Latest Posts

August 24 – 26, Summer Nature Meditation Weekend Retreat (Norwich, VT)

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

— Mary Oliver

Register

As Mary Oliver said so beautifully, through paying attention and communing in nature, we slow down our busy lives and come to face inquiries that stir deep inside.  Come to the lush hills of Vermont to celebrate the summer.  Enjoy the spaciousness and quiet as we sink into the rhythms of the natural world.  The tranquility and spaciousness of nature supports our meditation practice, and help us discover and connect to our vast and rich outer and inner worlds.

This camping retreat will be held in “companionable silence” and will include guided mindfulness practices adapted to being in nature.  The retreat is inspired by Awake in the Wild meditation practices created by Mark Coleman, a long time Spirit Rock Meditation Center teacher from the insight meditation tradition.  Both Lee and Lin graduated from Mark’s two-year nature meditation teacher training.

We will offer sitting practices emphasizing opening to our sensory awareness, as well as walks, hikes and wanderings through the nearby fields and forests interspersed with various nature practices. Some examples of practices may include the following, but actual practices will vary based on location and weather.

  • Sensory and Tactical Awareness
  • Non-Conceptual Awareness: Letting go of existing concepts and focus on direct experience
  • Expansive Awareness: Dissolving into the sky
  • Spaciousness and Stillness
  • Four Elements: Contemplating the elements of air, earth, water and fire
  • Tree Meditation
  • Stargazing Meditation
  • Fire Meditation

Participants will camp in a meadow, have group meals outdoors, gather around a fire in the evenings and maybe even swim in a local pond!

Who: Lee Steppacher and Lin Gordon

img_3263

When: 4pm, Friday, August 24 – Sunday noon, August 26, 2018

(You can stay one extra night on Sunday on the camp ground till Monday, but retreat will officially end on noon, Sunday.)

Where: Norwich, Vermont – On a private land.  Most of the retreat will take place outdoors – camping, eating, and practicing, etc.  

Lodging: Camping on a beautiful private land (outdoor bathroom/sun shower nearby).  Bring your own camping gears.  If you don’t have camping gears, you can rent at outfitters:

We might have limited extra gears to lend, inquire at info@beinginthewild.com.

Meals: Vegetarian meals will be provided and we’ll be eating outdoors; we will also collect your dietary preferences once you registered.

Public Transportation: Take the Darthmouth Coach across Grand Central to Hanover, NH stop.  You can take the 8:30am on Friday, 8/24, and the 3:15pm bus on the return trip on Sunday, 8/26.  From the bus station, you can call Brevells Transportation LLC at 603-643-8294 for taxi to get to the campground (about $10).  We can coordinate car sharing.

Registration Fee: $75 to cover all meals.  Suggested dana for teachers starts at $75 and no one is ever turned away for lack of fund.  Whatever you offer is greatly appreciated.

Registration Info: Register at Event Brite here.  This retreat location has a limited capacity.  There will be a waitlist once the capacity is reached.  Once you registered, we’ll contact you for further info to coordinate logistics.

Register

No prior meditation experience needed.

Facilitators Bios:

Lee Steppacher    

leepictanzania

Lee has a deep meditation practice over 25 years, and has a combination of skills and interests that draw her to offering mindfulness in nature retreats .  She gravitated to the direct simplicity of the Vipassana (or Insight meditation practice) tradition, and was fortunate to live near Insight Meditation Society where she has been going to annual retreats.  She has been a long-time practitioner of the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center community.

She recently completed a two-year “Awake in the Wild” Nature Meditation Teacher Training program with Mark Coleman from the Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and continues to be inspired and guided by Mark’s work in bringing mindfulness into nature.   Lee had a fulfilling career in environmental planning and protection with both Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Park Service, where she was responsible for resource-based watershed protection for various locations in New England.  Since retirement, Awake in the Wild has enabled Lee to bring her meditation practice and environmental knowledge together in a meaningful way.

Lee lives in Vermont and enjoys guiding people through the woods and fields nearby, sharing these practices that help one to connect more deeply with themselves and the world of which we are all a part.  Lee also maintains a massage practice where she focuses on working with the elderly, ill and dying.

Lin Gordon

valecitos_lin_front_sep2017_midsquare

Lin has been practicing insight meditation in the last seven years under the guidance of Jonathan Foust (a senior guiding teacher of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington and the former president of Kripalu), Mark Coleman from the Spirit Rock Meditation Center, as well as various teachers at the New York Insight Meditation Center.  In stillness and silence, she discovers the transformative power of mindfulness practices to help live a life of flow, joy, grace and gratitude.

In the last three years, she is particularly moved by the power of nature meditation practices to deeply connect with our senses, the intimate web of life, and our vast spaciousness nature.  Our human-centric worldview dissolves, and we realize we are but a small part of a greater intelligence and the universe.  She graduated from Mark Coleman’s Awake in the Wild Nature Meditation Teacher Training in 2017.

She is also inspired by the Ecosattva training from the One Earth Sangha to be active on the issue of climate change.   She views sharing nature meditation practices not only as a doorway for personal transformation, but also as a form of environmental activism.  By helping people forge a visceral and deep love for the Earth through intimate and direct experiences, Lin hopes that these practices will inspire people to actively protect the Earth.

Besides meditation, Lin practices kundalini yoga, reiki, chakra therapy, group dream work, and is certified in wilderness first aid.  Out in the world, she has been a digital marketer for media and financial services industries for the last 15 years, and currently serve as a board member of the New York Insight Meditation Center.

She holds a BA in East Asian Studies and Political Science from Barnard College, and an MBA from NYU.

Sat. April 21 – Earth Day Meditative Hike to Anthony’s Nose

6Register Here

“Walking mindfully on the Earth can restore our peace and harmony, and it can restore Earth’s peace and harmony as well.  We are children of the Earth.  We rely on her for our happiness, and she relies on us also.  Whether the Earth is beautiful, fresh and green, or arid and parched depends on our way of walking.  When we practice walking meditation beautifully, we massage the Earth with our feet and plant seeds of joy and happiness with each step.  Our Mother will heal us, and we will heal her.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

Feel the spring energy in the air?  How about taking a meditative hike that takes you past a crystalline lake and the lowest-elevation stretch of the Appalachian Trail (AT) to one of the most dramatic scenic destinations in the Hudson Valley? Anthony’s Nose (900 feet) is only an hour outside of the city, and it will take you to fresh air, expansive vista, and blossoming trees.  On this Earth Day (4/22) weekend, take a walk into the woods to connect with nature and ourselves.  We’ll integrate sitting and walking nature meditation throughout the hike.  Some examples of practices may include the following, but actual practices will vary based on location and weather.

  • Sensory and Tactical Awareness
  • Non-Conceptual Awareness: Letting go of existing concepts and focus on direct experience
  • Expansive Awareness: Dissolving into the sky
  • Four Elements: Contemplating the elements of air, earth, water and fire
  • Tree Meditation
  • Practices on Relating to Mother Earth

Most of the hike will be observed in silence.  John Muir said, “In every walk in Nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”  Silence is a critical ingredient for introspective and transformative experiences.  Turning our attention inward allows us to become receptive to both of our outer and inner experiences.  Allow your senses to come alive and watch your sense of separateness falls away in nature.  The dynamic outdoor conditions will be a perfect container for mindfulness practices.  As we become intimate with the natural world, we become intimate with ourselves.

The hike is about 4 miles.  We will follow the Camp Smith trail up that has a less steep ascent than the Bear Mountain Bridge trail.  After lunch, depending on the group’s energy and comfort level, we’ll either hike back down the Camp Smith trail or the Bear Mountain Bridge trail.  Please bring your lunch and plenty of water for the trail.

Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 10.53.30 AM

Who: Jon Aaron and Lin Gordon

When: 8:30am-5:30pm, Saturday, April 21, 2018

Where: Anthony’s Nose, Cortlandt, NY; trail begins in Bear Mountain State Park

Train Meeting Location and Time: 8:25am sharp at the clock, Grand Central or 10am at the Manitou train station, Metro North, Hudson Line. We’ll be taking the 8:45am train up.  Once we all meet up at the Manitou train station, we will walk to the trailhead (about 1.3 miles).

Trailhead Meeting Location and Time: 10:20am at the Appalachian Trail head (Camp Smith trail) on South Mountain Pass Road.

Direction from the Manitou train station:

You will ascend Manitou Station Rd, cross 9d (0.6 miles) where it changes its name to Manitou Rd.  In 0.2 miles it ends on South Mountain Pass Road.  Take a right and ascend. In another 0.5 miles, or 1.3 miles from where you got off the train at Manitou Station, a poorly maintained turnoff will appear on the right.  Opposite on the left side of South Mountain Pass Road, you will see the markings of the Appalachian Trail as 2 white rectangles, one diagonally above the other indication a turn in the trail.  Follow the turnoff to the right and cross around the gate, where the cue sheet begins.  We’ll meet at the gate.

Below is the picture of the parking space in front of the trailhead:

IMG_3363

Carpool: Please indicate if you can offer or need ride on the form.

Registration Fee: Sliding scale at $35, $50, or $65.

No prior meditation experience needed.

Bring

Wear

  • Comfortable athletic clothing
  • Hiking boots
  • Hat
  • Jacket
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses

EarthDay2016a

Facilitators:

Jon Aaron has been a teacher at New York Insight since 2006. His principal dharma teacher has been Matthew Flickstein of The Forest Way. He trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, and is a certified teacher through the CFM. He has taught over 50 cycles of the seminal curriculum as well as numerous courses for alumni of the program. He completed the Integrated Study and Practice Program at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and the Foundations in Buddhist Contemplative Care at the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. He is the co-guiding teacher of the Makom Meditation Havurah program at the Jewish Community Center. He is a certified Somatic Experience Practitioner and has most recently completed the teacher training in Mindfulness for Pain offered by Breathworks in England.

Lin Gordon has practiced insight meditation in the last seven years. Her principal dharma teachers have been Jonathan Foust of Insight Meditation Community of Washington, Mark Coleman of Spirit Rock, and Jon Aaron at New York Insight. Inspired by Mark Coleman’s nature practices, she completed Mark Coleman’s Awake in the Wild Nature Meditation Teacher Training in 2017.

Register Here

Making It Happen vs. Letting It Happen – Guided Meditation

My teacher Jonathan Foust gave a talk on “Making It Happen vs. Letting It Happen” back in April.  I always love that Jonathan is so artful in condensing spiritual teachings into simple and accessible phrases.  We can explore this theme in two layers and both speak to me to the heart of spiritual practices.  First is the balance between making efforts to achieve goals and making time and space in our life to reflect on those efforts, to see if they are aligned with our hearts and whether they lead us on the path we want to go down to.  Our culture values goals and results and idealize efforts and productivity, and there are certainly great value in work ethics.  Yet, if we don’t slow down in our life to make time and space to reflect, we can be running in full speed down on a path that we don’t want to go down to.

Secondly, “letting it happen” speaks to a quality that we all recognize in our life, that is that life is out of our control.  We can hold the fruits of our efforts lightly, and letting go of the fruits of our efforts.  It is not a passive surrender of just letting things happen to us, but a full engagement with life yet surrendering to what the outcome that engagement may lead to.

For example, we need to make efforts to go to a meditation class or a yoga practice, we appreciate the efforts that get us there through traffic and commute and clearing the schedule to be there.  Yet once we get there, we can let go of our expectations of what the experience would be like in that class.  Sometimes our mind is quiet, other times turbulent.  Sometimes our body is flexible, other times tense and rigid.   If we are seeking for a particular experience, we may feel tightness and disappointment when it doesn’t match our expectations.   If we let the experience unfold without resistance to it, then it will flow through us and we will find ease in the unfolding.

Guided Meditation:

You can begin this meditation by finding a comfortable sitting or lying down position.  There is no wrong position – anything that make you feel comfortable and relaxing, that is the right position.

Feel your legs and body’s contact with the Earth.  Notice that you’re effortlessly held by the Earth.  Notice that this support is always there for you.  This support does not need to be earned, and it cannot be taken away.  You can release the tension and stress onto the Earth.  The Earth can hold it.   You can rest in the effortless support.

As the Earth goes into a cycle of rest and restoration every night and every winter, so it would help that you let your body and mind go through a night and a season of rest and restoration.

As the saying goes, “There is nowhere to go, and no one to be.”

If there is stress, tension or anxiety, let it be there in the background.  Welcome it, befriend it.  There is no need to push it away.  Gently feel it in your body and say hello to it kindly, “I see you.  I feel you.  I am here for you.”

Instead of personalizing them and saying that I have stress, tension and stress, say, “There is stress.  There is tension.  There is anxiety.  I can put a placeholder for them after the meditation. For this moment, let me melt into the Earth.”

See if you find a basic sense of okayness in our being – warmth, groundedness, or just appreciating our senses – sight, smell, seeing, taste, touch.  The fact we can breathe in fresh air, feel the breeze brushing our face, smell the humidity in the air, touch our heart and body with our hands are miraculous.  Is there a place in the body where I could find warmth and comfort?

We can appreciate a basic sense of security – clean water, warm food, and a warm bed. These are conditions that did not exist before for 98% of human history or even many parts of the world right now.

What could soften? What could relax? What could I let go?

After some time, drop all the techniques and efforts.  Simply relax and let go.  Drop all the trying and simply be.

To end this meditation, it might be helpful to remember this quote from T.S. Eliot,

“I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”

November 24: Black Friday Nature Meditation at Central Park

Register Here

“Everything in this universe has a rhythm; everything dances.” – Maya Angelou

Need some renewal time after the Thanksgiving holiday?

Inspired by REI’s #OptOutside campaign which closes its stores on Black Friday and encourages everyone to go outdoors, we would like to take this opportunity to immerse in the season with nature meditation and gratitude practices.

Every season has its unique gifts.  With the abundance of late fall, we reflect on the work from this past year, harvest what we reap, and release what we no longer need.  It returns to the essence of our experiences and who we are, as we let go of the attachments to the beauty and excitement of summer.  As days get shorter and we are heading into winter, it is a time for introspection, letting go, and spiritual connection.

Who: Jon Aaron and Lin Gordon

When: 10:30am-12:30pm, Friday, November 24th

Where: Central Park, 100th St. and Central Park West

Meeting Location and Time: 10:15am at 100th St. entrance, Central Park West

No prior meditation experience needed.

Fee by donation: Suggested donation starts at $15 and no one is ever turned away for lack of fund.  Whatever you offer is greatly appreciated.

Register Here

Meditate and Write in the Grove: June to October (Monthly)

Register Here

Starting June 11, join Brooklyn Greenway Initiative as we meditate and free write in the beautiful outdoor space of the Naval Cemetery Landscape, co-sponsored by Breathe Read Write and Being in the Wild.

Session 1 on Sunday morning, June 11, 9:30 – 11:30am: Welcome summer, season of growth and abundance.

Sessions 2-4 on the first Thursday evening of July (7/6), August (8/3), and Sept. (9/7), 6:30 – 8pm: Tune in to the gifts and cycles of this ground and the beings that live here, such as trees, native wildflowers (Brown Eyed Susans, Asters, etc.), bees, birds, and more.

Session 5 on Sunday morning October 1, 9:30 – 11:30am: Thank summer and welcome fall, season of harvest and completion.

This park honors the past and builds toward a greener, more contemplative future. We can all participate by gathering to meditate and offer our own creativity. These sessions are suitable for everyone, from beginners to experienced meditators or writers. Each class will include meditation instruction and practice, prompts to awaken your senses, guided free-writing, and lively and supportive sharing.

At the start of each session, Lin guides nature meditation practices that cultivate a deep attention to both our inner and outer worlds. Examples of these practices include: four elements exploration (earth, water, fire and air); tree contemplation; five-sense experiencing. The aim is to nurture curiosity and loving kindness, which we bring in to our free-writing with Lisa. This involves opening ourselves to a poem or a particular piece of the park and then free-writing (Natalie Goldberg-style). Everyone who wants to share what flows through them has a chance to be heard and appreciated.

If you have a favorite notebook and pen, bring them, or BGI can provide.

Location

Classes are held at the Naval Cemetery Landscape. Enter at Williamsburg St West between Kent and Flushing Avenues.

Public Transit

  • B57/B62Bus to Flushing Av/Classon Av (2 min walk)
  • B48 Bus to Wallabout St/Wythe Av (5 min walk)
  • J/M/Z Train to Marcy Ave (11 min walk)
  • G train to Flushing Ave (13 min walk)

Register Here


Teacher’s bios

Lisa Freedman received her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the New School, where she now offers courses including “Meditating, Seeing, and Writing” (in collaboration with the Rubin Museum) and “Writing and Activism.” Her current studies focus on Shambhala Buddhism and the path of the compassionate warrior. Satya Magazine, Grabbing the Apple, and The Shambhala Times published her work in 2016. Her poem, “Notes for a Commune-Nest Personifesto,” appears in Resist Much Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance.

Lisa’s concern for the environment and threatened beings everywhere prompted her to start offering Breathe/Read/Write sessions. The way she sees it, whenever we guide our wandering minds back to the breath, we offer ourselves a fresh start. Every time we meditate and then pick up our pens to write, we are in a realm of unlimited possibilities. It’s important to cultivate our relationship with this realm these days because we’re surrounded by evidence that our current patterns of living, consuming, and relating need to change. We need new ideas. “Free-writing” (just letting the pen move, non-stop) can be their vehicle.

Feel free to contact lisa@lfwritingcoach.com for more info.

Lin Gordon’s Being in the Wild project is born out of a love for meditation and nature. Lin has been practicing insight meditation for the last six years under the guidance of Jonathan Foust as well as various teachers at the New York Insight Meditation Center. In stillness and silence, she discovers the transformative power of mindfulness practices to help live a life of flow, joy, grace and gratitude.

Recently, Lin was moved by the power of nature meditation practices to connect with a deep sense of well-being, tranquility, love and resilience. When meditating in nature, our senses are more alive. Whether it is touching tree bark or hearing bird songs or meandering on unknown paths, nature shows us the essence of who we are. Our human-centric world view dissolves, and we realize we are but a small part of a greater intelligence. Lin will be graduating from Mark Coleman’s Awake in the Wild Meditation in Nature Facilitators Training in the fall of 2017.

Besides meditation, Lin practices kundalini yoga, reiki, chakra therapy, group dream work and is certified in wilderness first aid. Out in the world, she has been a digital marketer for media and financial services industries for the last 15 years and currently serves as a board member of New York Insight Meditation Center.

More info: Email info@beinginthewild.com or follow http://www.Facebook.com/beinginthewild.

July 29: Lake Awosting – Meditative Hike & Swim

Bask in Some of NY’s Greatest Views and Cool Off in a Glacial Lake

What We Love

  • Swim in a glacial lake
  • Open views of stunning cliffs
  • Lush and colorful forests
  • Visit a local farm stand
Photo credit: Discover Outdoors

Register Here

After arriving at the beautiful glacial Lake Minnewaska, we’ll warm up with three miles through the lush and mystical forests high above the Palmaghatt Ravine. We’ll take in the sweeping views of Gertrude’s Nose and the Hudson Valley as we make our way to the cliffs of Hamilton Point.

Our next stop is Lake Awosting, where we can take a break by the calm waters and jump in for a quick swim while we enjoy lunch.  After our rest, we’ll turn to off our gentle carriage roads and join the wondrous Shawangunk Ridge Trail out to take in views from Castle Point and Litchfield Ledge, stretching out to the Catskill Mountains.  We’ll return back to our trailhead via a moderate carriage road and enjoy some final views before our ride home.

We’ll integrate sitting and walking nature meditation throughout the hike.  Some examples of practices may include the following, but actual practices will vary based on location and weather.

  • Sensory and Tactical Awareness
  • Non-Conceptual Awareness: Letting go of existing concepts and focus on direct experience
  • Expansive Awareness: Dissolving into the sky
  • Four Elements: Contemplating the elements of air, earth, water and fire
  • Tree Meditation

Most of the hike will be observed in silence.  John Muir said, “In every walk in Nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”  Silence is a critical ingredient for introspective and transformative experiences.  Turning our attention inward allows us to become receptive to both of our outer and inner experiences.  Allow your senses to come alive and watch your sense of separateness falls away in nature.  The dynamic outdoor conditions will be a perfect container for mindfulness practices.  As we become intimate with the natural world, we become intimate with ourselves.

Perfect for: Fit, new hikers up for a challenge, intermediate and experienced hikers looking for a relaxing day.  No prior meditation experience needed.

When: 7am-6:30pm, Saturday, July 29, 2017

Where: Minnewaska State Park, New York

Registration Fee: $105.  We are partnering with Discover Outdoors for this hike.  Registration fee covers transportation, an expert trail guide, and park permit.  It also covers a portion of dana for teachers and New York Insight.  At the end of the trip, if you are moved by the experience, additional dana is appreciated.

Based on the size of the van, only 12 spots are available per trip.  There will be a waitlist once these spots are filled.  If you decided to drive to meet us, you will make more spots for others to join and pay $70 ($35 less).  As soon as you register, please email info@beinginthewild.com to indicate that you’ll be driving so we can inform others of additional availability.  Please read the refund and cancellations policy.

Register Here

Facilitators:

Jon Aaron has been a teacher at New York insight since 2006. His principal dharma teacher has been Matthew Flickstein of The Forest Way. He trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, and is a certified teacher through the CFM. He has taught over 50 cycles of the seminal curriculum as well as numerous courses for alumni of the program. He completed the Integrated Study and Practice Program at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and the Foundations in Buddhist Contemplative Care at the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. He is the co-guiding teacher of the Makom Meditation Havurah program at the Jewish Community Center. He is a certified Somatic Experience Practitionertm and has most recently completed the teacher training in Mindfulness for Pain offered by Breathworks in England.

Lin Gordon has practiced insight meditation in the last six years. Her principal dharma teachers have been Jonathan Foust of Insight Meditation Community of Washington, Mark Coleman of Spirit Rock, and Jon Aaron at New York Insight. Inspired by Mark Coleman’s nature practices, she will complete Mark Coleman’s Awake in the Wild Meditation in Nature Facilitators Training in the fall of 2017.


Trip Details

Meeting Location and Time:

Meet at Paragon Sports, Broadway at E. 18th St. (Union Square area)
Meet at 7am, leaves at 7:15am, returning at 6:30pm

Drive to Meet Option:

Have your own transportation? If you would prefer to drive yourself, you can select the “drive to meet” option at check out.  You’ll meet your guide at Rock and Snow in New Paltz, NY at 9:15 AM.  From there, you’ll follow the van about 15 minutes to the Minnewaska State Park parking area. Please note there is a fee to park.

Pack List:

Bring

  • Your lunch
  • Ample snacks
  • At least three liters of water
  • A backpack
  • Bathing suit and lightweight towel if you’d like to swim
  • Sitting props if needed (thermal rest z-seat pad, light yoga block, etc.)

Wear

  • Comfortable athletic clothing
  • Hiking boots
  • Hat
  • Jacket
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses

Included

  • Expert guides
  • Transportation
  • Park permits

Distance

  • 7 miles, mostly on carriage road

Intensity Level

  • This trip is rated Level 4 by Discover Outdoors.

June 24: Mineral Springs Falls Meditative Hike – Lakes, A Waterfall, and Unique Flora

“The birds have dissolved into the sky
And the last remaining clouds have faded away
We sit together the mountain and me
Until the only mountain remains”
Li Po, Zazen on Ching Ting Mountain

What we love about this hike

  • Visit beautiful waterfalls
  • Multiple open views of the Hudson Valley
  • Unique ecosystems in Black Rock Forest
  • Stop at a local farmstand

Join us on a meditative hike through Black Rock Forest, a hidden gem in the Hudson Valley that’s home to unique ecosystems. Our hike begins as we pass Mineral Springs Falls and hike along the spring as we head uphill. After our first tough climb, we’ll pass by Jupiter’s Boulder and soon a break will await us at Sutherland Pond, where the bravest among us can dip our toes.  We will rest and meditate there for a while.

After we’ll follow winding trails through the park – a favorite place of biologists and botanists due to its high species and habitat diversity – and observe the variety of berries and wild edibles that fill the forest at our feet and the stunning views in front of our eyes.

If there’s time, a stop at one of our favorite farm stands awaits us before we head back to the city, reinvigorated and relaxed after our time in the forest.

We’ll integrate nature meditation along the hike.  Some examples of practices may include:

  • Four Elements: Contemplating the elements of air, earth, water and fire
  • Non-Conceptual Awareness: Letting go of existing concepts and focus on direct experience
  • Expansive Awareness: Dissolving into the sky
  • Sensory Awareness

Most of the hike will be observed in silence.  John Muir said, “In every walk in Nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”  Silence is a critical ingredient for introspective and transformative experiences.  Turning our attention inward allows us to become receptive to both of our outer and inner experiences.  Allow your senses to come alive and watch your sense of separateness falls away in nature.  The dynamic outdoor conditions will be a perfect container for mindfulness practices.  As we become intimate with the natural world, we become intimate with ourselves.

No prior meditation experience required.  Please feel free to bring any light meditation props that you find to be helpful (thermal rest z-seat pad, light yoga block, yoga mat, backjack, etc.), though they are not necessary.

When:
Saturday, June 24, 2017

Register at:  New York Insight Meditation Center

Registration Fee: $95 before June 1st; price goes up $10 after June 1st.  We are partnering with Discover Outdoors for this hike.  Transportation, an expert trail guide, and park permit are included in the registration fee.  It also covers a portion of dana for teachers and New York Insight.  At the end of the trip, if you are moved by the experience, additional dana is greatly appreciated but not necessary.

Based on the size of the van, only 12 spots are available per trip.  There will be a waitlist once these spots are filled.  If you decided to drive to meet us, you will make more spots for others to join and pay $20 less ($75).  As soon as you register, please email info@beinginthewild.com to indicate that you’ll be driving so we can inform others of additional availability.

Facilitators:

Jon Aaron has been a teacher at New York insight since 2006. His principal dharma teacher has been Matthew Flickstein of The Forest Way. He trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, and is a certified teacher through the CFM. He has taught over 50 cycles of the seminal curriculum as well as numerous courses for alumni of the program. He completed the Integrated Study and Practice Program at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and the Foundations in Buddhist Contemplative Care at the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. He is the co-guiding teacher of the Makom Meditation Havurah program at the Jewish Community Center. He is a certified Somatic Experience Practitionertm and has most recently completed the teacher training in Mindfulness for Pain offered by Breathworks in England.

Lin Gordon has practiced insight meditation in the last six years. Her principal dharma teachers have been Jonathan Foust of Insight Meditation Community of Washington, Mark Coleman of Spirit Rock, and Jon Aaron at New York Insight. Inspired by Mark Coleman’s nature practices, she will complete Mark Coleman’s Awake in the Wild Meditation in Nature Facilitators Training in the fall of 2017.

Register Here


Trip Details:

Meeting Location and Time:

Meet at Paragon Sports, Broadway at E. 18th St. (Union Square area)
Meet at 8:15am, leaves at 8:30am, returning at 6:30pm

Drive to Meet Option:

Have your own transportation? You’ll meet us at the parking area on Old Mineral Springs Road in Cornwall, NY at 9:45 AM.  If you drive there to meet us, you will make more spots available for others to join us.  As soon as you register, please email info@beinginthewild.com to indicate that you’ll be driving so we can inform others of additional availability.

Pack List:

Bring
  • Your lunch
  • Ample snacks
  • At least three liters of water
  • A backpack.
Wear
  • Comfortable athletic clothing, weather appropriate
  • Hiking boots
  • Hat
  • Jacket
  • Sunscreen

Intensity Level:

This is a Level 5 trip rated by Discover Outdoors.

Moderate — For Skilled Beginners and Intermediate Participants

Level 5 trips place greater emphasis challenging you physically. Whether you’re still new to the scene or have some experience, you’ll appreciate a more deliberate pace with a capable group.

Trail Statistics
  • 6.0 miles
  • 1,000 Feet Cumulative Gain
  • Clear path, no use of hands required. Some steep uphill and downhill sections.
Activity

We’ll be out on the trails for five to seven hours.

May 20: Bird Watching/Nature Meditation at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Preserve

“To see is to forget the name of thing one sees.” – Paul Valery

 

Want to spend a spring late afternoon watching birds and sunset?  With a short train ride away, we will be transported to a wild sanctuary from the city.  We will be sharing various nature meditation practices in this beautiful open space – cultivating stillness, opening our senses and our heart, and let nature help us unfold in ways that we cannot foresee.

The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge—part of Gateway National Recreation Area—is one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the Northeast and one of the best places in New York City to observe migrating species. With more than 330 bird species—nearly half the species in the Northeast—sighted at the refuge over the last 25 years.

When:

4-6:30pm, Saturday, May 20, 2017

Where:

You can meet us directly at 3:45pm at the Visitor Center at the  Jamaica Bay Wildlife Preserve.  Or if you would like to travel together to Jamaica Bay from Manhattan, we’ll meet at 2:30pm at the corner of 14th St station of the A train (downtown direction).

Directions: Take the A train to Rockaway Boulevard station (about 45 mins from Manhattan).  Transfer to the Q52 or Q53 bus on Woodhaven Blvd.  When you get off the Rockaway Blvd. subway station, look for the red P.C. Richard & Son store sign, the bus is right in front of it facing Woodhaven Blvd.  It will drop you off directly in front of the Wildlife Preserve Visitor Center in a 5-7 minutes bus ride.

Registration: New York Insight Meditation Center

This will be the part of a monthly series of nature meditation offerings from March to September, 2017. Sessions are “sign-up as you go” and upcoming sessions will be announced soon. No prior meditation experience required.

Sessions will be conducted outdoors so please dress appropriately, with closed-toe shoes, clothing appropriate to the weather, hats, etc. Please bring a water bottle to all sessions, and any meditation props that you find to be helpful (meditation cushion or bench, yoga mat, backjack, etc.). Most sessions will include some gentle movement or walking practice so please offer care for yourself around mobility issues.

For planning purposes, please register online so we know to expect you and we will send an email notification at least 24 hours in advance to in case of location change or cancellation due to weather conditions.

We look forward to awakening up in the wild together.

Fee by donation: Suggested starting donation at $20 but whatever you offer is greatly appreciated and no one is ever turned away for lack of funds.


Facilitators:

Jon Aaron has been a teacher at New York insight since 2006. His principal dharma teacher has been Matthew Flickstein of The Forest Way. He trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, and is a certified teacher through the CFM. He has taught over 50 cycles of the seminal curriculum as well as numerous courses for alumni of the program. He completed the Integrated Study and Practice Program at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and the Foundations in Buddhist Contemplative Care at the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. He is the co-guiding teacher of the Makom Meditation Havurah program at the Jewish Community Center. He is a certified Somatic Experience Practitionertm and has most recently completed the teacher training in Mindfulness for Pain offered by Breathworks in England.

Lin Gordon has practiced insight meditation in the last six years. Her principal dharma teachers have been Jonathan Foust of Insight Meditation Community of Washington, Mark Coleman of Spirit Rock, and Jon Aaron at New York Insight. Inspired by Mark Coleman’s nature practices, she will complete Mark Coleman’s Awake in the Wild Meditation in Nature Facilitators Training in the fall of 2017.

April 22: Earth Day Nature Meditation at Central Park

“We ask for the presence of the spirit of Gaia and pray that the breath of life continues to caress this planet home.

May we grow into true understanding — a deep understanding that inspires us to protect the tree on which we bloom, and the water, soil and atmosphere without which we have no existence.

May we turn inwards and stumble upon our true roots in the intertwining biology of this exquisite planet. May nourishment and power pulse through these roots, and fierce determination to continue the billion-year dance.

May love well up and burst forth from our hearts.”

– John Seed, environmentalist, founder of Rainforest Information Centre in Australia

 

On this Earth Day, April 22, join us to immerse in nature practices to connect with the Earth and your senses.  From a single leave, we see the whole universe.  Our sense of separateness falls away when we come into contact with the natural world.

In addition to sensory awareness practices, we will explore a Gaia Meditation created by Joanna Macy and Australian environmentalist John Seed, as well as an earth protection practice inspired by Mark Coleman.

This will be the part of a monthly series of nature meditation offerings from March to September, 2017. Sessions are “sign-up as you go.”  No prior meditation experience required.

Sessions will be conducted outdoors so please dress appropriately, with closed-toe shoes, clothing appropriate to the weather, hats, etc. Please bring a water bottle to all sessions, and any meditation props that you find to be helpful (meditation cushion or bench, yoga mat, backjack, etc.). Most sessions will include some gentle movement or walking practice so please offer care for yourself around mobility issues.

For planning purposes, please register online so we know to expect you and we will send an email notification at least 24 hours in advance to in case of location change or cancellation due to weather conditions.

We look forward to exploring our inner and outer world together in nature.

When:
9:30-12pm, Saturday, April 22, 2017

(Meet at 9:15am at 100th St. entrance, Central Park West)

Where:
Central Park (100th St. and Central Park West)

Register at: New York Insight Meditation Center

Fee by donation: Suggested starting donation at $15 but whatever you offer is greatly appreciated and no one is ever turned away for lack of funds.  50% of the donation will be directed to the New York Insight Meditation Center.


Facilitator:

Lin Gordon has practiced insight meditation in the last six years. Her principal dharma teachers have been Jonathan Foust of Insight Meditation Community of Washington, Mark Coleman of Spirit Rock, and Jon Aaron at New York Insight. Inspired by Mark Coleman’s nature practices, she will complete Mark Coleman’s Awake in the Wild Meditation in Nature Facilitators Training in the fall of 2017.

March 25: Spring Equinox Nature Meditation at Fort Tryon Park

Feel the spring air? It’s time to go outdoors and enjoy the aliveness and renewal of the Earth. Join us to celebrate the spring equinox with nature practices. Whether it’s standing in front of a tree or watching a quiet sunset, we can open up our senses and find wisdom and joy by immersing in nature. Let our experiences in nature reveal the dharma and doorways to who we truly are.

This will be the first of a monthly series of nature meditation offerings from March to September, 2017. Sessions are “sign-up as you go.”  No prior meditation experience required.

Sessions will be conducted outdoors so please dress appropriately, with closed-toe shoes, clothing appropriate to the weather, hats, etc.  Please bring a water bottle to all sessions.  There will be park benches to sit on but if you prefer, please feel free to bring any meditation props that you find to be helpful (meditation cushion or bench, yoga mat, backjack, etc.). Most sessions will include some gentle movement or walking practice so please offer care for yourself around mobility issues.

For planning purposes, please register online so we know to expect you and we will send an email notification at least 24 hours in advance in case of location change or cancellation due to weather conditions.

We look forward to awakening in the wild together.

When:
4-6:30pm, Saturday, March 25, 2017

(Meet at 3:45pm at the 190th St. entrance, across the A train 190th St. stop)

IMG_0493

Where:
Fort Tryon Park, in Upper Manhattan, offers spectacular views of the Hudson River, 800 flower varieties, the Cloisters Museum and miles of landscape

Register at: New York Insight Meditation Center

Fee by donation: Suggested starting donation at $15 but whatever you offer is greatly appreciated and no one is ever turned away for lack of funds.


Facilitators:

Jon Aaron has been a teacher at New York insight since 2006. His principal dharma teacher has been Matthew Flickstein of The Forest Way. He trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, and is a certified teacher through the CFM. He has taught over 50 cycles of the seminal curriculum as well as numerous courses for alumni of the program. He completed the Integrated Study and Practice Program at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and the Foundations in Buddhist Contemplative Care at the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. He is the co-guiding teacher of the Makom Meditation Havurah program at the Jewish Community Center. He is a certified Somatic Experience Practitionertm and has most recently completed the teacher training in Mindfulness for Pain offered by Breathworks in England.

Lin Gordon has practiced insight meditation in the last six years. Her principal dharma teachers have been Jonathan Foust of Insight Meditation Community of Washington, Mark Coleman of Spirit Rock, and Jon Aaron at New York Insight. Inspired by Mark Coleman’s nature practices, she will complete Mark Coleman’s Awake in the Wild Meditation in Nature Facilitators Training in the fall of 2017.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Foust, 2016