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Remote Sesshin

April 18 - April 20

Hello, good people, and a beautiful day to you!

I’m writing today to announce a new offering that I hope will become a regular aspect of our practice and a regular way we can support each other in practice over time.

I recently had the privilege of facilitating and participating in a weekend sesshin down in the Piedmont of North Carolina. A ‘sesshin’ is an intensive meditation retreat. During sesshin we practice sitting meditation and walking meditation, alternately, pretty much all day long, with breaks for meals and time to rest. Oh my gosh, what a beautiful and helpful experience that was!!!!! I ordinarily sit in meditation every day, and quite a lot compared to most people, I would say, and I live, essentially, on retreat. Still, to have a couple days devoted just to sitting and walking meditation was profound. At the monastery our times of sesshin were my favorite, without question. There’s a depth of experience and of stillness that I experience only during the intensified practice time of sesshin. It’s been my intention for several years now to offer sesshin to the sangha I’ve been facilitating, but this was the first time that I’ve seen a way to work it out logistically, and this was also the first time I’ve felt there would be enough interest for such an intensive experience to offer it.

I came out of the sesshin with the earnest desire to enter into regular periods of intensive meditation, myself, in order to continue to support and deepen my own practice. This is also something I’ve wanted for some time–I want to deepen my own meditative skill, and receive from that practice, as much as I can in the years I have remaining on this earth–but as yet it has not felt like there was an opening. There is now, though, clearly. And so here’s what I’ve been scheming…

I would like to hold a three-day sesshin once a month, remotely, for myself and for anyone else who would like to participate. I will block out three days each month for sitting and walking meditation, and I will zoom the whole thing. My idea has been to just put out the schedule to everyone, and figure anyone who would like to join in can do so, whenever they like, for as much or as little as they would like. In other words, you will have the schedule I will be following, and you would be invited to drop in and sit with me and walk with me whenever you feel like it. I expect to sit mostly on my own, but who knows? There were several people who participated remotely in this past sesshin Perhaps there will be a number of people who will feel moved to take their own practice deeper through an intensive period of meditation as well, and on a regular basis. And perhaps there will be those who would just like to keep me company for a sit or two over the three days.

All of this is to lead up to the announcement that I have scheduled my first monthly sesshin. I will be sitting Tuesday, April 18th through Thursday, April 20th. I had hoped to do this over a weekend, but I can’t manage that right now. Hopefully in the future I can put these remote sesshins at least partially on the weekend so that as many people can participate as possible. The schedule I will be following during those days will be below. You would be most welcome to join in whenever you like. The zoom information that you will need in order to join in you will find at the bottom of this email.

A couple notes about this:

You do not need to tell me that you’re going to participate, but if you would like to be informed of any schedule changes, etc, let me know and I’ll keep you in the loop.

The times on the schedule below are all eastern time zone.

The schedule is designed to be somewhat relaxed and cushy, at least in comparison with a traditional sesshin. I want to be able to take care of my body as well as my spirit during the event, so I have allowed time for movement and rest.

I will zoom all of the sits. I’ll have to see about the walks. In my experience if I’m the only one on zoom after a while the platform times out, and so it may be that I will need to zoom the sits but not the walks. We’ll see as we go forward, however. Even if I am zooming the walks, you likely will not see me because the camera will not capture my walking meditation. You can know that I’m there, though, doing my practice.

You’ll see that the schedule accommodates the meditation periods over zoom that happen every morning (from 7-8 and 10-10:30, eastern time).

You’ll see that the schedule includes meditation and discussion groups on the Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The Tuesday evening group will be hosted by our dharma sister Faith Gardner. If you would like to participate in this group with me, let me know and I will pass along Faith’s information so that she can dial you in. On Thursday evening I’ll be facilitating our regular Thursday evening meditation and discussion group. I will not be doing sitting or walking meditation on Wednesday evening. On that evening I’ll decide upon something else to do that will take care of me.

If a sit is scheduled and I’m not there, that’s because I’m on the phone with one of my regular people. There are a handful of people that I support every week, and I would like to continue to support them during this sesshin. There are not many of these, but occasionally I will miss a sit in order to talk with them. Just so you know. Otherwise I will avoid working other than to tend to emergencies.

That’s the scoop! Again, if you feel that you would like to participate in some aspect of this event, let me know and I’ll make sure you receive any updates. Either way, thank you for your attention to this email, be very well, do good work, and take good care of yourselves!

In peace,

Here is the schedule I will be following:

Remote Sesshin Schedule

Daily Schedule, Tuesday-Thursday:

5:30 Wake-Up
6:00 Walking Meditation
7:00 Sitting Meditation
8:00 Breakfast

9:00 Sitting Meditation
9:30 Walking Meditation
10:00 Sitting Meditation
10:30 Walking Meditation
11:00 Sitting Meditation
11:30 Walking Meditation
12:00 Sitting Meditation
12:30 Lunch

(Time to rest, walk, stretch, or whatever will take care of me)

3:00 Sitting Meditation
3:30 Walking Meditation
4:00 Sitting Meditation
4:30 Walking Meditation
5:00 Sitting Meditation
5:30 Walking Meditation
6:00 Supper

7:00 Meditation and Group (on Tuesday and Thursday)

End of day


April 18
April 20