Friday, August 9, 2019

Mindfulness at MorningSun

This past July my fiancĂ© and I went on a Treasure of Life Mindfulness Retreat at MorningSun Mindfulness Center in the Plum Village tradition. Plum Village is a Buddhist monastery in France founded by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay). The goal of the Plum Village community is to create "a healthy, nourishing environment where people can learn the art of living in harmony with one another and with the Earth."

Likewise, the MorningSun community in New Hampshire strives "to be a resource for people working to create a better world by sharing practices that can build peace, and develop vital and thriving relationships between individuals, families, organizations and the Earth." MorningSun was co-founded by Fern Dorresteyn and Michael Ciborski, who lived and trained at the Plum Village monastery for nine years.

The four day retreat was busy, with activities beginning at 7 am and ending at 9 pm. We had daily Dharma talks to learn more about the Plum Village tradition and ways to practice mindfulness, being aware and present in the moment. There were multiple opportunities for meditation everyday, including sitting meditation, working meditation, and walking meditation. The bell of mindfulness notified us when the next activity was going to start, but it was also used as a reminder for everyone to stop what they were currently doing, be aware of our breathing, and take the moment to relax and be mindful. From 9 pm until after breakfast the following morning, we had periods of noble silence to cultivate mindfulness, awareness, and to wind down at the end of the day.

One of the enriching aspects of this retreat was that it was an all ages retreat. There was a separate children's program for certain periods, and other times the entire community practiced together. Tasty vegan and vegetarian meals were prepared and shared with the MorningSun community, and we often ate at the picnic tables by Blueberry Pond.

Blueberry Pond
If you are interested in learning more about MorningSun Mindfulness Center and Plum Village, visit their websites. Other mindfulness centers and resources in the Plum Village tradition can be found on the Other Resources page!