Our First Retreat

Upavana’s first in-person/online retreat was a big success! Many thanks to everyone who helped out, especially our retreat coordinator Alex, our hosts Donna, Sandy, and Issa, Lusiana and family who provided delicious food for everybody, and for everyone who joined and helped spread the word. By the final talk, when Zoom had had enough and the livestream was slipping, the feeling of camaraderie was palpable.

Samadhi was the theme of the retreat, and that was our focus – to create a relaxed and focused space for practice and to support each other in developing confidence in the main exercise of meditation. Anyone who would like to revisit the talks or run the schedule for themselves in the future, the full retreat is available at the link provided below.

The mission of Upavana is not any particular structure or service, but to support the growth of dhamma, practitioners, and community. In this experimental retreat we were able to demonstrate that all of that could come together flawlessly from little more than a date and an intention.

Perhaps the most fulfilling aspect of the retreat was the ability to connect together as meditators, and to help each other describe a meditation experience that is relaxing and purposeful in equal measure.

Have you ever thrown a party and no one came, only to turn on your computer to see all your friends sharing your party from their own space? Pandemic life is so weird!! In some ways it was a tremendous relief that most of the in-person attendants, including some possible other monastics, weren’t able to make it. Even with a doubled online presence, there was no extra work to be done. I don’t think I’ve ever emerged from a retreat as refreshed and relaxed! And that’s maybe the best sign for the growth of Upavana’s resources and reach – that the retreat ended with spaces fresher, fridges fuller, and organizers more ready for the next retreat.

A space has been offered for a retreat towards the end of next month. Anyone who would be interested in helping organize the online aspect of the retreat, including postings, Zoom room management, and scheduling, please visit www.upavana.org and get in contact with us.

Many blessings for continued practice through the heat of June!