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Practice Intensives

Practice intensives are intentional experiences for exploration and for deepening our practice. We come together to support each other in a simplified way of living so that we can open our awareness fully to our life and our path. Part of that experience includes giving ourselves permission to experience and work with whatever arises in the context of our practice.There will be opportunities to meet with a teacher each day to help clarify your practice. 

The schedule for intensives is rigorous, but manageable. It is designed to challenge our notions about our own preferences and limitations, and to allow us to settle into deep silence and stillness as a form of inquiry and discovery. Some Appamada intensives are residential, at retreat centers, and others are local, where participants return home each evening. You can find out about upcoming intensives on the Appamada calendar and through the email list.    

What to expect at an intensive

Silence is maintained except for practice discussions with the teacher and group inquiry or question and answer sessions.

Typically there are two zazen periods with walking meditation in between, followed by some kind of activity: a meal, a talk, an inquiry period, a work period, or a tea break, for example. These activities are a continuation of our practice in mindfulness, not a "break" from it. 

Food is simple, wholesome, and vegetarian. There are snacks available if you become hungry between meals. If you have special dietary needs, please make sure to let us know so that we can arrange accommodations. 

We will be sharing an intimate space, so please be mindful of keeping the area around your seat neat and clean.

You will see at least one teacher each full day of the intensive. Any topic that is meaningful for you is fine for practice discussion with the teacher. Please use this precious time of meeting wisely.

Be considerate of others around you, as we are supporting each other and being supported in this practice together. 

You will be engaged in simple chores and helping with cleanup in support of the whole intensive. 

How to prepare for the meditation periods

Strong practice is developed in stillness. You should be able to sit still for 30 minutes. If you have been sitting for shorter periods, one way to prepare is to begin adding one minute per week to your normal sitting period leading up to the intensive.   

If you are confused about how you should be practicing, if you are having struggles or difficulties, please discuss this with one of the teachers.  

If you are not sure whether an intensive is right for you, please ask one of the teachers. 

What to bring

  • A sweater or light wrap if you are easily chilled

  • Any special seating you need, or your preferred sitting cushion. We do have cushions and chairs available.

  • Comfortable clothing for sitting and work practice

  • Any prescription medications you may need

  • A sun hat or rain gear as the weather suggests  

Afterwards: What to tell others about the intensive

Other people are likely to ask you about the intensive. Depending on their genuine interest and their closeness to you, obviously your responses will differ. It is very difficult to convey the essence of this profound experience. In general, though, it is best to keep any explanation simple. I usually simply say, this is a time to step back from our complex daily lives and spend some time in peace and quiet. Most people today have no trouble understanding that need. Your life will manifest whatever you have learned.   And please, continue your daily practice, clarifying and fostering what you have experienced here. 

 

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