Thursday, August 16, 2012

SIG 2012 Spiritual Retreat

Friday, October 5th - Sunday, October 7th, 2012
Durant Nature Park - Raleigh, North Carolina

The Self Inquiry Discussion Group of Raleigh (SIG) will be hosting its fourth weekend retreat in October of 2012. The dates of the retreat are Friday, October 5th through Sunday, October 7th.
(For information on the newly announced Post-SIG Retreat Intensive with Bart Marshall and Deborah Westmoreland, Monday October 8 through lunch Wednesday October 10, click here.)
We have finalized our list of speakers and are honored to announce that we have confirmed Jan Frazier, Michael Hall, Bob Harwood, Paul Hedderman, Bart Marshall, Bruce Joel Rubin, Mike Snider, and Deborah Westmoreland, plus a special SIG panel. Some information on each speaker is provided below.
The cost of the retreat this year is $250, which includes lodging (with caveats) and food. For our first retreat (2009), all of the speakers paid their own travel costs. In subsequent years, we increased the fee in order to pay the speakers' travel expenses. This year, we want to cover their travel and offer each an honorarium. We want to emphasize, however, that, as with every past year, we do not want someone to miss the retreat for reasons of cost. If cost is a serious issue that will make or break your attendance, please let us know! We will do our absolute best to work with you to make sure you get here.
To register for the event ($250), please send payment via PayPal to (as a "Personal" > "Other" payment). PayPal is very much preferred, as it decreases paperwork. However, you are also more than welcome to send a check. Instructions for each are below:
PayPal (preferred):
  1. Click the "Send Money" tab at the top of your account.
  2. Put "" in the "To" field - and $250 in the "Amount" field.
  3. Below these fields, you'll see two tabs: "Purchase" and "Personal". Click the "Personal" tab.
  4. It'll read "This money is being sent as a:" — check the "Other" circle.
  5. Hit "Continue" and follow to completion.
If that won't work for you, mail a check payable to Luke Roberts:
Luke Roberts
79 Cedar Terrace Rd. Apt. B
Chapel Hill, NC 27516
Be sure to include your name and contact information with the payment. On PayPal, use the optional "Email to recipient" for this purpose.
We will be at the same facility as last year: Durant Nature Park, Raleigh, NC. This means that, in addition to the 60-person attendance cap, we are limited in terms of lodging resources. There are 22 bunks, which are first-come-first-served. There are 16 army cots, which, judging from last year, do not provide the most luxurious sleeping experience - please bear this in mind. There will be plenty of camping space. We encourage those who live locally or have friends and relatives in Raleigh to stay with them in order to free up space at the lodge.
Finally, this event will be "advertised" primarily by word-of-mouth and so we encourage you to pass along this and all subsequent emails to those who you feel may be interested in attending.
You are also always more than welcome to email with questions.
The Speakers
Jan Frazier
Until the summer of her fiftieth year, Jan Frazier lived a life typical for a well-educated, middle-class American woman. A divorced mother of two teenagers, she was making a modest living writing and teaching writing. Following a Catholic childhood in Miami in the 1960s, she had studied English in college and graduate school. In her late twenties, longing for hills and snow, she moved to New England, where she was active in the peace movement. But the inner peace she sought always eluded her.
Then, in August 2003, she experienced a radical transformation of consciousness. Fear fell away from her, and she was immersed in a state of causeless joy that has never left her. While she has continued her life as writer, teacher, and mother, she has discovered it is possible to live a richly human life free of suffering. Her wish now is to communicate the truth that within every person is a pool of calm well-being that waits patiently to be stirred to life.
When Fear Falls Away: The Story of a Sudden Awakening (Weiser Books, 2007) is Jan's day-by-day account of the shift in consciousness and its alteration of her life. Her poetry and prose have appeared widely in literary journals and anthologies. Her poetry collection, Greatest Hits, was published by Pudding House, and she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has been inspired by Gurumayi, Krishnamurti, and Eckhart Tolle, but the joy she lives in belongs to no particular tradition, and is available to all. Jan lives in southern Vermont. Check out her website here:
Michael Hall, PhD
A clinical psychologist in private practice in Binghamton, NY, Michael Hall practiced Zen Buddhism for 25 years before his sudden Awakening in 2002. In addition to traditional psychotherapy, he now teaches the direct path to spiritual awakening to a growing number of students, as well as to his clients. His first book, Awake and Alive: Spiritual Awakening in Daily Life is due out soon. For samples of Michael's writing, plus MP3s and videos, please go to: and
Bob Harwood
Bob Harwood, 68, owns two businesses, and currently moderates the website. He has written two books about non-dual spirituality: A Path to Christ-Consciousness, Non-Conceptual Awareness Practice as a Doorway to the Infinite, and Pouring Concrete, A Zen Path to the Kingdom of God. He has a wide range of interests that include ballroom dancing, mountain climbing, architectural design, construction, and personal finance, among others. He is currently writing a book titled Financial Enlightenment.
Bob began trying to understand reality at the age of 19, and spent the next twenty years reading and thinking about numerous existential issues. At the age of forty he began meditating and shortly thereafter had a life-changing experience of cosmic consciousness. Afterwards, he began going on silent retreats, and joined a Zen group. He started an ecumenical church, The Very Center, to encourage meditation, and began writing a newspaper column about non-duality. After spending many years as a Buddhist dharma teacher, he eventually left that tradition in order to teach non-denominationally. Today he gives satsang at Unity Churches and elsewhere. Check out an essay he wrote in the TAT Forum here:
Paul Hedderman
Paul Hedderman has been involved with the recovery community since 1988, and has been leading workshops and holding talks on recovery and non-dual realization for 18 years. Many of his talks are available on his website at:
Bart Marshall
After a long journey that took him from the jungles of Vietnam to Richard Rose's backwoods farm in West Virginia, Bart came to the end of seeking in 2004. For samples of Bart's writing, please visit, or these sites: and He also appears in the spiritual documentary, Closer than Close.
Bruce Joel Rubin
Oscar-winning screenwriter and director Bruce Joel Rubin (Jacob's Ladder, Ghost, Deep Impact, My Life, Time Traveler's Wife) has been a spiritual practitioner and teacher since the late '60s, and has taught popular Kundalini yoga and meditation classes in New York and Los Angeles for many years. In October 2010 he had a sudden Awakening during a SIG retreat weekend. To listen to MP3s of some of his talks, please go to
Deborah Westmoreland
Deborah's spiritual curiosity began in tenth grade when she read Siddhartha and Franny and Zooey, and became obsessed with understanding their underlying Buddhist teachings. What followed was a decades-long journey that took her deeply into Buddhism and Christianity, and finally culminated in a sudden Awakening in 2010. She appears in the spiritual documentary
Meetings with Remarkable Women, and is currently working on a book of spiritual essays. Read one of these essays, Hacking Back to The Wild: A Testimonial, on the TAT Forum.
Mike Snider A country boy who found the truth without a teacher and in spite of being raised in the bible belt.
No matter what I seem to think,
I have never thought.
To think that I could ever think
Is something that I've been taught.
No matter where I seem to be,
I have never been.
Believing that I ever was....
Is my own original sin.
Sometimes tragic, sometimes funny
That I could have been fooled for so long,
How could this simple, obvious truth
Been taken so completely wrong?
So weary I am of late,
Toting this old burdensome load.
No need in pointing fingers
For something I've bestowed.
I know the way of freedom now,
The way that can't be taught:
Abidance as dynamic constancy
Beyond any school of thought.
The Self Inquiry Discussion Group provides an opportunity to meet with others involved in the search for Truth and Self-definition via Self-inquiry. Our meetings consist of an informal and open discussion of paths, teachers, techniques, philosophical and spiritual systems, and possible ways and means for expediting the search. The discussions are not academic or theoretical, but rather focus on our own personal experiences as seekers. There is usually also a period of silent meditation at some point during the evening.
Most people who continue to come to our meetings are not concerned with "Why should I seek Self-realization?" but rather, "What is the best way to go about it?" There is a paradox in that we use words to talk about that which is beyond words, and although there is often talk of paths and things to do, there is also general agreement that the best approach is subtractive: that is, rather than try to accumulate more spiritual and worldly knowledge, doubt the truth of all you think you already know.
If you find yourself drawn to teachers like Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, Richard Rose, Ramana Maharshi, Douglas Harding, Tony Parsons, Franklin Merrell-Wolff, Eckhart Tolle, Adyashanti, and the ancient masters of Zen, Advaita Vedanta, and Christian Mysticism, you may find the retreat and our meetings very worthwhile.
For more information on the Raleigh SIG group, please check out our Web site:

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