Sunday’s retreat. Please join us for a day of sitting and walking meditation at the 12 South Dharma Center in Nashville. Hours are 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. We will cultivate insight and lovingkindness through awakening our minds and hearts to the present moment.

Led by meditation teacher Lisa Ernst, this silent retreat will focus on mindfulness meditation. We will practice bringing mindfulness to the breath and sensations in the body, cultivating awareness of the pleasant and unpleasant states that arise. Through this practice we gradually awaken the joy of meeting all that arises with compassion and friendliness.

This retreat is suitable for both beginning and experienced meditators; it will include sitting and walking meditation, practice instructions, and a dharma talk. Please bring a sack lunch. Refreshments will be provided at the end of the retreat.

Cost: $35, plus dana (donation) to the teacher. A deposit of $35 will reserve your space and can be paid through Paypal at this link (please use the first Donate button). If you don’t use Paypal, contact onedharmaretreat@gmail.com to make payment arrangements, or for any questions.

Why Do a Residential Meditation Retreat?

I’m often asked this question by newer meditation students still unsure of the value of taking that “next step,” from home and group sitting practice to devoting three or more days to meditation. Could there possibly be more to it than just sitting and walking over and over again? Each person who decides to take this step will answer that question in his or her own unique way. I can elaborate, however, on some common experiences.

What I hear repeatedly from people after their first residential retreat is how deeply they settled into their meditation periodically through the course of the weekend. Nearly all new retreatants experience some resistance at the beginning of a retreat because the activities seem so removed from everyday life. But once they make peace with the retreat rhythm and lack of external distractions, they find a way of settling in that allows for substantial deepening of concentration (Samadhi).

Through this Samadhi, the door to insight gradually opens. This is where each person’s experience is unique – the fruits of insight manifest in myriad ways. It may reveal the very nature of mind, an opening into emptiness.  Some people will awaken to the endless arising and passing away of phenomena with equanimity. Fresh insights into difficult life challenges are common as well. Some people experience a deep opening of the heart with occasional or extended periods of  stillness and joy. Usually these openings, however they manifest, are exactly what a person needs at the time  – the wisdom of the dharma truly reveals itself through this process. It often differs from the expectations a person brought into the retreat, but letting go of fixed agendas is key to the unfolding of genuine insight.

Returning home, many people feel lighter and less caught in reactive patterns for a while. Others may feel heightened sensitivity because their hearts have opened so fully. Its important to maintain compassion and awareness during this transition back into everyday activities. At some point the after retreat high inevitably wears off, but the mind and heart retain a new depth of insight that can be accessed through continued practice.  Most people experience a greater appreciation for the value of meditation and many make a stronger commitment to their practice.