Three Night Residential Retreat – Touching the Boundless Heart: Dharma Wisdom for Difficult Times

Thursday, March 2 – Sunday March 5
Heartwood Refuge Retreat Center
Hendersonville, NC

Cultivating clear awareness of our present moment experience reveals insights into the nature of suffering and liberation. Through the practices of mindfulness, open awareness and lovingkindness, we begin to see that everything that arises is not my “self” but a display of impermanent conditions. When the mind sees life through this clarity and is unclouded by confusion, we create the foundation for well-being, joy and equanimity that includes ourselves, our loved ones, all who suffer, and our great earth.

This retreat, conducted mostly in silence, is suitable for both beginning and experienced meditators. It will include periods of sitting and walking meditation, dharma talks, Q&A and meetings with the teacher.

Lisa has been meditating for over 25 years in the Zen and Vipassana traditions. She received teaching authorization in the Thai Forest lineage of Ajahn Chah, Jack Kornfield and Trudy Goodman. In her teaching, Lisa emphasizes both transformational insight and everyday awakening as an invitation to embrace all of the path’s possibilities. Lisa is the founder of One Dharma Nashville and she teaches workshops and retreats nationally. She is a visiting teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA.

Registration and more information here.

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Fall Residential Retreat with Red Clay Sangha

Making the Mystery Clear
Led by Lisa Ernst
Thursday evening, September 29 – Sunday Noon, October 2

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Our practice is not to clear up the mystery. It is to make the mystery clear.
~ Robert Aitken Roshi

Life is a balance of effort and letting go. Meditation practice gives us tools to be present, to work with our minds and to uncover the heart’s true wisdom. This wisdom also points the way to letting go — remembering that the practice is not only to help us solve problems but to enter deeply into the great mystery of life and death.

This residential 4-day/3-night, held mostly in silence is recommended for both beginning and experienced meditators. Format will be Vipassana style sitting and walking segments. Cost is $150 and covers all meals and lodging. There will be a separate opportunity to make dana (generosity) offering the teacher. Location is the beautiful Sautee Lodge nestled in the mountains near Helen Georgia (about 4 1/2 hours from Nashville). Space is limited so its a good idea to sign up early. Registration is here.

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.

Three Night Residential Retreat with Lisa Ernst

Making Peace: Being Self and Emptiness
Residential Retreat September 24 – 27, 2015
Sponsored by Red Clay Sangha
Sautee Lodge, Sautee Georgia

“Live in the nowhere that you come from, even though you have got an address here.” -Rumi

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Please join us in the beautiful North Georgia mountains for a residential 3 night retreat. In this silent retreat we will explore the nature of our identity and sense of self that we use to live in the world, as well as the wise space of heart and mind that lets go. As we practice meeting all of the activity of self with mindfulness, steadiness, and kindness, our insight and compassion grow. The more we make peace with our ego the more we dwell in our boundless, empty nature.

This retreat is recommended for both new and experienced meditators. Retreat fee is $150 plus dana to the teacher. Scholarships are available if you can’t pay the full fee. For more info and registration, go to here.

Lisa Ernst is the founder and guiding teacher at One Dharma Nashville. She has been meditating for over 25 years in the Zen and Vipassana Traditions. She received dharma transmission in the Thai Forest Lineage of Ajahn Chah, Jack Kornfield and Trudy Goodman. In her teaching, Lisa emphasizes both transformational insight and everyday awakening as an invitation to embrace all of the path’s possibilities. As a practicing visual artist Lisa also incorporates Dharma into painting and contemplative photography.

Residential Retreat: Awakening a Spacious Heart through Lovingkindness Meditation

I’m excited to be leading this residential retreat at the beautiful Flowering Lotus Retreat Center in Magnolia Mississippi, May 15 – 17. I hope you’ll join me!

With an emphasis on lovingkindness, this silent retreat will focus on cultivating what the Buddha called “the immeasurable states of heart and mind” – the Brahma Viharas or Divine Abodes. These are the qualities of love, compassion, joy and equanimity that reside in us all.

Our innate lovingkindness will be strengthened and enhanced through learning the formal practice of metta, along with brahma vihara instructions, sitting and walking meditation and dharma talks. As our hearts awaken through lovingkindness, we will discover a deeper sense of self-acceptance, self-confidence, openness and interconnection with all of life.

For more information and to register go here.

7 Day Residential Retreat Recap

One Dharma held its first 7 day residential retreat in early November at Bethany Hills Retreat Center in Kingston Springs, Tennessee. By all measures it was a success and I anticipate we will do another one when the time is right.

We had all levels of experience, from three out of towners who had sat countless long retreats, to three who where on their first ever residential retreat. Sooner or later, all settled into the rhythm of deep practice and many reported transformative openings and insights during the week.

Here is a photo guide of our retreat. Thanks to Frankie Fachilla for contributing the photos..

Once the temps dropped, we had a fire going continuously in the meditation hall. Photo by Frankie Fachilla

Once the temps dropped, we had a fire going continuously in the meditation hall. Photo by Frankie Fachilla

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Our retreat altar. Photo by Frankie Fachilla

This  stray cat was quite friendly and had a way of slipping through the lodge door. One of our retreat attendees, Christie Bates, kindly adopted the cat, now named Khit Nhat Hanh. Photo by Frankie Fachilla

This stray cat was quite friendly and had a way of slipping through the lodge door. One of our retreat attendees, Christie Bates, kindly adopted the cat, now named Khit Nhat Hanh. Photo by Frankie Fachilla

Still some leaves hanging on. The paths and trails around Bethany Hills Camp provided some good hiking opportunities. Photo by Frankie Fachilla

Still some leaves hanging on. The paths and trails around Bethany Hills Camp provided some good hiking opportunities. Photo by Frankie Fachilla

These rocking chairs on the deck weren't used too often once the "arcitc blast" hit on Wednesday. They still looked inviting. Photo by Frankie Fachilla

These rocking chairs on the deck weren’t used too often once the “arcitc blast” hit on Wednesday. They still looked inviting. Photo by Frankie Fachilla

We closed the retreat with this offering of merit:

The Buddha said that when we dedicate merit, it is just like adding a drop of water to the ocean. Just as a drop of water added to the ocean will not dry up but will exist as long as the ocean exists, so too, if we dedicate the merit of any virtuous action, it merges with the vast ocean of merit and endures until enlightenment.  ~Padmasambhava

By the power of this compassionate practice,

May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness

May all beings be free from sorrow and the causes of sorrow

May all live in equanimity.

Fall Three Night Residential Retreat in North Georgia

Cultivating Clarity thorough Living the Questions

Thursday Evening, September 18 – Sunday Noon, September 21, 2014

Sautee Lodge, Sautee Georgia

Led by Lisa Ernst and Sponsored by Red Clay Sangha

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“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and learn to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions.” Rainer Maria Rilke

Unanswered questions, intractable situations often appear to stand in the way of living from our deepest intentions.  At times we might feel blocked even from knowing what our true priorities are.  During this weekend of sitting and walking meditation, we will have the opportunity to practice opening our hearts to our unresolved inner dilemmas.  These questions contain a rich source of insight; learning to live with them brings about a radical shift that opens the door to clarity and equanimity.

Cost is $150 and includes all meals and lodging. Teacher dana is separate. The retreat will include periods of sitting and walking meditation, dharma talks, optional meetings with the teacher, practice instructions and Q&A. Please go to this link for additional details and registration.

Registration Still Available for Spring Residential Retreat

There’s still time to register for One Dharma’s Spring Renewal Meditation Retreat, happening at Bethany Hills in Kingston Springs. Retreat runs from Thursday evening, April 24 through Sunday Noon, April 26. Full info is here.

Winter Residential Retreat Recap: The Razor’s Edge

This past Sunday we completed our fourth residential retreat at Bethany Hills. Each retreat has its own flavor, its own joys and challenges. This retreat brought a unique weather situation that weaved its way into the retreat, and for several, their practice.

For much of the weekend, the temperatures hovered just above freezing. With near constant rain, this brought uncertainty and for some, anxiety, of freezing, icing and power outages. The weather was at an edge, a fine line between serious difficulty and simple wet and cold. Until Sunday the weather never hit that tipping point.

For several, learning to sit with the uncertainty of what was to come, to allow the situation to unfold in accordance with nature, was a practice in letting go. On Sunday at daylight we could see the trees and some areas of the grounds beginning to freeze as the rain pounded down. It was beautiful and many brought their cameras out during the break as the rain finally stopped. Others grew concerned about transportation and possibly traveling home on icy roads. Fortunately, though, the freeze was short lived. Worries faded as warmer temperatures melted most of the ice by mid morning. One person shared at the closing how her mind had become caught in anxiety, the “what if’s” of the weather, yet ultimately she could see her fear with some humor and let it go.

If we are practicing sincerely, we often find interior edges, places of uncertainty and doubt that limit and confine us. This is particularly true at retreats when we are spending considerable time meeting our present moment experience in its endless flux. Retreats are designed to bring us to our edges, to face the limits we imagine we have, then to find a way through those limits until they simply dissolve. But first we need to recognize the voice that tells us we’ve reached our threshold and can go no further. This awareness is the starting point. Then we can see that the narrative is composed of thoughts, not special, incontrovertible truths. As our resistance falls away, we also touch the fear and anxiety that often accompanies these thoughts.

Sometimes we do need to back off and take a break, to step away from our edge. But as soon as we find our courage and compassion, we can begin again. As we move back to our edge, letting go of our hesitation and any thoughts of doom, we begin to loosen our self imposed limits. The boundaries of our beliefs, the ideas that inhibit our direct experience of the dharma, of life itself, begin to soften. Ultimately, the “I” that holds us back dissolves into open space. This release from our false limitations liberates us, opens us to the joy of interconnection and true intimacy with this moment.

Frozen Pond

Frozen Pond

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Misty Ice at Bethany Hills

Misty Ice at Bethany Hills