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Sun. October 20, 2019 – Fall Foliage Hike to Hook Mountain, Rockland Lake State Park (on the Long Path)

“In every walk in Nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir, naturalist

Enjoy a fall day in the peaceful beauty of the Hudson Valley with a guided, meditative hike to connect with nature and ourselves. This hike takes the scenic route along the Long Path—into the Rockland Lake State Park and up Hook Mountain. 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.

Much of the hike will be observed in silence but we will integrate meditation practices throughout the day — allowing our senses to come alive and our sense of separateness fall away. Turning our attention inward allows us to become receptive to both of our outer and inner experiences. The dynamic outdoor conditions will be a perfect container for mindfulness practices.

The hike will be approximately from 10am – 3pm.

Who: Lin Gordon

When: 8:15am-3pm, Sunday, October 20, 2019

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. 

Length and Elevation: Approximately 5.8 miles, 698 ft elevation – Relatively moderate hike, but there are sections of ups and downs, pls bring hiking poles and wear proper hiking shoes.

Public Transportation: Coachusa.com (Weekend schedule)

From 42nd St., Port Authority: Leave on the 8:15 am bus going to Rockland Lake.  Gate 220.  You can buy tickets on the bus if you ran out of time to buy it at the ticket window.

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: Aim to take the 3:30pm bus back to NYC. 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 parking lot #4.  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 – $80.

No prior meditation experience needed.

Bring

Wear

  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Comfortable athletic clothing in layers so you can adjust accordingly – (cottons are discouraged)
  • Wool socks (if possible)
  • Hat
  • Jacket
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses

Mon. Sept. 9, 7pm – Sacred Earth Sangha

Sacred Earth Sangha – Monthly Meetings

New York Insight relaunched the Eco Sangha as the new “Sacred Earth Sangha.” We will meet monthly on the second Monday evening. It will be co-led by rotating NYI teachers, Sebene Selassie, Lin Gordon, and Jon Aaron. We invite all of our Dharma friends to come together as a community and create a this new sangha around deep practice and conscious engagement of the challenges around this global emergency.

Date/TimeTeachersTheme
Aug. 12, 2019: Mon. 7-9pmSebene Selassie, Lin Gordon, Jon AaronFour Elements
Sept. 9, 2019: Mon. 7-9pmLin GordonEarth
Oct. 14, 2019: Mon. 7-9pmSebene Selassie, Jon AaronWater
Nov. 11 , 2019: Mon. 7-9pmLin GordonFire
Dec. 9, 2019: Mon. 7-9pmLin Gordon, Jon AaronAir

Location: New York Insight Meditation Center, 28 W 27th St., 10th Floor (between Broadway and 6th Avenue)

This event has no pre-registration, $15 suggested donation.

May 1 – May 3, 2020: Spring Weekend Retreat, Lenox MA

Every season has its unique gifts. As a season for reawakening and renewal, spring provides us a unique opportunity to see the world with fresh eyes and to feel the wonder of the earth as it comes back to life.

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, May 1, 2020 (arrivals at 3pm) – Sunday, May 3, 2020 (ends at 12pm)

(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

img_3263

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

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 is a mindfulness and nature meditation teacher and has studied insight meditation under the guidance of Jonathan Foust and Mark Coleman.  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 few years, Lin was particularly moved by the power of nature meditation to connect with a deep sense of well-being, love, wonder, resilience, and interconnection with all beings.  Our human-centric worldview dissolves, and we realize we are but a small part of a greater intelligence.   Lin was inspired to share nature meditation as a doorway for personal transformation as well as a form of environmental activism.  

She graduated from Mark Coleman’s Awake in the Wild Nature Meditation Teacher Training in 2017 and has since taught at New York Insight Meditation Center and around the country. She currently participates in Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s Community Dharma Leaders Program (CDL6), which will deepen her skills in sharing the Buddhist teachings with diverse communities.

Besides meditation, Lin is a kundalini yoga teacher and a reiki practitioner. She’s deeply influenced by group dreamwork and studied with Jeremy Taylor. Out in the world, she has been a digital marketer for tech and media industries, and currently serves on the Board of the New York Insight Meditation Center.

She holds a BA from Barnard College, and an MBA from NYU.

June 13 – 19, 2020: Awake in the Wild Nature Retreat, New Mexico

Date: Saturday, June 13 – Friday, June 19, 2020

Location: Vallecitos Mountain Ranch, Taos, New Mexico

Led by Mark Coleman and I will be assisting on this retreat.

As described on Markcoleman.org:

“This retreat will be spent meditating outdoors in the natural beauty and mystery here at Vallecitos Mountain Ranch.  Whether it is during sunset meditations, listening to the soothing sounds of the river, or sitting graced in the stillness of the aspen trees, we will open to the profound serenity and wisdom of nature.

This silent retreat is grounded in the practice of Mindfulness – the capacity o be present to ourselves and our environment. Participants will learn to bring this receptive presence to develop a contemplative relationship with nature. By cultivating an inner quiet and curious spirit we can learn from nature as a perennial teacher. The natural world reveals timeless Dharma teachings that support a natural letting go and a wise relationship to all experience.

Participants will also discover how meditative time outdoors leads to beautiful states of joy, peace, wonder, love and connection with oneself, each other and the larger web of life.

On the retreat there will be guided nature-based meditations, mindful walks, Dharma talks on meditation and nature and group meetings with the teacher. There will be time to relish in the silence outdoors and to explore the wilderness of Vallecitos both in solitude and as part of the group.

To support a depth of meditative awareness, complete silence is maintained throughout the retreat except during meetings with your teachers and group discussion.

This workshop is appropriate for beginners and experienced meditators who are curious about meditation, mindfulness and how to deepen your insight practice and open your connection to the mystery of the natural world.  Be prepared for unexpected delight, mystery, silence and illumination.”

Registration: Vallecitos.org

Practice: Working with Difficult Emotions

“All transformation comes after you come into contact with your body.”

Jonathan Foust

Emotions stay in our body if we don’t process and release them.  Yet if we can develop the capacity to be with them intimately, we can release them once we allow them the space to be fully experienced for a minute or two. 

When we work with difficult emotions, we want to listen to and respect our body’s intuitive intelligence, and let it be the guide to navigate the emotional territory.   Thich Haht Hahn said that we need to hold our emotions like a newborn baby – with the same kind of gentleness, tenderness, and care.

Usually we feel pain in particular areas of our body, not all of the body.  In this meditation, we will establish areas of body that are the pain zones, and areas of body that feel a sense of ease, which we call the non-pain zones.  And we will shift our attention between the pain zones and non-pain zones depending on our emotional capacity and where we are at a particular moment.  We want to keep meeting our edge and soften it. 

Buddhist teachings teach us that there is the wing of wisdom, which is to focus totally on what is true.  And then there is the wing of compassion, which is to hold our experience with care and tenderness.  And we learn to dance skillfully between the two in meditation.  


Begin the meditation:

First feel our body on the Earth, our feet, the weight of our body.  Feel the Earth’s effortless support for us.  Notice that this support is always there, whether we notice it or not. 

Sensing in your body if there is a sense of “okayness” in the body – warmth in the belly, a relaxed jaw, a pain-free elbow and so on.  Sense ease in those areas of the body.  Where in the body do we feel safe?

Notice if there are any areas in the body where there are tension and tightness.  Where are they located?  

Can we be intimately with whatever is arising? Does it feel safe to stay with this?  Listen to your body – if the answer is no, respect it.  Shift your attention back to the areas where you feel at ease and safe.  Perhaps this is not the time to investigate further, for this moment.  You can hold what you can’t hold as an inquiry to investigate in the future.  Hold it with curiosity rather than as a judgement. 

If the answer is “I can” or “I would like to explore,” then stay with your emotions and investigate how the emotions manifest in your body – what are the sensations? Is a tightness around the heart, is it tinkling around the neck, and is it heat in the lower back?  What does fear feel like in the body? What does sadness feel like?  Notice that we stay with our direct experience rather than the stories behind the emotions.

Can you allow the emotions to be fully expressed?  Can you allow them to get as big as they can? Let them fill up the room.  If you can, let them fill up as big as the sky.  Can they be released into the sky, onto the Earth, or to a tree, the sun, or the moon?  Hang out with it a little longer if you can.

If it feels right for you, you can put your hands on the body where you feel you need support and love.   Sometimes one hand on the heart, one hand on the belly helps. 

Once you feel the emotions are fully expressed, ask what does it need from you right now?  What can I best nourished myself right now?  See if there’s a sense of that or an answer that come to you. 

Notice if any of the sensations in your body have shifted during the meditation.  Perhaps the edges between the pain zones and non-pain zones have softened or bled into each other. 

Express gratitude for yourself for staying with the process and this meditation.  Thank the Earth for support.  Extend your well wishes for yourself and all beings on this land and beyond. 

This meditation is based on Jonathan Foust’s body-center inquiry techniques.

July 19 – 26, 2019: Inner and Outer Nature Weeklong Retreat in Colorado

Date: Friday, July 19 – Friday, July 26, 2019

Location: Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center, Jamestown, Colorado

Buddhist teachers David Loy and Johann Robbins will be leading this retreat and I will be assisting them.

The Inner and Outer Nature retreats includes deep nature practice, immersing in the natural world, connecting our inner nature with outer nature, and dissolving separation. Each day includes plentiful time for sitting, hiking/walking meditation, as well as instruction in nature meditation, Dharma talks, and individual and group practice discussions. There is also a two day optional solo. Combining both retreats into a two week retreat is encouraged. Low cost retreat from $550, scholarships available. Register for week one, or register for full 2 week retreat

Complete information

www.impermanentsangha.org

Sat. July 13, 2019 – Summer 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

Enjoy a summer day in the peaceful beauty of the Hudson Valley.  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.

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, July 13, 2019

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.  Gate 220.  You can buy tickets on the bus if you ran out of time to buy it at the ticket window.

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 parking lot #4.  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 – $80.

Register

No prior meditation experience needed.

Bring

Wear

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

June 21 – 23, 2019: Meditation Fusion – Five Teachers, Five Styles

Date: Friday – Sunday, June 21 – 23, 2019

Location: Kripalu Center of Yoga and Health, Stockbridge, MA

Come join me in experimenting different meditation styles at Kripalu on summer solstice weekend.  The key to discover a regular meditation practice is to find a style that resonates with you.  Program will include:

  • Instinctive meditation with Steven Leonard
  • Insight meditation with Lin Gordon
  • Crystal bowl sound meditation with Carlos A. Perez
  • Kundalini meditation with Amanbir Singh
  • The neuroscience of meditation with Jacqueline Lutz.

Learn more about the program and registration.

Sat. June 15, 2019 – Birding and Nature Meditation at Central Park

Register

Bird in the Pepper Tree

Don’t mind my inexplicable delight

in knowing your name,

little Wilson’s Warbler

yellow as a lemon, with a smooth, black cap..

Just do what you do and don’t worry, dipping

branch by branch down  to the fountain….

A name is not a leash.

– By Mary Oliver

Do you know there are approximately 230 different species of birds can be found in Central Park? Some are year round and some would stop by during the spring and fall migration season.  Join Lin Gordon (nature meditation teacher) and Stephen Roylance (retired science teacher) in taking an early morning walk through Central Park, where we will listen to the sounds within and without.

Who: Lin Gordon and Stephen Roylance

When: 8:15am-10:30am, Saturday, June 13, 2019

Where: Meet at 72nd St and Central Park West entrance 

Public Transportation: 72nd St station, 1, 2, 3, B or C by Subway

Registration Fee: Sliding scale from $15, $20, to $25.  Registration is now opened.

No prior meditation or birding experience needed.

Bring

  • Binocular
  • Water
  • Organic bug/tick repellent

Wear

  • Comfortable clothing
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses

Register

May 10 – 12, 2019: Spring Weekend Retreat

Every season has its unique gifts. As a season for reawakening and renewal, spring provides us a unique opportunity to see the world with fresh eyes and to feel the wonder of the earth as it comes back to life.

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, May 10, 2019 (arrivals at 3pm) – Sunday, May 12, 2019 (ends at 12pm)

(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

img_3263

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

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.