I participated in the first retreat in Dec 2008 (also my first meditation retreat- I had never practiced meditation before!). It was a truly unique and powerful experience that I will remember always. First, there was a wonderful sense of community at the retreat- which was created both organically and by the welcoming and humorous reception by Scott (the director). The group convened in beautiful, cozy places- in the communal living room with a wood stove, where we talked and laughed (a lot) and even danced, in the kitchen, where we were served the most flavorful, exciting, and healthful dishes, in and around the retreat appartments, and outside on the different trails in the breathtaking nature surrounding the meditation centers. With this sense of community, but also freedom, to explore and mingle as I pleased, I felt very light and open- receptive to new thoughts, new practices, new rhythms.
The meditation sessions were very intense and challenging. The sessions were well guided- very accomodating to beginners and good for those at higher levels too. There was a good mix of talking about philosophy and of diving into practice. There was a nice focus on paying respect to the masters, to our guides, and to each other. It really felt like we were part of something much bigger than ourselves – and this was both intriging and very grounding. I will admit that it was very difficult at times to participate in the sessions, as they were lengthy and took a lot of patience and focus. At time, I felt like I was held up only by those around me (which is why it was so important that we established a strong feeling of togetherness!)- at times it felt like I was pushing through and barely making it through all of the exercises! But a year later, as I reflect back, this experience has given me the confidence to feel like I can learn any type of meditation. I am not intimidated and feel like I have a basic uniderstanding of how meditaion feels. This experience is key- no amount of reading “about” meditation without doing it could have had the same effect. It was a powerful experience to even just make it through all of the sessions. In times of stress, I still refer back to these sessions. They serve as the well from which I draw particular exercises that I practice during times of duress. I have also stayed connected through facebook and through emails with others from the retreat- and they serve as a supportive community and a reminder to keep up my meditation. This was an amazing experience that was unique and whose effects are still being felt. It opened my eyes to a whole new philosophy and practice that will serve me well now and in the future.
I came to this retreat from a place of searching, weighted down by a health challenge and feeling lost and asleep in my life. Here among the circle Scott brought together, in the quiet and extraordinary place of Jikoji, I really found peace in my body and peace in my mind. I felt awakened, rejuvenated and alive. During this retreat, I began the first step in a journey to transcend many weights that have been haunting me at the present moment. Beyond simply tackling present circumstances, the insights learned, when put into practice, will guide me so I may live a life of greater peace, awareness and a deeper joy.
Each aspect of the retreat was nurturing and integrated – from the various healing modalities – Yoga, Alphabiotics, Qigong Acupunture, Nutrition, to the nourishing healing cuisine mindfully prepared to the mystically beautiful setting of the Zen center in Santa Cruz mountains, all elements were in harmony.
Scott has a beautiful gift of creating warmth and inspiration both as a meditation and workshop thought leader and through bringing together an incredible circle of practitioners and uplifting fellow students. He is at once insightful and wise as a teacher, yet brings wonderful levity and openness to invite each participant to honor your personal journey and awakenings.
Testimonial about the modalities:
The yoga series as guided by Angelica Galland was serene and flowing. It was a comforting yet invigorating compliment to our meditation practice, bridging the mind, body spirit connection.
What set this retreat apart was the incorporation of many healing modalities. At the heart of the retreat was the meditation and mindfulness, yet the other healing aspects were integrated to deepen the experience, including gentle yoga, Alphabiotics, Qigong Acupunture and Nutrition.
It was my first introduction to Alphabiotics, provided by Doug Curtis, which has some similarities to chiropractic treatments, however doesn’t encourage dependency and is intended to integrate left and right brain. Immediately after the treatment I felt a releasing of stress and general sense of levity and wellbeing.
This was also my first exposure to Qigong, which was integrated with Acupuncture, performed by Zen Hwang. I found the experience mystical and transcendental. The awareness Zen had of my health circumstances were validating and wise. I felt refreshed and enlivened.
The cuisine was so mindfully created by Nam Singh, practitioner of traditional Taoist health sciences, each dish was a delightful medley of healing foods each with a purpose that were lovingly choreographed into dishes of divine delight.
Alli Sophia Jones
Founding Partner & CEO
Lumica Consulting – Marketing and revenue optimization strategies for enterprising organizations
Mobile: 415.730.3183 | Add: 420 Napa Street, Sausalito, CA 94965
You have left an astounding impression on this site. I wish you could be here to experience the buzz. I sent out evaluations and received 7 back so far. I will attach them in this email for you to read and forward more to you as they come in.
The most impressive comment I received was a phone call from one of the Directors who wanted to call and personally thank me for offering this class. She said she was here until 9pm last night on the phone with the FDA and felt more at ease than ever in her life. She said she would do whatever to help push this program and offer it here on site! WOW!!
But I would like to thank you sincerely for creating a space of peace and calm that this site has never seen or experienced before. I really am awed and grateful for meeting you and having you give your time to teach us this practice.
Look out for more emails from meJ
I really want to thank you for organizing such a wonderful weekend, also for your leading and guidance before and after the meditations, and all of your support through my discovery of my new practice. I definitely felt the love amongst those that gathered this weekend, and am thankful for the opportunity to join in the flow of the River. 😉 It was a very special time to me and I will always hold that dear to me.
You were so thoughtful to arrange a private space for me which was so nice, I want you to know I really appreciated that. It was nice to be able to retreat somewhere during breaks and savor the moments of awareness in being still without conversation. The yoga, adjustments, and Qi Gong acupuncture were awesome. I am so pleased to have met such wonderful people each sharing their own gifts for the better of the group especially Zen, she is such a sweetie.
I really enjoyed getting to know more about you and the others. It was nice to feel the support with something so new to me. I really missed you all when I left. 😉
Looking forward to the group meditation & seeing you on Sunday.