May 13, 2021

Awakening: Insight Meditation Retreat for Experienced Practitioners

Awakening: Insight Meditation Retreat for Experienced Practitioners

Narayan Helen Liebenson and Rodney Smith
with Ellen McCown (movement)

Saturday, August 21 – Wednesday, August 25

This silent retreat will focus on freeing awareness from the bonds of our personal narrative and mental projections. Teacher guidance will help retreatants strengthen a fearless presence that holds the entirety of life within the magnanimous heart. Together, we will explore the spiritual path as a journey through our self-constructed identity into realms of profound stillness and contentment.

The prerequisite for this retreat is three years of experience in the Insight or Zen traditions and 3-week long or longer silent residential retreats.

Registration for this program closes 30 minutes prior to the opening session.

For this course, sliding scale fees are $200, $325, or $500. We also offer a scholarship fee of $100, and no-fee enrollment for those who request a fee-waiver. Our “Pay What You Can Afford” system supports the cultivation of a dynamic and inclusive community and contributes to the health and vibrancy of the sangha. Email for more information or to request a scholarship or no-fee enrollment.

Teacher Support
Most IMS teachers—like insight teachers around the world—offer their teachings freely, and rely on the generosity of students for their livelihood. Teachers do not generally receive compensation from IMS program fees, though IMS may offer a modest advance to ensure financial support and the continuation of the teachings. Click here to learn more about teacher support. There will be an opportunity to offer a contribution to your teachers at the end of your program, or you may donate now.


Daily Schedule – all times listed in Eastern Time (EDT)
Note: all sessions will be recorded and posted so you can view it later if you missed one

Saturday, August 21 – Tuesday, August 24
11 am – 12 noon – Guided Meditation, Instructions for the Day
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm – Dharma Talk, Sitting
3 pm – 3:45 pm – Qigong with Ellen McCown
4:15 pm – 5 pm – Q & A
7:15 pm – 8 pm – Guided Meditation

Wednesday, August 25
11 am – 12 noon – Guided Meditation
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm – Closing Talk, Refuges & Precepts, Metta

Suggested At-Home Schedule – listed in Eastern Time ET:
7:00 am – sitting
7:30 am – walking
8:00 am – breakfast
9:00 am – walking
9:45 am – sitting
10:30 am – walking
11:00 am – First Session
12:00 pm – lunch
1:00 pm – walking
1:30 pm – Second Session
2:30 pm – walking
3:00 pm – Third Session
3:45 pm – walking
4:15 pm – Fourth Session
5:00 pm – dinner
6:30 pm – walking
7:15 pm – Fifth Session
8:00 pm – walking
8:30 – sitting
9:15 – rest or continued formal practice

Suggested At-Home Schedule – listed in Pacific Time PT
6:45 am – sitting
7:30 am – breakfast
8:00 am – First Session
9:00 am – break / movement
10:00 am – walking
10:30 am – Second Session
11:30 am – walking
12:00 pm – Third Session
12:45 pm – lunch
1:15 pm – Fourth Session
2:00 pm – break / movement
3:30 pm – walking
4:15 pm – Fifth Session
5:00 pm – walking
5:30 pm – dinner
6:15 pm – walking
7:00 pm – sitting
7:45 pm – walking
8:15 pm – sitting
9:00 pm – rest or continued formal practice


Teacher Bios

Narayan Helen Liebenson finds it a joy and a privilege to share the Buddha’s teachings with all who are interested. She serves as an IMS guiding teacher, and has been a guiding teacher of the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center since its inception in 1985.

Her training over the past forty years includes study in the United States and in Asia with meditation masters in the Theravada, Zen, and Tibetan traditions.  She was a student of the late Chan master Sheng Yen for over ten years. Asked by Master Sheng Yen to teach, Narayan decided to integrate her understanding of Zen into her already existing Vipassana lineage.

Narayan is the author and illustrator of a small book titled Life as Meditation, and for many years wrote a meditator’s advice column in Buddhadharma magazine. Her latest book, The Magnanimous Heart, was published by Wisdom Publications in January, 2019.

Rodney Smith disrobed as a monk in 1983 and for the next 35 years taught Insight Meditation throughout the U.S. and for many of those years worked in hospice care. In 2017 he retired from most work related obligations, allowing him to explore a life unconstrained by time. He is the author of four books including Touching the Infinite: A New Perspective on The Buddha’s Four Foundation of Mindfulness. His teaching style is direct and undeviating, emphasizing the immediacy of awakening and the embodiment of awakened values.

Information you might find helpful:
Guidelines For Your Home Retreat
IMS Online Program Etiquette
IMS Online FAQ’s