Bet Alef’s Annual Meditation Retreat is an opportunity for us all to take a break away from the busy-ness of our outwardly focused lives. In the quiet space of an extended Shabbat, you are invited to come and discover with Rabbi Olivier BenHaim the inner dimension of the Being that we are. Our retreat will be held in the resourcing meditative silence of the safe, peaceful environment of the Whidbey Institute.
Last Year: The Kabbalistic meditative tradition has, for the last few thousand years utilized sacred words or phrases to induce altered states of consciousness through practices of deep meditation. One of the most ancient of these sacred verses is the one found in the Book of Deuteronomy: “Sh’ma Israel Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad.” [Deut. 6:4] Immediately following this verse in Torah we read: “…repeat [these words] when you sit in your house [i.e. meditate], when you walk on your way, when you lie down, and when you rise up;” an injunction for a meditation practice. The Chasidic master of 18thcentury Eastern Europe called such practice of contemplative meditation Hitbonenut. Following in their steps, each participant in our Shabbaton Meditation Retreat will be given tools to discern for him/herself what is, at present, most calling for attention in their lives; and set for themselves a Kavanah, an Intention/Focus for the retreat and beyond. They will then choose a sacred word or phrase commensurate to their Kavanah to use through this weekend of Hitbonenut, contemplative meditation practice.
The retreat will include one-hour long silent meditation sessions, group and individual reflection time, as well as evening discourses and Q&A. We will also have time to laugh, play, create artwork, rest and celebrate together as a group, deepening our connections with one another. Oh, and the food is amazing!