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Oct 5

Open Desert, Open Mind

October 5 - October 13

The very transparent, unfixed, yet alive quality of consciousness is its nature, a bit like air around us. If you relax and allow this experience of unfixed knowing, you will discover what Buddhists writers call the clear open sky of awareness. It is empty like space, but unlike space it is sentient; it knows experience. In its true state, consciousness is simply this knowing—clear, open, awake, without color or form, containing all things, yet not limited by them.

Jack Kornfield, The Wise Heart

Eureka Valley is a vast open space that stretches on for miles. Here the scale of desolate earth and expansive sky is something to behold. “Clear, open, awake, without color or form, containing all things, yet not limited by them,” writes Jack Kornfield. What better container, what better mirror, for an expansive state of mind than the vast open space of Eureka Valley?

“Open Desert, Open Mind” draws upon the wilderness-based tradition of the School of Lost Borders and the spiritual practice of sitting meditation to create a unique program for desert contemplatives. This is neither a typical SOLB program nor a typical meditation retreat, but a blend of the two. The usual SOLB program invites participants to spend time alone on the land to access a deeper telling of their own story (while a wide-open desert setting naturally encourages an inner stillness that supports this deeper telling). A meditation retreat usually invites participants to move beyond the telling of stories in search of inner stillness (though often a deeper knowing of one’s own story is a gift found within that stillness). Here we will draw on both traditions.

While this program draws some from Buddhist teachings, no particular religious orientation or spiritual affiliation is asked of participants – nor is any excluded. That said, comfort with a regular meditation schedule is recommended.

Program Overview

During the first four days together, we will weave together a tapestry of inner and outer exploration. Mornings will be a mix of sitting practice and council time for stories about what is coming up while sitting, with each successive morning becoming more silent than those before. Afternoons will start with several hours alone on the land to invite clear open awareness, inside and out. Late afternoons and evening will again be a mix of sitting and council, including time to have our stories mirrored by others. The morning of the fifth day, participants will be smudged out for a 24-hour solo fast in the desert. After a day of reentry, we’ll then spend two full days hearing everyone’s story, inviting a mirror of each story from both the desert expanse and our three guides.

This program is led by Scott Eberle and Silvia Talavera with Bettina Straub

Program Questions to Scott Eberle: [email protected]


October 5
October 13
Program Category:


School of Lost Borders
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