2020 7-Day Tradition-neutral Silent Meditation Retreat
Saturday, June 27, 2020 – Saturday, July 4, 2020
N.M. Center for Meditative Inquiry and Retreat
Preference for this retreat will be given to full time participants and early applicants. Applications will be accepted starting March 1. Call for details.
Special Notes about the 2020 Retreat in Light of the Coronavirus Pandemic
March 22, 2020 –
At this point I believe we can come up with a safe option even if social isolation is still in place and necessary at the end of June. We might be able to hold the retreat outdoors at our usual place. Some people could possibly sleep in the rooms at the camp with only be one person per room. I would have to check this with the camp people. The alternative is people sleeping in tents, which is probably better in some ways.
We would sit outside, which means that we would have to be prepared for possible cooler weather or rain. There might be days where people would simply have to go back home if the weather is very bad. The menu would be simplified and maybe not particularly fancy but workable, in order to avoid cooking, food prep and dishwashing at the camp. Sittings and dialogue would be outside and we would maintain space between us. This might be challenging for hearing each other during diaogue but I think it is doable. Individual meetings would also be outside and at a distance of six feet from each other.
While this would not be as comfy as our usual retreats, I think it is doable and I feel that a retreat week is very vital in our lives – all the more so when things are difficult.
If even the plan above proves to be unsafe, we can plan to set aside that week to be sitting in our homes and following the same schedule. We can help each other arrange their home situation for optimum silence. We could hold group meetings by video chat and make a similar arrangement for individual meetings.
3- and 4-day Retreat
This year we will also offer a 3-day retreat and a 4-day retreat during the 7-day retreat.
The 3-day retreat will start on at the beginning of the 7-day retreat and will end at 5 pm on Tuesday.
The 4-day retreat will start at the beginning of the 7-day retreat and will end at 5 pm on Wednesday.
It is also possible to arrange your own schedule for a partial retreat. If at all possible, we ask part-time retreatants to start at the beginning of the 7-day retreat, as it’s difficult for us to orient new people in the middle of retreat.
For writings about deciding to go to retreat, Click here
Is There a Traditional Framework for the Retreat? The style of the retreat is tradition-neutral and is accessible to people working in any tradition or working directly and non-traditionally. There are no particular approaches, practices or theories that are imposed. There are no guided meditations. There are some taped talks by Toni Packer, who worked non-traditionally in simple, direct inquiry. There are also live talks by Jay given in a similar spirit.
It is our intention that nothing in the retreat would conflict with or be disrespectful of
meditative traditions, so that each person can find their own way.
At the same time, the retreat, through the group verbal inquiry and individual meetings,
offers a unique opportunity to look freshly at our images and assumptions about our lives and our meditative work and to inquiry directly and freshly into what meditative presence is.
We do this together from scratch, learning how to listen and speak with each other clearly and simply, so that no prior framework is needed. It is a wonderful thing to start from scratch this way and look at things in a brand new and honest way.
No parts of the retreat are mandatory except the daily 1 hour work period. The morning sitting block is untimed. Other sitting blocks are timed with rounds of approximately 25 minutes, separated by a short walking period. Other than during group or individual meetings, silence is maintained by participants and organizers. All communications and announcements are made by written note or posted signs. In addition the retreat is essentially a solitary experience in which we can drop the complexities of social interactions and see if it is possible to discover the intimacy of being in each other’s presence silently and solitarily.
If you have some questions about the nature or flavor of the retreat, please call Jay at
We are in a new facility starting with the January 2016 retreat. Retreat is held at the Camp Patten church camp, owned by the Mount Olive Missionary Baptist State Convention. The camp is 10 minutes south of the village of Tijeras and is located in beautiful National Forest land, with unlimited walks in all directions.
The weather here in summer is 10 to 15 degrees cooler than in Albuquerque and may even be chilly in the evening and early morning.
The retreat will start formally at 7pm on the first day. Participants should arrive between 3 and 4 pm.
The retreat will end at 5 pm on the last day. There will be dinner afterwards. Participants who are at the retreat on the last day are asked not to leave earlier than 5 pm. If you will need to leave on the last day before 5, please let us know in advance.
If you are not coming for the full 7 days, you are welcome to come participate in part of the retreat.
|See the notes above about the 3- and 4-day retreat options.|
If you would like to come for a full day, including meals, or to come for more than one full day, such as a two day or three day period which would include staying overnight, that will be fine. Please let us know in advance so that there will be food and a place to stay for you. If possible, we ask you to start your stay with us at the very beginning of retreat, as it’s more difficult to orient new people once the retreat has started.
If you aren’t coming for a full day or more, you are welcome to come on a particular day to one of the following periods and don’t need to notify us in advance:
early morning sitting
afternoon group discussion
the evening sitting
You can also come for an individual meeting with one of the participants in the evening, either someone who has agreed to be available for meetings or someone with whom you have made arrangements.
Retreat fees are our only source of income for covering retreat expenses and for advertising and office expenses during the year. Donations from people attending only part of a day help keep retreat fees lower but more importantly are our only source of additional income to support the activities of the center during the year.
About the retreat fees: about a third of your fee covers your food. Of the rest, most of it goes for rental for the property. Whatever is left will help us send out mailings to people and advertise events.
1 to 4 days: $60 per day, includes meals and lodging
5 to 7 days: $290 total
Fees for drop-in visitors:
You can come for any evening sitting, afternoon group discussion, morning talk or early morning sitting any day. Please leave a $15 donation if you can. If you stay for two of these periods, please leave $30.
Meals: Breakfast – $5, Lunch – $8, dinner – $8
If you stay for more than two periods, please pay the one day fee. Meals will be included.
If your situation doesn’t seem to fit one of these categories above, please check with Jay and we’ll work out something.Top
6-7:30. Morning Sitting, not timed. Individual meetings.
8:00-9:00 – Work period
9:00-10 – Rest period
10 – Timed Sitting
10:30-11:10 Live or taped talk
11:10-Noon – Timed sitting
Noon – 1:30 Lunch and rest period
1:30-2:30pm Group discussion in sitting room.
2:30-3:30 pm Sitting room open for sitting
3:30-4:30 Sitting room open for exercise
4:30-5:00 pm Timed sitting
5:00-7:00 pm Dinner and rest period
7-9:30pm Timed sitting. Individual meetings.
Early Registration: Early registration is extremely helpful in planning the retreat. Please call me as soon as possible if you may be interested in participating in any way.
Regular Registration: Please send a $60 deposit to hold your space on or before June 1. After June 1, this deposit is not refundable unless the retreat is cancelled.
LATE FEE: Applicants who have not submitted the $60 deposit by June 1 should add a $30 late fee to their application.
The balance is due on or before June 10. After June 10, your full payment is not refundable unless the retreat is cancelled.
Cancellations: Cancellations before the deadlines given above will forfeit a $10 handling charge. After the deadlines given above, cancellations will result in the loss of your fee.
If you’ve missed the deadline, please call me ASAP. If you need to work out a payment plan, contact me right away. If you are planning to attend for one day, let me know now and send your full $60 fee by June 1.
Make checks payable and send to:
31 B Kelly Lane
Los Lunas, NM 87031
Let me know how many days you will attend and when.
Please let me know if you have questions or concerns about the retreat.
Below are some suggested guidelines to help you feel more comfortable in this new setting. Please read them carefully. If you have questions now or during the retreat, contact Jay.
Jay, (505) 281-0684
Retreat Guidelines and Suggestions
(Please read these carefully for your comfort and that of other participants)
- Silence. This is a silent retreat. Other than during the morning talk, the discussion period and individual meetings, we are sparing each other from the sound of talking. Please do not talk or whisper in any part of the house or property, even if you think no one else is around. This includes in your rooms and during the work and rest periods.
- If you need to communicate with someone, there is paper and pencil throughout the house. You can also communicate with gestures or by pointing.
- Eyes and eye contact. It is not necessary to observe the usual social pleasantries, such as making friendly eye contact or greeting each other. Most people find that it is a relief to just move in each other’s presence without these things. If you want to look up at someone, that is fine, but they may not want to make eye contact back.
- Solitary Retreat. The retreat is essentially a solitary experience. Please be sensitive to the possibility that other participants may not want to interact socially. Please don’t pass social notes to others at the table during meals. If you want to pass social notes, do so out of sight of others.
- Arriving at the retreat for part time attendees. Please try to arrive early, during the break before the first sitting you’ll be attending. Be careful not to block other vehicles if possible. Take some time to get familiar with the house so you feel comfortable. There is a bulletin board with announcements. This is also where you leave messages for other participants. Please check the retreat fee schedule and leave a donation. Your contribution helps greatly.
- The Property. Feel free to walk on the property. We are in the National Forest. There are also some trails in the Oak Flats area just south of us.
- Work Period. We usually have barely enough people to cover the work requirements for retreat. Please do not plan to be gone from the retreat during your work period as this will create a hardship for others who have to fill in for your work.
- Temporary absence from retreat. If you need to leave the retreat temporarily or are going to take an extended walk, it is helpful if you leave a note on the board as to when you’ll return. Please do not be gone during your work period.
- Sittings. Most sittings are untimed. This means you can sit as long or short as you’d like. In the evening the sittings are timed. A bell sounds at the end of the sitting round and then there are about 5 minutes of walking before the next round starts. The walking is in a clockwise circuit and is done at a moderate pace. If you want to walk very slowly or quickly, you can walk outside. It’s fine to use the bathrooms during the walking or to go get some water. The walking is optional and you can leave or enter the walking line as you need. A single bell signals the end of the walking and that the next round.is beginning. Try to be done making tea, etc., by the time the bell rings.
- Reading and Writing. Please do not use the sitting room or any other common areas for reading or writing, including outside. You are welcome to read or write in you room if your roommate is not there. If your roommate comes in, please stop reading/writing then. If you need to read or write and our not finding opportunities, please check in with us.
- Electronic devices. Please do not bring tablets, laptops or other communication devices to the retreat. If you need to bring your cell phone, please do not use it or check for messages on the grounds. You may check your phone in your car but please don’t make calls from your car. If you need to make a call, please go off the property.If you want to give friends an emergency contact number, let me know in advance. We will arrange for an emergency number that someone will check regularly. That way you won’t need to check your phone at all. If you want to have your cell in your car for your trip up to retreat or back home but don’t want to be tempted to look at it, we will have a place where you can check your phone in until the end of retreat.Because no one will have access to a cell phone in the house, you may want to bring other tools for keeping track of time or taking pictures.
- Meetings. There is a sign up sheet with different meeting slots. Certain slots will be reserved for you to meet with Jay. If you don’t want to meet during that time, just erase your name from the slot so that others can sign up. However, if this is your first retreat with us, please come to all your reserved times. You can also sign up for any blank slot with Jay in the evening. The meeting room is available during certain morning and afternoon slots for you to meet with another participant. Write the other person a note in advance asking if they would like to meet. To reserve a time slot, put your name and the name of the person you are meeting with. If you need to cancel a meeting, please do so well in advance. Meetings are held in Room 1, which is at the far end of the building with the bathrooms.
- Showers and bathrooms. There are separate bathrooms for men and women. There is only one shower and it is in the small utility room around the corner from the bathrooms. Please take showers only during specified times. There is a list of specific 30 minute shower slots posted, along with a sign-up sheet. Please don’t take showers during sitting periods.
- Food. Please feel free to help yourself to snacks or whatever you need outside of regular meals. There are various condiments, teas, fruit and leftovers in the kitchen. Just be careful not to use something that is labeled as being reserved for a meal. The apples are already washed.
- Kitchen recycling. We try to collect recyclable materials. Use the containers in the kitchen. There is a trash can for everything else.
- Health. If you think you are getting sick, please let Jay know right away. If you are working in the kitchen, you will be reassigned so that disease is not spread. Everyone should please be careful to cover their mouth and nose if they sneeze, even during a round of sitting. Please wash your hands frequently with soap and hot water regularly during the day.
- Questions, problems, etc. If you have a question or problem or need something, you can find Jay in the house or in Room 1. Knock on the door and wait. If he’s napping, you may need to knock several times loudly. If you have a concern about your meditation, arrange a meeting, or if you can’t wait for meeting times, find Jay.
- Entering the house. Please do not enter or leave the sitting room through the outside door that leads to the covered walkway. Enter the building through the outside dining room door and then enter the sitting room through the dining room.
- The Bulletin Board. Please check the postings on the notice area in the dining room frequently for personal notes or announcements. If you have a message for someone, leave it on this board or hand your note to them.
- Leaving Retreat Early. If you feel that you need to leave the retreat before you were scheduled to do so, please talk to Jay first. This is appreciated for a number of reasons.
1. Take I-40 to the Tijeras exit. Follow the arrows for Tijeras, not for Cedar Crest. The off-ramp for Tijeras has three lanes. Stay in the middle lane. Go through the traffic light at the end of the ramp. Do not turn left or right. Stay on Hwy 337 (old south 14).
2. Continue about 9 miles up Hwy 337. The driveway for the camp is past mile marker 21 but before mile marker 20 (the miles count down after you leave Tijeras.) After marker 21 you will curve left, then right, then left again. Then there is a sign on the right for Carolino Canyon, followed by another yellow road sign. Immediately after this yellow road sign, the drive for Camp Patton is on the left side of the road. There is a small white sign at the edge of the drive, saying Camp Patten. The street address is 10950 Hwy 337. If you hit Eagle Rd or Raven Rd (both on the right) you’ve gone just a bit too far.
3. Pull into the driveway and park.