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Sat. November 24 – Thanksgiving Meditative Hike to Hook Mountain, Rockland Lake State Park (on the Long Path)

 

“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

 

Register

Immerse in the peaceful beauty of autumn in the Hudson Valley before winter arrives. This guided, meditative hike takes the scenic route along the Long Path—into the Rockland Lake State Park and up Hook Mountain (698 ft). Enjoy expansive vistas only 1.5 hours outside of the city, and an extraordinary space designated by the New York Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area.

As we head into deep fall, 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

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 fall away in nature.  The dynamic outdoor conditions will be a perfect container for mindfulness practices.

The hike will be approximately from 10am – 3pm, with stops for meditation practices and an hour long lunch break.  It’s a relatively moderate hike, but there are sections where you need to go up and down, so hiking shoes and a pair of hiking poles will be handy.

Who: Lin Gordon

When: 8:15am-3pm, Saturday, November 24, 2018

Where: Rockland Lake State Park, South Entrance on Route 9W and Lake Road (parking lot #4). Valley Cottage, NY. (299 Lake Rd. Valley Cottage, NY, 10989). There is a picnic table under a big tree near the toll booth of the parking lot. 

Public Transportation: Coachusa.com (Weekend schedule)

From 42nd St., Port Authority: Leave on the 8:15 am bus going to Rockland Lake

From George Washington Bridge Terminal: Leave on the 8:40 bus going to Rockland Lake

Destination: Rockland Lake (Lake Road and Route 9W) in Valley Cottage, NY

Please make sure that you leave ample time to get to the bus gate.  You can get ticket on the bus or from the window on the ground floor.

Arrival Time: Bus arrives approximately at 9:35 a.m.  After arriving, walk across the street (Route 9W) and walk into Rockland Lake State Park, South Entrance.  Keep walking along the path for 2 minutes, we’ll meet a picnic table right next to the park lot.  Restrooms will be available.

Return Trip: The bus runs hourly and arrives at pickup at approximately 25 minutes past each hour.  Bus station is right across where they drop off in the morning.

Drivers: Expect an $8 parking fee. Arrive by 9:45 a.m. and drive into the Rockland Lake State Park, South Entrance on Route 9W and Lake Road, Valley Cottage, NY. (299 Lake Rd. Valley Cottage, NY, 10989).  There is another parking lot about a mile further north on Route 9W (parking lot #2).  Please make sure you’re at the right one.  South Entrance parking lot is an open space with a lots of picnic tables and a large building complex.

We aim to start the hike at 10am and will walk to the trailhead together from the parking lot.

Registration Fee: Sliding scale from $30 – $85.

Register at NYIMC.org

No prior meditation experience needed.

Bring

Wear

  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Comfortable athletic clothing (cottons are discouraged)
  • Hat
  • Jacket
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses

Winter Renewal Silent Weekend Retreat – President’s Day Weekend, 2019

Register

Every season has its unique gifts. As a season for deep rest and renewal, winter provides us a unique opportunity to step away from our active life and come into deep introspection and regenerate.

To help you come into a deeper rhythm with the natural world, Lin Gordon and Lee Steppacher will weave nature-based meditation practices throughout this silent weekend retreat. We will spend extended time outdoors and participate in guided meditation and mindful walks to open our sense of awareness, and sinking deeply into our connection to the world around us. Participants will learn to develop a receptive presence and contemplative relationship with nature, opening the possibility to experience beautiful states of joy, peace, wonder, love and connection with oneself, each other and the larger web of life.

Specific practices will be chosen based on weather, location and the group, but will include foundational mindfulness, movement and wisdom practices that are particularly aligned with being in nature.

The weekend will be held primarily in silence, allowing you to cultivate the capacity to be present. There will be opportunities for limited discussion and questions, and talks will be offered as guidance. Guided body movement will also be offered daily.

Activities will not be strenuous, but significant time will be spent outdoors. Appropriate outerwear will be needed.

This weekend is appropriate for people with all levels of experience. No prior meditation experience needed.

Location: Eastover, Lenox, Massachusetts

Date: Friday, 4pm, February 15, 2019 – Sunday, 3pm, February 17, 2019

(You can stay extra nights at the retreat center after the retreat ends. You just need to book separately.)

Teachers: Lin Gordon and Lee Steppacher

Register

 

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Transportation: 

Bus from NYC: The easiest way is to take the Peter Pan Trailways bus from Port Authority to the Lenox, MA stop.

Directions: You can find more detailed directions for driving, bus, rail, car services on the Eastover site.

Packing List

Below is a sample packing list for our time outside:

  • Bring layers
  • Warm hat
  • Warm gloves
  • Neck gaiter or scarf
  • Waterproof pants (ski or winter hiking pants)
  • Winter jacket
  • Winter/waterproof hiking boots (if possible)
  • Thermal long underwear shirts and pants
  • Wool socks
  • Headlamp
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle
  • Vacuum-insulated bottle for hot drinks
  • When outside cotton clothes are discouraged

Resources: Clothing and Gear Tips for Cold-Weather Hiking

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/cold-weather-hiking.html


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

IMG_6298

Lin has been practicing insight meditation in the last eight years under the guidance of Jonathan Foust (Insight Meditation Community of Washington), Mark Coleman (Spirit Rock Meditation Center), as well as various teachers from 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.

Besides meditation, Lin is a reiki practitioner and currently taking kundalini yoga teacher training.   She is certified in wilderness first aid.  Out in the world, she has been a digital marketer for the last 17 years, and currently serves 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.

 

 

 

Workshop: Block.Build.Be. 2019

People of Color Practicing Earth Wisdom

Organized by Buddhist Peace Fellowship

Date: May 9–12, 2019

Location:  The Watershed Center, Millerton NY

Registration: Applications due January 25th, 2019.  Register at Block.Build.Be. 2019.

Focus: Earth Wisdom and Eco Justice

Attendance: 100% BIPOC: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color

Cost: Fully sliding scale from $0–$3,500, no one turned away for lack of funds.

For full details, please find more info on Block.Build.Be. 2019.

Below is a brief summary from the Block.Build.Be.2019 website:

What kind of gathering is Block Build Be?

While BBB gatherings do draw from multiple lineages of Buddhism, please note that this is not a silent meditation retreat or intensive Buddhist study. Rather, it’s a chance to practice #MakingRefuge together, in the words of BBB alum Ed Ng. Sometimes this is quiet, and sometimes it is loud! Always, it centers relationships.

Think:

70% workshops

30% shared dharma practice

100% getting to know amaaaazing people.

We are a multi-lineage crew and welcome folks from many traditions — Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana, all their branches, and non-Buddhists — all working for climate justice. Some of us were raised with Buddhism, some have been studying and practicing for years, others are brand-new to Buddhist teachings or meditation, and still others identify equally or more closely with other spiritual traditions.

From all these streams, we will connect and converge.

  • Exploring the Block Build Be framework
  • Investigating how wisdom can support our eco justice movements
  • Sharing hopes and inspirations, holding space for challenges and frustrations

This gathering is deeply interactive. Together, we will explore the questions tugging most strongly at our hearts. We will engage in collective deep inquiry about our social change work. And we will draw upon the wisdom of the dharma to support us in meeting the issues of our times.

This gathering will strive to prioritize accessibility. Ableism runs deep in our capitalist society, in our movements, and in our spiritual spaces. Rather than denying that, we will do our best to ensure that this gathering meets the access needs of all participants

Practice: Standing in front of a Tree

In a technology-oriented world we live today, we rarely get the opportunity to have an intimate and deep connection with the natural world and learn from it.  This practice of standing in front of and interacting with a single tree, will help us cultivate the sensitivities and attunement to a living being.  And we can find a tree even in a dense urban environment.

1) Be Called to a Tree

Instead of picking a tree in our mind before the practice, notice where you are standing in your environment, tune into the body first, and sense if there is a tree at and its energy at this moment that you find interesting to connect with.  Follow your curiosity and felt sense.

2) Take in the Whole Tree from Afar

As you approach the tree from afar, take in the whole tree from a distance first.  Take in the height, the shape, and how this tree fits into the its environment as whole.

3) Sense the Tree Upclose

Feel into the environment of the tree as it has a whole mini-ecosystem.  It requires us to perceive with all our senses.  Feel any moss or ferns that may be living on the tree.  The birds on the tree tops.  The insects around. The family and network of living things on this one tree.

Be aware that we are visiting the homes of the animals.  Be careful not to instill fear in them as often we are perceived as the predators.

  • Seeing: Slow approach the tree and look at the tree from root to canopy.  Shunryu Suzuki said, “As soon as you see something, you already start to intellectualize it.  As soon as you intellectualize something, it is no longer what you saw.”  Try to look at the tree as shape, texture, colors without intellectual explanations.  Play with open and close eyes and see how the sight may influence how we sense the tree.
  • Smell: Can you smell the scents of barks and leaves?  What does this tree smell like?
  • Hearing/Sounds:  What do you hear standing in front of this tree?  Bird songs? Leave rustling?
  • Touch:  Touch different parts of the tree – roots, barks, leaves.  Close our eyes and rub against face, skin, and hands.  Can you feel the roughness of the barks – what the tree went through to survive?  This particular sense helps go from the concept of a tree to connecting to the tree.

4) Interact with the Tree – sit, hug, lying down.  Feel the energy exchange.

When you finish taking in the tree upclose, you can feel into the body and sense how you may want to interact with the tree, or how it may want you to be with it.  You can lean your back against the tree trunk and feel a sense of support.  You can hug the tree.  You can sit at the roots.  You can lie down and rest your heads on the roots or between the roots and look up the canopy.   Feel if there’s a sense of exchange between you and tree.

5) Stay a Little Longer

You might be compelled to move on, but stay.  See how the full connections develop.  Notice the quality of impatience, resistance, or boredom .  Feel whatever is arising, take a breath, and resume this meditation.

Quality of a Beginner’s Mind

One helpful quality to bring into this practice is the beginner’s mind – a sense of curiosity and openness.   If you are a one-year old child seeing a tree for the first time, what would you see?  How would you interact and connect with it?

Can we go through this practice without a preconceived notion of what this may feel like?  There is no right or wrong experience, but just be with what arise.

This whole practice takes about 20 minutes.  May a tree bless you and sustain you.

Source: Awake in the Wild, Mark Coleman

Guided Meditation: Making It Happen vs. Letting It Happen

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.”

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

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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

IMG_6298

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 is a certified reiki practitioner and currently taking kundalini yoga teacher training.   She is certified in wilderness first aid.  Out in the world, she has been a digital marketer for the last 17 years, and currently serves 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.

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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:

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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

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.