Developing Awareness of the Inner Voice:
7-Day Silent Meditation Retreat
(includes 5Rhythms™ Movement Meditation Practice)
With Rabbi David and Shoshana Cooper and Eliezer Sobel
Sunday, December 22 – Sunday, December 29, 2013
Whether you are a beginning or advanced student of meditation, deepen your moment-to-moment awareness in the "friendly" silence at this longtime popular retreat. Enjoy peace of mind and awaken to the boundless nature of "being present" through silent sitting, chanting, walking meditations, insight dialogue and inquiry, and wisdom teachings from Zoharic, Hasidic, Zen and Dzogchen sources.
Click here to download a past schedule for this retreat. Though times and activities will vary slightly, this will give you a general idea of what to expect. Scroll down to read more about "Silent Retreating."
If you're new to Isabella Freedman, check out our Frequently Asked Questions for information about where we're located, arrival and departure times, what to bring, etc.
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Rabbi David Cooper is the author of many books, including The Handbook of Jewish Meditation Practices, God is a Verb and Ecstatic Kabbalah. He has also published a number of audio-sets with Sounds True, including Mystical Kabbalah and Seeing Through the Eyes of God. Rabbi Cooper has led workshops and retreats in the US, Israel, Holland, Poland, New Zealand and Australia. His teachings offer a Jewish perspective that is complemented by the wisdom of other schools including Sufism, Zen and Tibetan Buddhism. www.rabbidavidcooper.com
Shoshana Cooper is an artist, Tea Ceremony teacher, meditation instructor, composer and former nursing instructor. Shoshana has become a leader in the growing popularity of Jewish Meditation. She and David taught at the Jewish Renewal Kallah for twelve years and they lived in the Old City of Jerusalem for the previous eight years. Together with Eliezer Sobel they produced the Songs of Prayer and Silence CD and songbook.
Eliezer Sobel is a certified teacher of the 5Rhythms™ movement-as-meditation practice, which he offers which he offers three times a week as part of this retreat, in addition to his regular teaching and musical support. The 5Rhythms™ work, developed by Gabrielle Roth, is a dancing path of healing that calls the spirit into physical form and propels each unique body™no matter what size or shape™through inertia and resistance to change, taking us on a highly personal journey toward an inner stillness. No dance experience required. Eliezer is the author of Minyan: Ten Jewish Men in a World that is Heartbroken which won the Peter Taylor Prize for the Novel; Wild Heart Dancing; The 99th Monkey; Blue Sky White Clouds: A Book for Memory-Challenged Adults and his latest, Why I Am Not Enlightened. For more information, see eliezersobel.com.
A weeklong silent retreat is one of the essential and most important practices for any spiritual aspirant. Each spiritual discipline and many teachers have unique practices, schedules, relationships between the teachers and students along with other nuances of the training. The retreats offered by the Coopers and Eliezer have their own flavor.
On our retreats, the silence we emphasize has two important qualities: 1) it is "friendly," that is to say we do not have to cut ourselves off from other retreatantsÑa smile or small gesture may be used as long as there is no demand for reciprocation, and 2) the focus of our silence is on the "inner" rather than the outer plane.
So in our "silence," we actually chant and sing together every morning. In some instruction periods, questions or comments are invited from the participants. Retreatants have opportunities to engage teachers, either one-on-one or in small groups. All this is considered part of the silence of social conversation.
Therefore, in our silence we are committed to not engage one another on a social level. We do not have mundane conversations. We do not greet one another verbally. And we refrain from using our cellphones and other technological devices. Why is all this so important? The answer is that something happens deep within each of us when we maintain an outer silence as described. An inner silence for practitioners on our retreats arises after a few days. It is a spaciousness that makes itself known on a very deep level. We experience an ease that is uniquely satisfying and deeply fulfilling on some kind of soul level that is inexplicable. We begin to feel profoundly connected with others around us, even though we are not speaking. And we begin to experience a fascinating integration with our surroundings, nature, and life.
It is true that initially, for the first few days, the experience may feel a bit strange. We are social beings. But we are also very adaptable and soon we begin to realize the extraordinary wonder of the possibility of a moment-to-moment connection with what is happening right nowÑthe magic and mystery of the unfolding NOW. When this happens, the silence becomes a precious gift. Indeed, on our retreats, after the third or fourth day, retreatants love the silence so much they want it to last as long as possible.
The fees for retreats are for room and board only. There is no tuition for teachers, however, free will donations will be invited at the end of the retreat.