Now in its eighth year, the School for Awakening is an intensive program of teachings, contemplation, self-inquiry, group dialogue, and individual exploration designed to invite the full realization ofy our timeless spiritual nature. (This year the program will be shortened from six to three months to make it more concentrated and accessible.)
Needless to say, the name is something of an oxymoron: No, you can't "study" awakening in a school--and yet you can immerse yourself in the direct teachings and have an opportunity for deep investigation with an awakened teacher and kindred spirits in an environment that in some ways does resemble a "school." The Sanskrit term for the core texts of Advaita Vedanta,"upanishad," literally means "sit down next to," the practice of students gathering around a teacher in extended, intimate dialogue--an intimacy that has been largely lost in the current nondual teaching scene.
The School for Awakening consists of:
- one three-day weekend retreat
- 6 follow-up teleclasses
- 6 individual counseling/mentoring sessions
The format invites people who might not otherwise have regular access to a teacher to gather and share in the process of investigating and realizing the truth together.
Designed and led by a teacher in the nondual wisdom lineage of Suzuki Roshi, Jean Klein, and Adyashanti,, the program creates a small-group environment in which the direct experience of our true nature, awakened awareness, can be nurtured and deepened. In addition to group sessions, participants are supported in exploring silent sitting and self-inquiry on their own.
The teacher, Stephan Bodian, has been practicing and teaching the path of awakening for more than 40 years, including a decade as a Zen Buddhist monk. The School is loosely based on the teachings in his book Wake Up Now. (For a more detailed bio, click here.)
The three-month program begins with a three-day nonresidential weekend retreat followed by 6 group teleclasses and 6 half-hour individual counseling/mentoring sessions. Participation in each module is limited to 16 people.
This year the opening retreat is scheduled for October10-12. Each day Stephan offers a blend of guided meditations, Dharma talks, silent sitting, and ample time for intimate, in-depth dialogue about the nature of nondual reality. The living words spoken in retreat are not abstract concepts but direct pointers that invite an immediate glimpse of our timeless true nature. Participants also have an opportunity to get to know one another and connect as a sangha. (Most participants drive or fly in and stay off-site.)
Over the next three months, participants meet regularly by phone to sit quietly together, listen to dharma talks, ask questions, engage in guided meditations and various forms of self-inquiry, share experiences and insights, and maintain their connection with the teacher and one another. Each class explores a particular theme or aspect of truth and provides a vital, ongoing invitation to awaken from the dream this very moment. To deepen their individual inquiry, participants also have 6 half-hour phone counseling sessions with Stephan. (Those who wish to take the School again the following year will be entitled to a 15% discount on tuition.)
One Student's Experience
"I had read books and attended larger retreats, but the catalyst for a deeper opening came through attending the School for Awakening. Being able to sit with Stephan sounded a gong within me that reverberated at a previously unrecognized level of inwardness.
"Stephan has the settled, unhurried quality of someone deeply steeped in being, and this is counterbalanced by the startling vitality of a consciousness unblinded by the mind, a consciousness empowered with the energy of wakefulness.
"Yet I felt at ease with Stephan. I did not feel judged by him. He is unpretentious and has the lightness and playfulness of someone who doesn’t take the forms of the world over-seriously. Stephan admits his humanity and doesn’t pretend to be “special”, he doesn’t call himself a guru, but a spiritual friend.
"I remember the doubt and fear that nearly prevented me from enrolling in the School. The idea of such a small group of people and such close proximity to a teacher was scary, definitely outside my normal comfort zone. All the travel arrangements, costs, and time commitments were further obstacles holding me back.
"But I listened to my heart. For once I walked past the voice of fear. Two years after completing the School for Awakening, the ripple effects continue to permeate every aspect of my life. I will always be grateful that I decided to attend the School. I highly recommend it to others."
--Colleen Loehr, M.D.
Location and Fees
The cost of the three-month program is $950. (Plane fares, and meals and accommodations for the second weekend, are up to participants.) For those who can't afford to pay the full cost in advance, an installment plan may be arranged. The weekend retreat will be held in Tucson, Arizona.
If you would like to schedule a free phone conversation to ask questions about the School, or to register for the program, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 415-451-7133.