By now you probably have a new calendar for 2011. Have you blocked out time for retreat?

I like the old fashioned paper calendars myself. I’ve got bold lines through the weeks that I have reserved for my own retreat practice. If we don’t schedule our retreats in advance, the trivial busyness of life all to easily fills the days. Whether you have already been touched by the dhamma, or are just a little curious what it might be like to spend some time in silence, please reserve time for retreat practice this year. Meditating is the one activity that never feel like a waste of time or effort.

Many good retreats are offered throughout the USA and the world. Please do not restrict your options to the few big vipassana establishments. In my opinion most of the interesting, liberating, and deep teachings that are available in the west right now are not finding their way into the mainstream curriculum of the super-centers, but are instead thriving quietly in small retreats here and there, taught and nurtured by lesser known teachers.

It may take a few minutes of internet searching to find something that suits your interests and needs, but please look. There is a wonderful world of dhamma being nurtured outside those few super-centers that dominate the vipassana scene in America.

You might do internet searches with the names of teachers or Buddhist authors that you have heard of, styles of practice that interest you, or locations where you have family or friends that you enjoy visiting. Interesting or diverse listings can be found in Inquiring Mind, Mid-American Dharma, and my retreats schedule.

Wherever you choose to practice, may it bring insight and peace.