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    Beyond Perception
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    Letting Go

    Spiritual practice is about letting go, not adding anything.  This is difficult for us because all of our conditioning is about getting things and learning how to hold on to them. 

    We have invested ourselves in the notion that we need to get more in order to be happy and complete, and so this is what we have learned how to do.  

    The act of release is actually quite easy, and requires much less effort than grasping or clinging.  Yet it is so unfamiliar that many of us have no idea how to do it.

    - Beyond Perception

    An old proverb goes
    something like this:  

    It is not the mountain ahead that wears you down, but the grain of sand in your shoe.

    If we are honest with ourselves right now, the mountains ahead of us do seem impossible to cross, and our chances of making it through this next period of human history make even the optimists among us hesitate.

    Yet the very problem may be that we are focusing on the mountains, instead of looking in our shoe.

    Beyond Perception

    Becoming More Awake

                The alternative to this is for us to become more awake. Waking up is not an abstract ideal or final destination. It is what we are here to do, yet it is not a goal to achieve some time off in the future. Waking up can only happen in this moment, and it happens by simply being present with what we are doing now.

    In each moment we are either more awake or more asleep. There appears to be a gradual process of becoming more awake that allows for us to do it in our own time. Yet in reality time is not involved and there is no learning required. Unlike any other achievement that we know of, waking up is not a step-by-step process that the perceptual mind can direct and measure, and this is what makes it so difficult for us.

    None of our learning patterns apply to waking up. Waking up is a decision that we make to be present, when we reach the end of our tolerance for living life from a distance. We don’t learn how to do it. There isn’t a way, there is only the will. When we want to wake up and be real more than anything else, it begins to happen by itself.

    -Beyond Perception

Insight Meditation Retreats
For people with over-active minds who want a break 

    So, your mind is driving you crazy. The endless stream of random thoughts distracts you and makes it hard to focus. You're managing your life, but at the end of the day, you feel exhausted and overwhelmed. Even as you go to bed and try to sleep, the thoughts relentlessly scream for your attention.

    You have probably tried to silence the thoughts by distracting yourself with entertainment, stimulation, pleasure, or even pain. You may have drowned out the mental commentary with alcohol or drugs, or you may have seen a doctor and received a prescription for medication that promises to give you a respite.

    While these strategies may offer some relief from your demanding thoughts, they are short-term fixes that rely on substances that you eventually have to take in higher doses more often to get the same effect. None of these approaches actually deal with the cause of your thinking habit, and so they cannot produce a sustainable long term result.

    What you need is a way to unhook yourself from the constant commentary of your thinking mind by finding another place to put your attention. This is usually not an easy process because the story running through your mind is so compelling that it is hard to take your focus off of it for even a few moments. And that is what keeps it going.

    Fortunately, there is a set of simple tools that were created for just this problem by the Buddha over 2,500 years ago in ancient India. Known as meditation or mindfulness, they are simple practices that enable you to focus your awareness on ordinary bodily sensations such as breathing or walking. As you do this, the thinking mind begins to relax and subside because you are no longer giving it your attention.

    I have been practicing Insight Meditation since 1976, and leading retreats since 1999. I can show you how to refocus your awareness so that you become more present and your thoughts fade into the distant background – there when you need them, but not demanding your attention and causing stress.

    The focus of my teaching is to give you tools and support you in practicing them. You can then use them to relax and center yourself so you can be present and aware without being tense or anxious. You don't need to subscribe to beliefs or doctrines, or conform to a set of ideals. The result will be greater freedom and autonomy and a continually fresh perspective, unconstrained by old fears,doubts, and worries.

Weekend Retreats for 2015
October 2 - 4
Retreats begin at 6:00 on Friday and end by 3:00 on Sunday

Fees: $350/weekend  (includes tuition)
Registration deadline: 7 days before retreat  
Limited to 14 people
To register send a non-refundable deposit of $175

You can send a check to:
Sky Meadow Retreat
63 Winchester Rd.
Greensboro Bend, VT 05842

Or deposit by credit card via PayPal:

You may also pay in full at this time
We cannot accept credit cards at the retreat
Please bring cash or check to your retreat to pay for the balance

Working Scholarship Program

    We now have scholarship funds for a limited number of people to attend any workshop or retreat led by Miles for half-price. Please contact us via e-mail ( if you are interested.  You will still need to send a non-refundable deposit of half of the retreat fee to register.  Instead of paying the balance at your retreat or workshop, you will be asked to help out for a few hours a day during your stay.  Possible jobs include cleaning (kitchen, bathrooms, main room, or entryway), gardening, firewood carrying, or brush piling.  We will not require you to do physical work beyond your capacity, and will schedule your work times so that you do not miss any of your workshop. 
    If a retreat does not reach minimum enrollment and we have to cancel, we will either return your deposit in full or you may come as planned for a self-directed solo retreat which will include a private room or cabin, and one hour of private instruction with Miles, for the price of your deposit only. ($175) This type of solo retreat does not include meals. You may bring your own food and use our fully equipped kitchen. You may also transfer your deposit to any future retreat. If you are planning to travel to Sky Meadow by airplane, we recommend that you contact us one month or less before your retreat to be sure that the weekend has enough participants to run.

Insight Meditation Retreat Deposit

Name and Gender (M or F)
Dates of the retreat

    Also known as Mindfulness, or Vipassana Meditation, this simple method aims at clearing the mind, giving us a chance to experience truth directly for ourselves.  We use awareness of breathing and other body sensations to calm and focus the mind.  The retreat will be held mostly in silence and will focus on sitting and walking practice. There will be instructions, guided meditations, and inspirational talks based on personal insights inspired by  the teachings of the Buddha.

Retreats led by Miles Sherts

Miles learned this practice at a monastery in Sri Lanka in 1976.  The instructions and supporting teachings come from the Therevadin Buddhist tradition found in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, and other parts of Southeast Asia.  This tradition emphasizes the simple practices taught by the Buddha and does not involve ritual or complex systems of thought.  Miles has sat intensively and been on staff at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Mass, and has done retreats at other Asian and European Monasteries.

    The teachings during these retreats will focus on experience learned through years of practice rather than Buddhist language or theology.   Some basic teachings of the Buddha will be offered to create a context for the practice of meditation.  The teachings will relate directly to each persons current experience and the application of direct awareness to that experience.  The main focus will be on loosening the mind from habitual patterns of holding in order to experience the present moment as it is.  

Click Here for a video of Miles teaching Insight Meditation

A Typical Retreat Schedule:

Saturday, Sunday morning (* bell rung at these times)                     

*   6:30 - wake up bell     
*   7:00 - sitting
7:30 - guided yoga

*  8:00 - Breakfast

*   9:00  - talk and instructions
9:35 – guided walking
10:00 - sitting
10:35 - walking
11:00 - sitting
11:35 – walking

*  12:00- Lunch

*   2:30 – talk and instructions
3:05 - walking
3:30 - sitting
4:05  - walking
4:30 – sitting
5:05 – guided yoga

*  6:00  - Dinner

*   7:30 - sitting
8:05  - stretch
8:15  - Evening Talk

9:00  – sitting
9:15 – self-directed practice, or bed