The Joys of a City Retreat

As urban beings, we need rest: physical, mental, emotional, psychological. And, we need a break from the usual routines of working too much—or worrying about our work or lack of work—and taking care of our family and home. In the Buddhist meditation tradition, we practice sitting still to offer ourselves a change, a break from habitual routines; and an opportunity to look inward, and outward. This opportunity is an enriching time to be quiet and to bring body and mind together in the same place at the same time—which might be a big change from our daily experience.

If you are an ambitious person who works hard and strives for improvement, learning how to be right where you are without doing anything is a very useful practice, as well as a very challenging one. Just being able to sit in meditation for a morning, or an hour, is an act of bravery. We are so used to being busy or entertained all the time, we lose track of how absent we are to our surroundings—and to the people in our lives, the people we love. In meditation practice, we return to being present to our body and mind with every breath; in this way we experience the essence of being human—right on the spot.

By cultivating stillness and a quiet mind, we extend friendliness to ourselves and we become more available to the people in our life. Meditating is an act of patience, an act of kindness we offer to ourselves. With this basic attitude of openness and friendliness toward ourselves, it’s possible to relate with others genuinely, kindly, and to make a true change in the world.

As it so happens, I’ll be leading a weeklong retreat at the New York Shambhala Center August 11-17. I invite you to join us. Sitting retreat follows a strict schedule, so it’s a great opportunity for surrendering yourself to full participation, letting go of projects, worries, and regrets. It’s a wonderful way to create mental space for yourself. There are talks, with opportunities for question and discussion, on topics like: the common challenges we experience in meditation and how to work with those; boredom; cultivating compassion; and learning to enjoy silence.

You could come for the week, or any number of individual days—provided you can commit to participating fully for the day. Click here to read more about it. 

It would be great to see you there!

by Acharya Emily Bower


Join visiting Acharya Emily Bower for our week long meditation retreat at the Shambhala Meditation Center of New York on August 11th-17. Click here for more details!