First Intensive Retreat

Choose from These Materials

First intensive: August 26-30, 2009 (draft plan as of May 19, 2009)

Wednesday evening: early dinner, followed by a silent sitting. Introductions; a go-around so the participants may come to know each other. Taking refuges and precepts. Silent sitting and rest. Silence will be maintained until after breakfast the next morning.

Thursday: early sitting. Breakfast. Short sitting. Silence then broken each day (except for meditation periods) until evening sitting. Morning: Aaron presents an overview of the program, with time for questions. Break. Aaron will speak about moving beyond limitations. Lunch and break to walk, swim or rest. Afternoon and evening: Heather Cumming (see below) will begin our work with shamanic journeying, and continue this work through Friday evening. More detail will be coming soon; Heather and Aaron are presently planning these days.

Heather Cumming is a Shamanic Practitioner, Reiki Master teacher and certified Syntropy practitioner. She was born and raised on a ranch in the remote interior of Brazil where Shamanism is a way of life. This rich heritage fostered Heather's love and understanding of people living in traditional ways. Her practice of Shamanism is an extension of these origins and early exposure to healing methods that reflect harmony with Nature and the Universe. She has studied with shamans and healers in Brazil, Bolivia and the U.S. including Michael Harner, Sandra Ingerman, Brugh Joy, Brazilian and Peruvian shamans Ipupiara and Cleicha Peixoto, John Perkins, Linda Hooper and Medical Qigong Master Binhue He. Heather completed Sandra Ingerman's two year Shamanic teacher training and is a certified teacher for Medicine for The Earth. Heather's eclectic approach to healing blends years of experience as a vibrational healer with core Shamanism. Through her popular courses she has introduced many to Shamanic Healing and Reiki. Please see her web site at for more information about her background.

Saturday: early sitting. Breakfast. Silence broken. Detailed look at the weekly exercise part of the program for the fall and winter. We will use the book by Alan Morinis, Everyday Holiness, (available on Amazon) as a guide, but will also go beyond this book. Aaron is presently dictating a course book. Aaron will also speak about taking a Bodhisattva Vow or stating of intention, which we will do in Intensive Two, each privately with our own wording. Afternoon: Aaron will lead us in meditations to find our guides and Higher Self. Time for walking, swimming and boating.

Evening: after dinner, we will share thoughts: "what blocks my power? What strengths will help me release such blockage?" and also, "Why do I wish to reclaim power? What forms of service call out to me as I invite fuller power?" The evening ends with a silent sitting.

Sunday: After our morning sitting we'll break the silence and move back into an integration of the various foci of the weekend. How do we bring together our strong commitment to service, our recognition of our strengths, and the clarity of our practice, to do the work we wish to do? How do we work skillfully to build our strengths, and to release old concepts of limits and blockage? Aaron will talk more about a Bodhisattva intention; we'll have time for questions.

We will distribute the class material, which will be the basis of our private meetings. This will be in part a workbook, with specific exercises. The day is left more open to see what other needs we have. There will be time for lunch and to swim and relax before departure.

The book The Way of the Bodhisattva by Shantedeva and Aaron's book, Awakened Heart ( online at will be assigned reading through the fall. We will be discussing your experiences with this material in our private meetings, and helping to prepare each of you to create your own personally worded Bodhisattva Vow. The actual taking will be optional, dependent on each person's readiness. There is no problem to wait until spring or even later to take it. The taking of it is meant as a support for you.

Second Intensive: Nov. (18-22)

This is not yet outlined in detail but one core will be the ceremonial stating of a Bodhisattva intention for those who feel ready to do so. Others will continue to explore this path. The vow or intention will be formulated privately, each as his/her own heart speaks.

We will discuss stages and states of consciousness (with prior reading from Aaron's talks and also a large portion of the book, Putting on the mind of Christ, by Jim Marion, Hampton Roads Publishing Co. 2000). This is not a book directed to Christians in a religious sense, but is about consciousness, whether we call that highest level "Christ Consciousness" or Buddha Consciousness." See the contents online at

We'll explore our experiences of these stages of consciousness and how we may experience two stages seemingly simultaneously. This relates to Aaron's frequent statement, "That which is aware of fear is not afraid." We'll do more work with connection to our guides. We'll spend some time with vipassana, and understanding how our deepening practice can support our highest intentions.

We will work with breath work one day over this weekend, with guidance from Julie Wolcott, as a way of further exploring states and stages of consciousness, and of connecting more deeply with guides and Higher Self, and our deepest intentions. Julie is a part of our group and a certified transformational breathing facilitator. (See online at

Transformational Breathing (TB) is a complete self-healing system using conscious breathing to facilitate improved well- being, inner peace and greater joy in life. It is unique from other forms of Breathwork. It works by facilitating the natural healing process for all types of trauma, is beneficial in gaining greater physical, mental and spiritual health, and in maintenance of optimal health.

We'll also begin to work with chakras this weekend. We'll use some materials from my friend Carla Rueckert McCarty as supportive reading. I'll be sending a link for that material.

Intensive three: (March 24-28, 2010)

A deeper focus on dzogchen practice, or non-dual awareness. Our special focus this weekend will be those areas of dzogchen often called "view" and "meditation." This will support our later work with the Light and Energy practices and also the "action" phase. Reading: Flight of the Garuda, DSC edition.

We'll also work with sound and harmonics and how they may support changing consciousness and energy. We may have a facilitator join us for a day to support our work with harmonics. And we will deepen work with elements.

Aaron is still formulating the entire curriculum for the two years. There will be frequent looping back and deepening, so the curriculum is more a spiral than a linear progression.