Be Your Own Teacher
This retreat explores what meditation teaches us about being human. It teaches us about resistance and gentleness, delusion and overthinking, healing stuck emotions, and expanding stuck worldviews. It teaches us mercy, forgiveness, majesty, and humility. It teaches us about how we relate to other people and ourselves.
All this and more happens when we sit and do nothing. It’s mind-blowing and heart-breaking and makes me want to weep. Maybe you will weep too, or giggle, or pass out in a patch of drool. Who can say? We go deep; we go home—we go nowhere!—and none of it can properly be captured in words.
All this gets revealed organically in our own practice. The teacher here is meditation itself—in particular, the quiet, which has a way of organizing the nervous system all on its own. You also learn a ton from other people’s reports of their experiences, insights, and challenges. So there is sharing and discussion, in addition to meditation and wandering through the late fall foliage all awestruck and blubbering “the glory! the glory!”
Meditation isn’t any one way. Every kind of experience can happen on the cushion—our internal processes are as distinct as our fingerprints, with a lot more dimensions.
On this retreat, Jeff guides a variety of adventurous practices as a way both to highlight the underlying skills and principles of meditation and to empower each person to learn what works for them. There is enormous value in this. The simple skills gathered in meditation—concentration, clarity, equanimity, and care—lie at the headwaters of mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Over three days, this becomes ever more obvious. We learn as a collective.
The goal is for everyone to leave the weekend with a clear understanding of why they meditate and a clear feeling for their own strange and beautiful practice.
A Note from Jeff
It’s funny, I never used to write like this. I preferred careful, secular-friendly language. I still enjoy speaking in this mode, but I’m also bored by it. You get blown apart enough, you watch the same stories of wonder and transformation … it’s like <hands in the air> ‘why hide it?’ Being human takes practice, and meditation is the practice of being human. It’s everything. So come get some!
This retreat is appropriate for all experience levels.
Learn life skills and explore the common language that is the foundation for all practices.
Learn how to apply your meditation skills to enhance all facets of your life.
When we understand how the practice works in our own nervous systems, we can begin to be our own teacher.
Discover empowerment and what it looks like to become our own teachers and mental health authorities.
The community is the real teacher. Enjoy the sense of connection through group meditation.
What is the authentic expression of you in the world that feels soulful? That is what you want to move towards.
Jeff Warren is a meditation instructor and journalist who is celebrated for his dynamic and accessible style of teaching. He is co-author of the New York Times bestselling Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, author of The Head Trip—a travel guide to sleeping, dreaming and waking—and founder of The Consciousness Explorers Club, a nonprofit meditation adventure group based in Toronto. His mission is to empower people to take responsibility for their own mental health, through the realistic, intelligent, and sometimes irreverent exploration of meditation and personal growth practices. …
BEING HUMAN TAKES PRACTICE
October 20–22, 2023
Your Program Session Times (subject to change)
Friday 7:30–9:00 pm
Saturday 9:30 am–12:30 pm and 2:30–5:00 pm
Sunday 9:30 am–12 pm (Room check-out is 11:00 am; luggage can be held at Reception.)
All times are Eastern Standard Time (EST) unless otherwise noted.
4:00 pm Check-in begins; Rooms are ready by 4:00 pm, but if you arrive early we will hold your luggage at Reception.
6:00–7:00 pm Dinner
7:00–7:20 pm Guest Orientation Session (Venue: Dining Hall)
Actual schedules and venues may vary; please confirm with Front Desk upon check-in.
Apart from the activities in your program schedule, we offer the following optional complementary activities. (Please join only if your program schedule permits.)
- 9:45–10:45 am Yoga | Thu–Sun
- 11:00 am–12:00 pm Mind & Meditation | Thu–Sun
- 1:30–2:15 pm Guided Hike* | Assemble at Shankara Reception | Sat
- 2:30–3:45 pm Ayurveda Cooking Class* | Tulsi Kitchen
Thu: Sweet Treats • Sat: Chef’s Seasonal Recipe
- 4:15–5:15 pm Yoga | Wed–Sat
- 5:30–6:00 pm Guided Meditation | Wed–Sat
- 7:30–8:15 pm Meditative Chants/Kirtan | Wed–Sat
Saturday kirtan is outdoor by the bonfire; weather permitting.
*Included with Wellness Escapes and R&R; Other participants: $35.00/per person
- 11:00 am–7:00 pm Friday & Saturday
Hand Building $55 | 1 hour
- 9:00 | 10:45 am Sunday
Wheel Throwing $75 all guests; glazing and shipping are included | semi-private class | 75 minutes
Wednesday 11:00–8:00 pm
Thursday–Saturday 9:00 am–6:00 pm
Sunday 8:00 am–2:00 pm
We encourage you to also make reservations for consultations, therapies, and treatments at our award-winning Shankara Ayurveda Wellness at least two weeks prior to your arrival date to ensure availability. Please call 828.264.8382 for details. Additional cost.
Rooms & Pricing
All options include daily vegetarian meals from dinner on the night of check-in through lunch on the day of checkout. (Rates below are per person.)
On-Campus Program FAQs
For room reservations, Ayurveda Wellness Retreats, and Art of Living Retreat Center (AOLRC) signature retreats, we have the following cancellation policy:
- Refunds are available (less a $50/per person processing fee) up to 15 days before your program or stay.
- Nonrefundable credit toward a future AOLRC program or stay (less a $50/per person processing fee) is available if you give notice between 14 and one day(s) before your program or stay. Credit may be applied to any AOLRC program or stay for one year following date of issue.
- No credit or refund is available if you cancel on the arrival day, if you do not show up, or if you leave an event early for any reason. No refund will be available if you attend a program and are dissatisfied with its presentation or content.
AOLRC reserves the right to cancel a program at any time. If AOLRC cancels a program, you will receive a full refund. Some programs may have special cancellation policies; see individual workshop descriptions. For all other retreats, please be sure to check the registration page specific to that retreat.
Unless otherwise indicated, our programs are open to participants 18 years of age and older.
To encourage a healthy environment we ask that guests not consume alcohol or meat in our public spaces, however, guests may enjoy these items in their rooms.
Our property is always smoke-free.
Yes, we ask that guests with food allergies simply inform us so we can communicate those needs to our chef. Typically, we label potential allergens such as gluten, dairy, and nuts.
We do have lodging and event venues that are ADA-compliant. Due to the topography of our mountain campus, some are easier to access than others, so please speak to Guest Services (800.392.6870) prior to registering to ensure we can best accommodate your needs. We also have shuttles that run frequently throughout the campus.
We are committed to the safety of our guests and staff. Our mountaintop location and the surrounding areas are spacious, remote, safe, and secure.
- It is safe to leave your windows open—and necessary for proper airflow!
- Nature surrounds our campus, and it’s common to see rabbits, deer, gophers, wild turkeys, and other small animals. Please give them space, and they’ll do the same for you. We’ve never had a safety incident with animals on campus.
You can help!
- If you come across an animal on campus or a trail, give it space, and please do not attempt to pet or feed it.
- There’s no need to bring valuables to the retreat center; leaving them at home is best.