Day of Reflection

Silence is a source of great strength. ~Lao Tzu

For almost two years Sarah McLean was living and working at a traditional Zen Buddhist training center where there were many opportunities for silence and reflection. In addition to the daily sitting periods (meditation) and kinhin (walking meditation), and monthly day of reflection, there were week-long silent retreats (called Sesshins), and even longer retreats in the summers and winters (called Angos).

During these retreats, practitioners sat in silent meditation, ate in silence, and worked in silence. When absolutely necessary, they communicated through hand gestures and written notes. Yes, it was a big challenge to stop the verbal (and mental) chatter. Yet, over time, everyone settled in and began to appreciate the quiet and how subtle their awareness became. Silence is a friend and teacher. It reveals simplicity, interconnectedness, honesty, and the beauty of creation. It can also help you to glimpse the truth of who you really are.

If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. ~William Blake

The Retreat:

The Day of Reflection is a silent meditation retreat led by Sarah McLean and colleagues at the McLean Meditation Institute in Sedona, Arizona. It if offered monthly.

The retreat is a rare opportunity to unplug from the bombardment of sound, take a respite from technology, put aside your to-do lists, and dive deeply into your interior. . Along with silent meditations, there will be a walking meditation, a wisdom talk, a guided inquiry practice, and a council practice. The focus of the Day of Reflection retreat is the practice of Noble Silence. The retreat is designed to:

  • Enhance your ability to bear witness to your ever-changing relationship with your environment, body, and mind as you journey on the path to awakening.
  • Reflect on your life through the lens of various vows and practices from the Yoga Sutras and Zen Buddhism including non-violence, generosity, contentment, and honesty.
  • Give you the space to practice self-inquiry asking earnest questions such as, Who am I? Why am I here? What vows do I want to live by? How do I find stabilized freedom, peace, and joy?

Participants are asked for a sincere commitment to the standard of the retreat and to remain in silence during and between meditations, with the exception of the discussion sessions and the closing circle.

Details:

The retreat is offered on the fourth Saturday of each month from 9:00 am -5:00 pm

Held at the McLean Meditation Institute, find it on Google Maps. There is plenty of onsite parking.

Coming Early or Staying Longer?  You are invited to join a Silent Meditation Session on Friday and/or Sunday morning from 9:00-9:45 am with Martin Birrittella at no charge. On Sunday afternoon, join a Meditation & Mindfulness discussion and guided practice from 2:00-3:00 pm with Sarah McLean and other meditation teachers. There’s no need to pre-register for either program.

Registration:

The retreat fee is $95. Pre-registration is required and the program is limited to 15 participants. You are encouraged to bring a bag lunch and hiking shoes if you’d like to go outside to eat near the creek.

More information:

  • For those needing simple breath meditation instruction, discounted classes are/or abbreviated instruction is offered prior to the program. This must be pre-arranged.
  • Meditation cushions and chairs are available.
  • Participants should bring their own bag lunch.
  • Accommodations and meals are not provided.
  • For more information as to where to stay or what else to do in Sedona visit this link.

Facilitators:

Sarah McLean  has been a student of meditation since 1989. Sarah McLean calls herself an American Transcendentalist. She’s dedicated her life to exploring meditation: training and living in a Zen Buddhist monastery, working and living in a TM center, and residing in a traditional ashram in India. She also headed up the education programs at Deepak Chopra’s center in California and at Byron Katie’s School for the Work.  Sarah has been teaching silent meditation and mantra practices since 1993. Sarah is also a best-selling Hay House author and sought-after speaker, teaching workshops and retreats throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. She’s determined to create more peace on this planet by helping people wake up to the wonder and beauty of creation through meditation.

Zac Occhiline is a delightful, wise guide into the world of meditation, yoga, and self-discovery. He has studied and practiced yoga since 2000, including Hatha, Kundalini, and Kriya yoga, as well as Ayurveda and Jyotish and the philosophies of Sufism, Shamanism, Reiki, and energy work. Zac has developed a unique and well-rounded understanding of the path of yoga and meditation and offers his students practical advice on how to apply this knowledge toward self-realization. Growing up in Sedona has given him a deep appreciation and love for the wilderness. He has hiked and backpacked throughout the deserts of Arizona and considers nature to be his biggest teacher. Through his yoga and meditation practice, as well as nature’s influence, he has found the stability that allows him to better understand his own nature, which helps him guide others to discover theirs.

Martin Birrittella has been meditating since he was in college and has since made it a priority to immerse himself in his spiritual life. He lived in an ashram (a meditation community) with a guru for many years, and is well-versed in the effects of meditation and expanded awareness. Marty was the founder and president of several successful well-known public companies, and when he turned 41, he retired to fully devote himself to his spiritual practices. Through meditation, Marty awakened to creative practices in meditation as he turned to painting, painting “by ear” as he calls it, guided by his inner knowing. He also is the author of many books which came to him the same way. He is a gifted facilitator who loves to share his approach of the practice of self-inquiry. He reveres nature and the outdoors and does a walking meditation every day in the wilderness. Find out more about him here.

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