10 Day Hridaya Silent Meditation & Yoga Retreat
July 13@2pm – July 22@2pm, 2018 @ SerpentSong Sanctuary on Harstine Island
Hosted by Grace Bryant and Phoebe Douglas
The Hridaya Silent Meditation Retreat is a unique 10-day immersion experience which focuses on accessing our real and essential nature, the supreme and divine Self, atman, through an artful integration of meditation and yoga techniques. During the retreat, we address broad aspects of the Spiritual Heart, from a variety of traditions including esoteric Christianity, Sufism, and Kashmir Shaivism. Leaders and participants together create a supporting atmosphere of loving kindness and strong spiritual exploration.
The retreat was specifically created to find an intimate understanding of Self-Enquiry meditation in order to experience the inner transformation that it brings. Each retreat aims to create the conditions for accessing deep states of consciousness, kindling intense aspiration for the Divine, and developing the focused interiorization that allows an opening of the Heart.
The Hridaya method is a unique integration of Advaita Vedanta, Sufism, Tantra, and Buddhist Dzogchen. In the advanced stages of practice, all paths of authentic spiritual traditions meet harmoniously and merge into the same ineffable Reality. During the Hridaya Silent Meditation Retreat, practitioners will be skillfully guided to this penetrating understanding where the search for meaning ends in surrender to the domain of revelation.
No previous meditation or yoga experience is necessary as this retreat is designed for beginners and advanced meditators alike.
The Hridaya method was crafted to cultivate the following attitudes:
- An increased sensitivity which will gradually become an inner awareness of the Spiritual Heart
- Calming down the mind and a state of mental peace
- The polarization between the individual soul, jivatman, and the divine Self, atman, that is experienced as a state of very strong and profound aspiration and longing for the Divine
- The evocation of death of the physical body as a way of transcending desires and egotistical tendencies
- The act of powerfully evoking and experiencing the mystery of God’s presence inside our Spiritual Heart
Methods, Techniques and Teachings
This retreat includes meditation, yoga, teachings and practical methods such as:
- Ramana Maharshi’s method of introspection (Self-Enquiry using the question “Who Am I?”)
- Techniques of stilling the mind using breath awareness
- The symbolism of the Spiritual Heart
- Methods of Self-centering in everyday life
- Advice for maintaining awareness of the Spiritual Heart from the Christian tradition
- The Christian method of the Prayer of the Heart
- A proper understanding of Advaita Vedanta’s fundamental principles
- Methods of passing from individual consciousness to Cosmic Consciousness
- The four fundamental aspects revealing the Spiritual Heart
- Daily special meditations on themes connected with Self-Revelation
- Yogic methods for opening to the Spiritual Heart
- Poetry from many world traditions
- Daily Yoga sessions
What are the intentions of the Hridaya Silent Meditation Retreat?
During the retreat, our aspiration is to share methods to awaken to the consciousness of Oneness and Advaita Vedanta, leading to self-discovery of the Spiritual Heart. Daily meditations focus on the Self-Enquiry methods revealed by Ramana Maharshi (Who Am I?), as well as other complementary meditations and prayers. Practical and theoretical aspects of this methodology bring a holistic understanding and allow ample opportunities to directly practice. In doing so, we hope that you will understand the underlying principles and value the purpose of meditation, thus enlivening your life and coming to love meditation as an essential practice.
- To share direct methods to pacify and even transcend your mind.
When your mind is truly still and without any thoughts and the ego transcended, you arrive at a place where you have no name, no social status, no relationships, no past, no future, no country, no spiritual attainment, and no lack of spiritual attainment. It is simply a presence of being. If a movement or a thought appears in this stillness, it is enveloped into the stillness, thus becoming stillness itself. It is as if your life becomes full and saturated with this peace and sacredness.
- To learn a vision, a spiritual understanding and a method of transforming yourself.
An intention is placed on learning to love meditation as a means for discovering Divine Reality, otherwise referred to as God, although these methods are beyond any specific ideas of religion or any theoretical concepts about God.
- To experience states of consciousness beyond our ordinary waking life.
Often, people have peak experiences about the Supreme Reality, some special states of consciousness about cosmic love, eternity or the unity of everything, which can be evoked afterwards in daily life. This will help you in your quest to understand the reason for your existence.
- To realize the importance of fully incorporating the Spiritual Heart in your life, beyond concepts, theory and philosophy.
The path to the Spiritual Heart journeys through your soul. Therefore, an opening and intimacy of the soul may naturally and spontaneously occur. The retreat offers a chance to venture deeper than the emotional-mental level of the Heart, into the Divine Reality which represents the most profound aspect of the Spiritual Heart. Ultimately, you will be compelled to love at a level which your ego usually prevents you from accessing with blockages such as attachments, ignorance, and other negative emotions, thoughts, and beliefs. To access this level of universal love, the obstacles challenging your personality and your ego must be transcended through accessing the Spiritual Heart.
- To support you in developing a profound understanding about the real nature of your existence and the nature of Life.
We invite you on a journey that brings a coherent vision of Divine Unity, (Advaita or nonduality). This is the purest revolutionary tool and transforming idea of Jnana Yoga, and Advaita Vedanta, Chan, Taoism, Dzogchen, and Zen.
Purification Effects from Silent Meditation Retreats
When we venture deeper than the surface of our egos into the realm of the Spiritual Heart, it is common that some purification on the physical, mental, or emotional level can occur. This is merely our bodies’ way of releasing old blockages, traumas, and negative emotions in order to access the deeper levels of the soul. Don’t be afraid. Don’t try to avoid the purification. However, don’t dramatize; don’t give them too much importance. When these transformations eventually harmonize, meditation ceases to be boring, painful, or just a passing experience, and truly becomes a deep, joyful, and blissful experience. Depending on the individual’s level of practice and awareness, these transformations can be immediate or can take a longer time to process. However, change is inevitable, and this transformation can be very stabilizing, profound, and can transform your life dramatically.
So, what expectations do we need to have for the Hridaya Retreat? None! Because of the ineffability of what we really are, of what Divine Reality is, this change is a natural progression that comes from stillness, surrender, and, ultimately, from within our true selves. The aim is to create the best conditions in which the Divine Reality will be revealed in our Heart. From doing this, we may experience some profound effects from these meditations. Or we may experience many emotions, past traumas or mental struggles. Many make the mistake of becoming attached to these effects and realizations. However, don’t cling to them. In the openness of our being, much more than this is happening, and we will learn to accept, surrender and be open to the ebb and flow of this deep and long-term process.
The Spiritual Heart, Our Real Home
Ultimately, the most important outcome of the Hridaya retreat is to start becoming accustomed to centering in the Spiritual Heart. This means to get used to being aware of that quiet, peaceful, infinite, and eternal foundation of our being which cannot be perceived by the rational mind, but is the source of all inspiration, love, beauty, and spiritual life. Many sages have said that Spiritual Heart is our real home. So, abandon yourselves, trust and enjoy this centering. The Spiritual Heart is your axis, your hub. During this retreat, be at home, be present and integrate this practice fully for an intimate, meaningful experience. The Spiritual Heart is the “meeting place” for those who wish to relate to life in a sacred manner.
At SerpentSong Sanctuary we are dedicated to holding space for teachings that promote the elevation and expansion of our experience in being human. This space is above all safe and welcoming. We strive to live in harmony with our environment and the beauty of nature that surrounds us. We share the bounty of what our permaculture education, fresh garden crops, and the beauty of what we are building with all who come here to reaffirm their purpose through group experiences or to simply rest and rejuvenate.
SerpentSong Sanctuary is the approximated English translation of naadanaagini mandiram. Naada is sacred sound. The Naaga were an ancient race of serpent beings who were the guardians of the treasures of the western waters. Mandiram is a sanctuary or temple.
These three things together encapsulate our highest values:
- to be the portal for transmissions of the highest vibrations and to promote creativity and communication,
- to create a container for sharing the wealth of ancient and modern teachings, a place of beauty and inspiration, of nurture and nourishment ,
- all held and offered from the peaceful sanctum that is our foundation and home.
SerpentSong Sanctuary is located on Harstine Island at the base of the Puget Sound. It is situated on beautiful wild land in the Washington forest and is a 5-minute walk from the beach. While it is only just outside of Shelton, the center is tucked away with no noise of roads or other people. Deer and wild birds are often roaming around the forest. There is one single room available. All other accommodations are in a common shared room or camping in your own tent.
SerpentSong Sanctuary will also provide our vegetarian, gluten free meals. Three delicious, nourishing meals a day will be lovingly prepared by Xanna. Tea and snacks are also provided.
There are three options for accommodations.
Single: We have one single room with private bathroom available. Bedding is provided.
Shared: There is a large communal room where most of our guests will sleep. You will need to provide your own bedding and a mat to sleep on.
Camping: There is a large field with camping and restrooms with showers just a short walk inside. Please bring your own tent, sleeping bag and camping supplies.
“It was absolutely amazing! Regardless your age, gender, religion, ethnic or cultural background, you can learn so much from this retreat and get your life questions answered. You can gain life skills and learn so much about LOVE! It’s a great guidance on your spiritual pursuit.” – Suzyn
This is currently the only 10-day Hridaya Silent Meditation Retreat in the U.S. Worldwide interest is continually growing in this beautiful method. There is a good chance we will reach the maximum capacity of our retreat center and place interested students on a waiting list for the next available spot. We know that some people have a limited time in which they can join us. To ensure enrollment in a chosen retreat, we recommend booking early as possible—at least one month in advance.
What is noble silence?
Noble Silence is a common practice in retreats which offers a rare and precious opportunity to simplify one’s daily routine, quiet the mind and cultivate an inward focus of attention. There is the also the opportunity to go deep in our internal world and not be distracted by the social conventions that usually turn the wheels of our mind constantly.
By observing outer silence and temporarily renouncing our usual habits of conversation, we provide a support for the cultivation of a deep inner silence. You will be asked to refrain not only from speaking, but also from using electronic devices. We will explain more and provide an opportunity for asking questions before going into silence. Be assured you will always have the opportunity to communicate by writing messages to Dianna and Grace should the need arise. There will also be a daily Q&A session.
I've never meditated before. Is this retreat right for me?
Absolutely! Many new to meditation begin by attending a retreat. Retreats provide a wonderful opportunity learn skills and to dive directly into the process, building momentum and faith in meditation.
I'm an advanced meditator. Will I get something out of this retreat?
As an experienced meditator, you have the opportunity to go very deep in this retreat and start from your level of practice. The retreat is designed to give you the gift of leaving the busy-ness of life behind and concentrating for an extended period of time. You’ll also gain new meditation techniques and practices focused on the Spiritual Heart and insights to deepen your existing practice.
How long are the meditation sessions?
Sessions will gradually increase in length from the beginning to the end of the retreat. Guests are welcomed to adjust their sitting position during sessions as needed and to use props to sit comfortably. Chairs are also provided.
Do we have to sit on the floor?
No, sitting on the floor is not required – there will be chairs available as needed. If you do choose the floor there will be cushions and other items for maximum comfort. We will also talk of ways of sitting comfortably.
What is the yoga like? Do I need to be flexible?
Hridaya Yoga is a meditative practice focused on going into the Spiritual Heart through the energy and movements of the body. It is accessible for all bodies and modifiable for any injuries or conditions. Don’t worry about whether you’re experienced at yoga or flexible.
What about the food?
We will serve professionally prepared organic, vegetarian meals. We will do our best to accommodate restricted diets, including vegan and gluten free – you will need to let us know preferences on your registration form. For highly restricted diets you may need to supplement your own meals. A refrigerator will be available to store your personal items. We do ask that everyone bring snacks, as needed.
What should I bring?
A list will be provided after registration. Note that you will need to bring bedding if you are staying in the shared room which is communal floor sleeping or camping supplies if you are camping.
What should I wear?
Warm, comfortable clothing. Things you can sit, move and walk in. Please bring layers as it can get chilly during meditation and warm during yoga sessions. July is warm in the Puget Sound, but also subject to rain and cold spells. There is also a rocky beach in walking distance, so bring walking shoes.
When should I arrive?
Please arrive between 10:30-11:30am on our first day. There will be an orientation, time to settle in and then we will begin our silence together. We will finish at 2pm on the final day. ALL participants are asked to stay through the end of the retreat. If this is a challenge, please let the facilitators know before you register.
Where is the retreat located? How do I get there?
The retreat is located on Harstine Island, outside Shelton, on the Washington Peninsula. It is roughly a 2 hour drive from Portland or 1.5 hour drive from Seattle. Note: Weekday commuting traffic can add 1-1.5 hours to your drive time. Directions will be provided after registration.
Grace Bryant has been a whole life educator for the past 13 years, integrating drama, music, movement, meditation and yoga, mindful living, creative play, teamwork, conscious collaboration and leadership. Her Yogic path began in 2005 when her sister dragged her to a Yoga class in Federal Way. She fell in love with savasana and came back just for relaxation.
In 2007, she was inspired to start teaching and since then has studied and taught in 6 countries and devoted her entire life to the journey of awakening. Grace is a graduate of Hridaya Teacher Training in Mexico and the Agama Tantra Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand. She believes these teachings can transform the consciousness of anyone who practices them sincerely.
Grace’s favorite classes are those which deepen our consciousness and also incorporate how to live with more awareness, trust and compassion. She leads classes, discussion groups, workshops, women’s groups, and retreats in the Pacific Northwest and abroad with a focus on bringing a Yogic approach into every area of life. Through Yoga, she has found a deep sense of peace and trust, and hopes to share this in her teachings. More information can be found at her website, www.bewholebehappy.com.
Phoebe Douglas’ passion for movement began as a child finding dance. Discovering Yoga as an adult and the connection of conscious breath linked with movement ~ was love at first sight. Her practice and study of Yoga has evolved from supportive Iyengar Yoga ~ dynamic Vinyasa Flow ~ to polar opposite Yin Yoga ~ to powerful Jivamukti Yoga ~ and since 2014 to a classical Hatha Yoga based practice of Hridaya Yoga and Meditation. The combined practice of contemplative Yoga asana and Meditation has been a profound source of peace, love, healing, great freedom ~ all whilst opening and awakening the Heart. Awakening this connection of who we are. Our connection to each other ~ to our earth ~ to our animal family. When not Meditating, practicing Yoga, writing or dancing ~ she will be found in the forest hugging trees.
Each Fall Phoebe will be in Japan offering a Yoga and Meditation Retreat at the traditional Hot Spring Village of Nozawa Onsen. Visit here for more details.
Daily Retreat Schedule
We will begin at 2pm on the first day and end at 2pm on the final day.
The daily Hridaya Silent Meditation Retreat schedule is split into two parts: a morning session (07:00-13:00) and an afternoon/evening session (15:30-21:00). This schedule is subject to change.
07:00-09:00 Meditation: Hridaya Meditation for the Revelation of the Spiritual Heart, Atman. This meditation will begin in smaller segments (for example, with short hourly breaks), building to one continuous, deep meditation session.
09:45-11:00 Relevant lecture teaching
11:00-12:30 Hatha Yoga: Practice of techniques, especially those that facilitate the revelation of the Spiritual Heart: a simultaneous (class-like) group practice
12:30-13:00 Meditation: The revelation of the Spiritual Heart
13:00-15:30 Lunch and rest.
15:30-18:00 Meditation: This meditation will begin in smaller segments (for example, with short hourly breaks), building to one continuous, deep meditation session.
18:00-18:30 Hatha Yoga: Individual practice and tapas
19:15-20:15 Daily themed spiritual discourse and Q&A (length depends on the number of questions)
20:15-~21:00 Final evening meditation (may go later depending on number of questions)
Please note that the time the retreat ends for the day will be determined by the number of questions asked in the Q&A.
All registration fees include a nonrefundable deposit of $250.
Before May 15: Cancellations will be refunded, less the $250 deposit.
After May 15: Cancellations will be refunded less the deposit IF we are able to fill your space.
Single Room w/Bathroom (only 1 room– contact Grace to ask about availability)
Early Registration – Before May 13: $1399
After May 13 – $1499
Shared/Common Room or Camping
Early Registration – Before May 13: $1199
After May 13 – $1299
Deposit to secure your place: $250
All final payments are due 30 days before the start of the retreat.
Limited partial scholarships and assistantships are available. Please inquire for details.