I had a wonderful retreat. The cabin and setting was ideal - quiet and peaceful. For me the retreat was very helpful to integrate my practice more deeply. I feet the retreat had a wonderful belnd of teaching, question time, and practice sessions. The discussions and the shared experiences helped me understand my own practice. Thanks.
The retreat was great, as I expected. Great teachings & the meditation schedule was excellent. I found the food plentiful & good (even the carrots were tasty.) If only my meditation after retreat could be as focused as during retreat!
I want to thank you for creating a safe, quite and mindful place so I could focus on my practice without distractions and worries. It had been over 2 years since I had a chance to meet with Michael and his guidance and interest in my practice has energized me to go further. The food was great, plenty of healthy vegetables and other great dishes. Having the time to watch the videos on my computer actually worked well and allowed me to combine meditation sessions and classes as I saw fit. I definitely could have stayed longer!
This July retreat was a very good experience for me. The accommodations were ideal and I am very appreciative of it. The cooking and meals were wonderful. My personal experience was one of growth and opening. My patterns became very evident the first few days. Because of the setting, many of the ordinary obstacles were very easily set aside. The interviews with Michael were very helpful. I will look forward to future retreats.
As a meditator for over a decade, this presentation of mindfulness and insight in the context of true realization is the best and most helpful teaching that I have ever encountered. Michael Gregory's presentation of Buddhist philosophy is at once, both crystal-clear and deeply impactful to my own spiritual growth. In the retreat, many of my long-held spiritual assumptions have been challenged, my doubts dispelled, and a keener understanding of Buddhism and the end of suffering have grown immensely. To me, it is amazing to have this resource right in my backyard, having traveled extensively seeking effective Dharma instruction. My practice has new life, after having been stalled for some time. Thanks to Michael and the local community of meditators. I urge anyone with the slightest interest in realization to attend a retreat. It has been well worth the effort for me.
My experience in the 10 day retreat was very intense. The first three days of the retreat were like hell, My body hurt, my knees, back and head were killing me. I needed sugar like mad, it was very hard to get up at 5:00 am, concentration was a great challenge. I thought this would be like a Reality TV Show, "let's see who lasts till the end of the retreat without killing someone." The following days I tried to do my best. I knew I needed to have the right intention. I was thirsty and hungry to learn this information that for sure would change my life, forever. It was hard. The senses like wild horses were so difficult to control and direct. Fortunately, my past experience in meditation and application of Michael's instructions finally helped me to meet the pain in my body and go beyond, to deeper states of mind. The explanation of "Dependent Co-arising" is what I always wanted to learn, I felt so blessed and lucky and, it was so simple, incredibly simple and deeply complex at the same time. Every night before going to bed I would review the printed sheets on Dependent Co-arising, in my mind I was happily repeating: "This is it, this is it." Through my participation in the retreat my perception of myself, the world, and of the people around me changed forever. I felt empowered from kindness towards myself and the whole world around me, a power that came from an enormous gratitude to the universe for allowing me to have all these experiences and understand what I was understanding, gratitude to Michael, to the amazing group of participants in the retreat for their support and care, and for the powerful atmosphere created every day in meditation that helped me to see and understand. In reflecting, I have feelings of immense gratitude and humility. Thank you.
First I did a weekend group retreat on loving-kindness, which was a fantastic way to open the heart in readyness for the solo retreat, and also to get accustomed to the accommodations, center, etc. My recent retreat was wonderful. It went amazingly smoothly - thank you so much for everything. I think you all did an amazing job taking care of us and from a practice perspective it was one of the deepest practice experiences I've ever had. All in all, PERFECT. Looking forward to seeing you again soon.
The retreat teachings were informative and great to focus me and give me direction with daily sittings. The teachings were clear, insightful and gave me ways to shape the day's sitting sessions. The retreat went great for me, and I'm sure it's been said many times, but I felt that I could've stayed a full 30 days or more delving in to this rich practice. That is not to say that every day was happy. There were great highs of the richest, yet simplest joy I've maybe ever experienced, but also great lows of working, days on end with the anxiety and fears of confused view. The overall effect of this was a great calm in leaving Florida and returning home; a great openness to meet whatever was waiting with a smile, or at least a patient open heart. Still today as I sit in practice (now August) I am working with some of the practices that I was working with in retreat, and try to infuse (non-dogmatic and very general!) nuggets of what I have learned about myself through my practice into the yoga classes that I teach, maybe planting seeds in others toward a mindful life. Of course my practice at home is at times much more scattered than it was in retreat, but I try to mitigate my expectation of that level of clarity to continue with gratitude for the backbone of a practice that sustains loving-kindness daily. In terms of what could be done better, I have little to say. Everyone was so gracious and kind, that even when I was confused on things, it was quickly resolved.
Sorry to be tardy in responding - I did the retreat and then had to travel to visit my family - takining care of two members, who are both having new challenges with their respective health. I would not have been able to be here for my brother in a way that has been so beneficial for all of us without the retreat. I'm able to be with him quietly and just breathe. I've done metta with him and some quided meditations that were beneficial for both of us. I've seen incredible changes in his ability to calm himself. I go home to my Mom with severe Alzheimer's and watch the arisings and fallings all day. The retreat solidified my knowledge that I am creating my reality from moment to moment and that if i don't like the reality I've created I can see things differently. I also know I have have much work to do. I need more retreat time. I thank Michael for his close and attentive listening and look forward to seeing all of you in September.
A 30-day retreat is a special opportunity to calm down, relax and be quiet - really quiet. The retreat center is an ideal location, serene and quiet, with a lovely meditation hall and a beautiful yard and garden to walk and sit. It's wonderful to have a daily schedule providing structure and time on one's own to relax and exercise. This enabled me to let go of busy rountines and busy habits to focus on meditation and Michael's teachings -- and attempt to be mindful. And having Michael available for meditation interviews 3x per wk is invaluable. Listening to assigned recorded teachings at my own pace in the lovely library worked out very well -- and the meals were excellent. Natalie did a super job -- and she is a wonderful restorative yoga teacher, massage therapist and so loving. She is an inspiration. How fortunate we were to have her there. It's motivating to compare retreat life with one's life out of retreat --- and begin to make changes. Having done 2 retreats, I strongly encourage anyone who wants to deepen his/her meditation practice - at any level. "Just do it!" Thank you so much to Michael and everyone. It couldn't have been better.
I had the privilege of participating in 10-days of the 30-day retreat this past June. It was a wonderful opportunity to work on deepening my practice. Michael’s availability for instruction and support created an individualized retreat. The opportunity to stay in a simple cabin on the beautiful retreat grounds eliminated any imagined obstacles. And thevegetarian food served rounded out the experience. I am grateful to have had these 10-days and I look forward to more retreats in the future. My only complaint was that 10 - days are not enough.
The retreat was the best gift i gave to "myself" and everyone i love. Words would not do justice to describe the beautiful depth of understanding i came across but i'll try........It's a fine line to know what to do and actually doing it. The retreat created the space for transformation to unfold....and in silence, quietly, i witnessed the alchemy of simple love, break open yet another layer from the shell of my heart. The immense ongoing support i got from Michael and the presence of the community was overwhelmingly touching . Compassion galore ! The teachings as always ......a magnificent truth ..... i am home breathing simply , humbled and grateful to have had this opportunity. I look forward to the next retreat.....this is absolutely a must....and i frankly can't imagine not taking the time to do this every year...unless i want my life to remain a soap opera! ...This is the beginning of the end .... My life has turned into Cartoon network instead and i delight in bursting laughing out loud at the insanity that i find myself concocting from time to time ! We see the world as we are...Merci mille fois. One cannot see new horizons until one has the courage to lose sight of the shore.... Sarasota i shall be back! Blessings with love and respect.