As the great spiritual traditions remind us, you can't find lasting happiness in accomplishments, possessions, or other people. Happiness is an inside job--and if you know precisely how to work with your own mind and heart, you can be happy in every situation, no matter how difficult.
At the deepest level, happiness is your birthright, your natural state as a human being, which you've lost touch with as the result of a lifetime of conditioning and suffering. By reflecting on certain core teachings and engaging in certain simple practices, you can reconnect with this innate happiness and spend more and more time just being happy, instead of struggling to get things to be different from the way they are.
The practices have a long spiritual pedigree and have been extensively studied by scientists and psychologists, particularly in the field of positive psychology, and found to be extraordinarily effective at building and sustaining lasting happiness.
In this two-day retreat, you'll receive powerful teachings on the nature of happiness and learn four simple yet transformative practices for lifting your mood, brightening your spirits, and infusing your heart with the joy of being.
A decade ago I founded the School for Awakening because I saw the need for an intensive program of teachings, self-inquiry, meditation, and in-depth exploration of our essential spiritual nature in which participants have an opportunity to work closely with a teacher for an extended period of time. In its current incarnation, the School 2018, which begins this October, is a five-month total immersion including online classes, individual mentoring sessions, homework assignments, and a final retreat.
Nowadays there are so many teachers, satsangs, and Youtube videos available that one can feel overwhelmed and confused by the differing perspectives and approaches. And most of these teachers only offer retreats attended by large groups of people and don't provide the individual guidance that has been the hallmark of the nondual wisdom traditions.
Over the centuries, if you wanted to study Zen, Dzogchen, or Advaita Vedanta, you sought out a teacher and joined a small group of disciples or worked individually to realize the truth under their guidance. In fact, the word "upanishad" means "to sit down next to" a guru and receive direct pointers and instruction. I had the immense good fortune to be able to study in this way with a number of extraordinary teachers, including Jean Klein and Adyashanti, and I'm happy to be able to afford this opportunity to others.
The School for Awakening has only one point and purpose: to invite you to recognize and abide in your natural state of awakened awareness, which is the radiant source of all fulfillment, happiness, peace, and love, and to learn to integrate and embody this awakening in everyday life. From my more than 20 years as a psychotherapist, I bring an in-depth understanding of the human heart and an appreciation of the importance of acknowledging and embracing our essential humanness, as well as our absolute true nature.
Even though we have only one purpose in being together, the School will be (arbitrarily) divided into three modules with separate themes, as a way to console the mind that likes categories and boundaries. In fact, each class will invite you to wake up right now and come to rest in awakened awareness:
Module 1: Basic teachings and practices of the direct approach. Monday evenings, 5:00-7:00 pm PT, October 23, 30, November 6, 13, December 4, 11
Module 2: Waking up to the nature of what is. Monday evenings, January 8, 15, 22, 29
Module 3: Living as the truth you know yourself to be. Monday evenings, February. 19, 26, March 5, 12
Final online retreat: Saturday-Sunday, March 24-25
If you would like more information on my approach, please read my books Wake Up Now and Beyond Mindfulness and listen to the videos and watch the blogposts on this site. If you're interested in possibly joining the School, please feel free to email me with any questions you might have.