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Marigold: 648 SW 2nd Street in Downtown Corvallis
Guided by Hemant Bhanoo and Kate Gallagher
September 1-3 | Friday 6-9pm; Saturday 9am-4pm; Sunday 9am-4pm
Public: $220 | OSU Faculty & Staff: $200 | OSU/LBCC students: $120*
Multiple sources report that adult Americans spend, on average, between 7-11 hours per day on a screen and around 4 hours per day on their phones. Our connected, digital world offers many benefits and opportunities, yet the time we spend attending to the phone and computer is inherently time spent not attending to other aspects of living, feeling, and knowing. We all know that tired-eyed, brain-scrambled, dull feeling of regret after having binged on social media, the news, or your preferred digital outlet. . .
In this retreat, we'll inquire: What is available to us when we, instead, look up, and out or within? What might we be missing when we aren't attending to the world around us? How does the body and nervous system respond to a slower pace, freedom from scrolling, and less blue light? What could we do with all that extra time?!
This non-residential retreat is for anyone drawn to the "practice of unplugging" and interested in getting to know the non-digital world, including one's very own mind, heart, and body. It is for experienced practitioners, eager beginners, and those somewhere in between. Guided by Hemant Bhanoo and Kate Gallagher, retreatants will be supported in preparing to engage a temporarily low or no-tech (screen) life over the course of the retreat weekend. On-site sessions will emphasize simple embodiment (gentle yoga, walking outdoors, deep breathing) and meditation practices designed for grounding, presencing, and knowing - more vividly - the world, mind, and body in which we inhabit. There will be periods of discussion and periods of quietude. We highly recommend watching the documentary film The Social Dilemma prior to the retreat (available on Netflix).
A retreat is an opportunity for an immersive, transformative experience that tends to look very different than daily life. We've put together some thoughts about how a person might consider preparing for and approaching this retreat, however the parameters and "container" each person sets for themselves outside of the group sessions is self-determined and scalable.
First (What) - Consider what types of digital or "smart" devices unnecessarily or detrimentally consume your attention - think: phones, tablets, laptops, and smart watches. Also, consider the digital platforms that unnecessarily or detrimentally consume your attention, such as texting, social media, the news, Netflix, gaming, and/or other apps.
Next (Why) - Consider why you're interested in taking a break from the digital world. What benefit do you hope to cultivate? What's motivating you? What do you want to give yourself or move closer to? It's okay if you just have some vague ideas. . . you don't really need to know exactly why you're doing it, you just need a little spark to get started and to refer back to when old habits kick in.
Last (How) - As you plan and prepare for retreat, you'll want to reflect on your life situation, formulate your self-determined DD retreat parameters, and gradually enact small changes so you're ready to dig deep during the weekend. The key here is to challenge yourself by stepping away from devices and distractions to extent possible for you, while using common sense, keeping safe, and honoring essential personal commitments. Below, some more specific suggestions to consider.
Items to bring: yoga mat, "non-smart" timepiece/meditation timer (ideas: an old-fashioned watch or a timer such as this, this or this), journal, pen, a stamped envelope (Sunday), a sack lunch, or plan to have lunch downtown (Wild Yeast Bakery, Bodhi Cafe, and Laughing Planet are within walking distance).
Items provided: folding chairs, zabutons, zafus/meditation benches, air conditioning :)
All participants will need to review, sign and submit a liability waiver before the retreat begins (Coming soon).
Please contact us at ContemplativeStudies@oregonstate.edu or leave a voicemail at 541-737-4785 if you have questions about the retreat or to request ability-related accommodations. The registration link will bring you to a credit/debit card payment portal on TouchNet. If you'd prefer to reserve your spot via check or cash payment instead, let us know!
This retreat is limited to 20 participants.
*Current OSU undergraduate students in need of financial support to attend may apply for a 75% scholarship (quantity 4). Click here to apply.
Registration fees are non-refundable unless we are able to fill your spot.
Hemant is a father, meditator, engineer, investor, and founder. Hemant began meditating over 30 years ago; He sat his first 10-day-silent retreat in the Goenka/Vipassana tradition in 2007, continues to sit in that tradition, and goes on retreat whenever he builds up the courage to ask his wife for 10 days away. He facilitated “Search Inside Yourself” (SIY), a mindfulness and leadership class developed at Google while he was an engineer there. Hemant then taught SIY to executives at organizations (governments, corporations, non-profits) worldwide. He also helped train mindfulness teachers and was an executive at SIYLI.org, a non-profit that makes the SIY curriculum available outside of Google. His current startup brings meditators together every day. The Bhanoo family moved to Corvallis in June 2022.
Kate met contemplative practices through postural yoga as a sophomore in college. It took a few years to develop an interest in the quieter, more still practices of meditation -- and the importance and value of embodiment work remains a vital piece of her practice and teaching. Kate's pursuit of yoga teacher trainings across the U.S. in 2009 unexpectedly landed her in the good care of teachers in the Geluk and Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. It is in these styles of study and practice, and in the rich lineage of Indian yoga, that she has since found a personal, contemplative home - although, she maintains a great love for contemplative and mystical perspectives from many traditions.
Kate earned a Master's degree at OSU in Applied Religious Ethics, completed and taught several advanced yoga teacher programs, trained in the secular, research-based curriculum of mindful self-compassion (MSC) and in 2018, had the immense privilege to spend a year in a solitary, largely silent meditation retreat centered on shamatha (calm abiding) and vipassana (inquiry/insight). Kate works as OSU's Contemplative Studies Initiative coordinator, teach courses in REL and PSY, and stewards Marigold. Kate's approach to postural yoga, embodiment, and relaxation is dynamic, intuitive, and biomechanically mindful; her approach to meditation is systematic and relatively traditional, yet welcoming.