Tag: silent retreat

Letter From Barbara Brodsky – 2018 Oakwood Fall Retreat

Dear friends

As you may know, our Oakwood retreat is just five months away. That may seem like a long time, but many people need that much time to clear calendars for a week, and Oakwood planning for the retreat committee and teachers begins now.

I realize that some of you may have hesitated to register, as you wondered if John and I would show up, given John’s illness during Oakwood 2017 and my busy life during these past two months since Hal’s stroke. John’s health is much improved, as is Hal’s. I want to reassure you that both John and I plan to be at Oakwood, with deepened dharma drawn from this challenging year. For both of us, this year would not have been endurable without our practices. But we both go past enduring and do continue to find real happiness. This is the fruit of practice, what Aaron calls “The Dharma Path.”

Since January in Brazil, Aaron has been talking enthusiastically to me about his planned direction of teaching, the new year-long course we will begin in September live and on-line (more about that separately), and Aaron’s intention to bring some of the content to Oakwood. Aaron says:

“I might call this course ‘The Spiritual Path’— what it is, why we are drawn to it, in fact, came into incarnation to walk it, and how we may live it. Our two-part focus is waking up and living with love. You learn to use the challenges of daily life as the grist for the mill, to help you wake up. Everything is included—spiritual fatigue, pain, heavy emotion, feelings of shame or unworthiness, feeling out of control, helplessness, anger, confusion, fear, grief. It is all part of practice and of the human experience, all fodder for awakening. Our meditation practices are a vital core … .”

What is this spiritual path? It does ride like a roller coaster at times, with its ups and downs. I’ve been on this roller coaster quite a bit since Hal’s stroke. It may seem to be a simplistic statement, but I am learning to relax and know that it will go up and down, and to let go of trying to hold it steady. Many practitioners reach a point where practice seems to become stagnant or feels too hard and they withdraw or give up, just at the point where new support and dedication are most important.

A retreat is one of the best ways I know to rejuvenate our commitment and practice, and Oakwood is a beautiful venue for a retreat. I am personally very excited about the new course that Aaron and I will offer starting in the fall, and about this retreat, as ways to deepen our practice and support our opening hearts. This year our Oakwood retreat gives us an extra day, too. Aaron, The Mother, John and I look forward to this added time with you and look forward to seeing you there.

With love, Barbara

Retreat Information and Registration



Steiner Spring Retreat | March 9-11, 2018 | Ruth Essig

Ruth shares her experience at this lovely, intimate retreat held in the spring at Steiner House on Geddes Rd. in Ann Arbor, MI…

I wanted to share what an extraordinary weekend it was at the retreat. The Steiner House was an excellent space that accommodated all our needs so well for meditation, separate groups, individual rooms, and food (yum!). It was a small intimate gathering in a safe space that felt supportive of individual inquiry. I’ve learned to trust where I’m guided to be and I’m so grateful for the teachings, healing energy, and sense of community that was nurtured over the weekend.

I am so grateful that my curiosity led me to the Oakwood retreat and now to Ann Arbor, as it’s made my life, inner and outer, richer.

Thanks, Mary, for your feedback on the weather. It had been snowing at home the day we were driving downstate and I was concerned about road conditions, but it was a mostly sunny, balmy day with dry roads. Buds were popping out on trees and bushes there and spring flowers coming up. Yeahhhh!

Tricia joined me on the weekend and this was her first introduction to meditation instruction/teachings and we were talking so much on the drive home that I missed the turn-off to get on 10 to Midland, so we were almost to the Houghton Lake exit before realizing we’d gone too far north on 75!! It was a good hour and a bit out of the way, but also such stimulating conversation that it was well worth it!

Well, that’s it from up north Michigan! I trust that all is well with everyone and look forward to our continued interaction.

Thank you for your loving presence, gassho.

With metta,


Emrich Summer Retreat

Summer Silent Vipassana Retreat

Be a Lamp Unto Yourself

June 13-15 or June 13-19, 2015

Retreat Description:

The Buddha said “Be a lamp unto yourself.” How do we access that lamp and live from our deepest heart and truth, with wisdom and compassion? The primary focus of the retreat is to deepen vipassana practice and gain insight into how to bring what we learn into practice in the world.  We will also include heart centered practices like Lovingkindness meditation. The retreat will be held in silence except for instruction and discussion periods and daily dharma talks.

We also will focus on the simultaneity of everyday and Ultimate experience.  For example, how do we hold ourselves and others compassionately in our hearts when fear or anger are present, and also rest in that place that is truly empty of fear or anger but with no denial of them on the relative level? What allows us to express our deepest inner being and what blocks it? The Entity we call The Mother may incorporate in an optional session one or several afternoons,. to help those who wish to participate  to come into this heart centered space through sharing energy and a few words.

Registration deadline is May 29, 2015

Date: June 13-15 or June, 13-19, 2015

Where: Emrich Center, Brighton, MI

Teachers: Barbara Brodsky, John Orr and Aaron  
with Lisa Zucker

Level: All levels

Cost: $525 for 7 days (6 nights) and $310 for 3 days (2 nights); includes meals and lodging.

Full payment is due June 5, 2015. Your payment/deposit is refundable minus a $25 cancellation-processing fee until May 15, 2015; after that it is refundable only if someone on the waiting list takes your place. 
If full payment is not received by June 5 your place may be reassigned.

Tenting is an option, cost is the same.  All tenters also have a bed reserved for them.

ONLINE REGISTRATION – 7 days (6 nights)

ONLINE REGISTRATION – 3 days (2 nights)

Registration and Information

Check in opens at noon, the retreat begins mid-afternoon Saturday, June 13 and ends Friday, June 19 after lunch. The 3-day retreat will end after the dharma talk on Monday evening. Experienced meditators, with permission of the teacher, may conduct a self-retreat.

The retreat will be held in noble silence, with instructions for beginning and advanced meditators and will include evening talks, optional group meetings and opportunities for private interviews with teachers. Mindfulness throughout the day will be the intention, with alternating periods of sitting and walking practice.

Special rates for young adults:

Deep Spring Center would like to support young adults (18-30) in the cultivation of their meditation practice. We offer them special rates of $115 for the 3-day retreat and $220 for the weeklong retreat. These discounts are given on a first come first served basis. Please contact the retreat registrar at [email protected] before signing up online.

Scholarships are available; inquire if you need financial assistance.

Do everything with a mind that lets go. Do not expect any praise or reward. If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have alot of peace. If you let go completely, you will have complete peace and freedom and your struggles with the world will come to an end.  Ajahn Chah


What is a Meditation Retreat?

A meditation retreat is a wonderful opportunity to experience our own inner being while sharing in the support of others. Mindfulness throughout the day will be a focus, with alternating periods of sitting and walking practice. The retreat will be held in silence, free of conversational talking.

A typical day at retreat includes instruction for beginning and advanced meditators, numerous perious of sitting and walking meditation, optional small group meetings or private interviews with the teachers, optional group instruction or discussion with Aaron each afternoon, optional yogo, a rest or personal periods, and an evening dharma talk.

This kind of retreat may not be appropriate for all people. If you have concerns about your emotional stability under the pressures of a deeply introspective meditation experience, please discuss your concerns with a Deep Spring teacher prior to registering.

If finances are a concern, please let us know. Scholarships are available. Registration fees cover room and board. Teachings are offered on a dana basis.

Insight Meditation

Insight Meditation (vipassana) is a simple and direct practice: the moment to moment investigation of the mind/body process through calm, focused awareness which allows us to experience sensations, emotions, thoughts and consciousness with greater clarity and balance. This frees our mind from conditioned patterns of self-centeredness, negativity and confusion, and opens our heart to deeper wisdom and compassion. This process of opening compassionately to ourselves moves from the sitting period to the whole of our lives. Each moment is practice for our growth toward wholeness and harmony.

The meditations derive from Buddhist traditions but no special religious beliefs are necessary to their practice. Along with vipassana, we will work with the practices of loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity, and with Pure Awareness meditation.

There will be separate instruction periods to meet the needs of students with different levels of meditation experience.

Location and Schedule

The retreat will be held at Emrich Center, southwest of Brighton, Michigan. This 
26-acre retreat facility lies within 5,000 acres
 of rolling, wooded state land. Wildflowers abound in the Emrich meadows; butterflies are around each bend; deer graze on the lawns; the state land holds serene walking trails and beautiful vistas. 
A clean lake offers refreshing swimming just a short walk from the meditation hallTenting is permitted.

Information | Registration