Sunday, February 21, 2010

Silent Meditation Retreat

Michael Hall PhD
Dates: Friday, June 11 (5 pm) to Sunday June 13, 2010 (after lunch)
Location: Light on the Hill Retreat Center (

Cost: $295.00 (see details)
This retreat is held in silence, except for teachings by Michael.
The purpose of maintaining external silence is to encourage the development of internal silence. Only when the thinking mind is silent can spiritual transformation occur. When we are quiet and able to focus on the workings of our own mind, we inevitably become aware of how noisy our mental activity is. Paying attention to this noise, which is the content of our thoughts, is the most direct practice for waking up.
Time dedicated to silence, especially in the setting of a spiritual retreat, creates a profound opportunity to observe and experience how trivial and meaningless this constant mental busyness is. By careful self observation, we can grow sufficiently detached from identifying with the passing content of our own mind that we effortlessly lose interest in it. With this perceptual shift, an entirely new and unfamiliar world opens to us.
Come and join us in a supportive group environment in a beautiful natural setting at Light on the Hill Retreat Center. Discover for yourself the wonder of Presence Awareness. Our goal is nothing less than to realize our full potential as human beings by disappearing to who and what we have always thought we are.
We encourage full-time, residential attendance for many reasons. The depth of involvement in the shared group experience is sharply magnified for those who are able to commit to full-time, on-site attendance. Even a very brief (two-day) physical separation from the ordinary preoccupations and attachments of our daily life is enormously powerful, especially when coming together with others with the shared intention of spiritual growth. Depriving oneself even so briefly of the familiar comforts and structures the ego depends on can liberate enormous energy. Accommodation to schedules and group living helps to bring into sharp relief ego-based attachments that cannot easily be seen otherwise.
Although primarily focused on residential training, we also will again make it possible for those who cannot stay over to attend part or all of the retreat. Those attending will have a wonderful opportunity to devote full attention to trusting in and allowing the progressive disappearance of self-centered striving. Only then can awareness operating freely in the world emerge for the benefit of all beings.

Michael Hall, PhD is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Binghamton, NY. Michael studied and practiced Zen Buddhism for many years beginning in 1978. An initial experience of non-dual awareness emerged in 1982. Like virtually all first glimpses, this experiential awareness was fleeting. Still the appetite for an enduring awakening had taken hold, as well as an absolute faith in the spiritual truths reported by Shakyamuni Buddha and the Zen teachers of ancient China and Japan. Years of frequent silent meditation retreats allowed this awareness to deepen and expand, yet there was still searching for true liberation. The continuous experiential Knowing that this is it emerged many years later after an apparent surrendering of the desire to become anything at all. With this much deeper and more pervasive understanding, there arose simultaneously a reconnection with his childhood roots in the Christian tradition.
Michael now shares this knowledge of Self with a growing number of students. He draws on the writing and teaching of contemporary and historical mystics, joining the common threads in Christian, Buddhist, Advaita, and Non-Dual traditions to share a message of the possibility and promise of personal transformation and liberation from egoic illusion.

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