Philanthropy & The Inner Life: Resources for Difficult Times

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2004 Retreat Summary

Pocantico Conference Center
January 14 – 16, 2004

For three days, 22 participants met at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Pocantico Conference Center in Tarrytown, NY. Jon Kabat-Zinn was the lead teacher at the retreat. CMind Board Members Charlie Halpern and Charles Terry facilitated the retreat with Executive Director Mirabai Bush.

Pocantico was beautiful, and the winter season gave us fresh snow, beautiful blue skies, and the sounds of wild geese flying nearby.

The retreat mixed silent practice (sitting, walking, and lying-down meditation, yoga and qigong) with dialog groups. The combination of physical stillness and activity reflected Jon’s teachings on the value of paying attention to the body and the mind. Thoughts, questions and insights occurring during silent practice could be explored with the group during dialog sessions.

Participants brought forth topics such as learning to “walk more gently on the earth” using fewer resources, maintaining mindfulness in the workplace, letting go of roles and preconceptions in grantor/grantee relationships, catching creative moments, and remaining centered in a world of busyness and speed.

They also discussed the importance of setting intentions that foster humility and the value of deep listening: “Let’s create spaces that hold more dissonance, that encourage storytelling, silence, and reflective dialog” ; “Let’s find the way to become both more passionate and more analytic at the same time.”

“I came searching for a meditative space and silence to prepare me for a tumultuous upcoming three weeks. I found that and more – warm welcomes, incredible beauty, peace and a wellspring of mindfulness that exists within me. I think the gentle spirit with which it was offered was as important as the material itself.”

– retreat participant