Availability from February through April 2021
(Registration closes at noon on Wednesday, January 13)
In the Florida Community of Mindfulness, solitary retreat practice is an invaluable opportunity for each of us to spend some time away from our regular schedules and responsibilities in order to focus single mindedly on an aspect of our practice. Empty Cloud Cottage and the Lambright House Apartment, both located in Tampa near our Practice Center, are places where members of the Florida Community of Mindfulness can have solitary retreats from 3-5 nights while receiving the guidance of our teacher, Fred Eppsteiner. Many in our community have found that a solitary retreat with Fred's guidance helps immensely in deepening one's practice of Dharma and connection with the teacher.
The available dates for solitary retreats from February through April 2021 are as follows:
- February 3 - 9
- February 16 - 22
- March 9 -15
- March 29 - April 4
- April 13 -19
Please note that the last date in each period is a departure date, not a last night of retreat—i.e., you may depart on February 9, but you may not stay over the night of February 9.
Registration will close at noon on Wednesday, January 13. Please read the registration instructions below carefully before registering. For those who have not done a solitary retreat before, please also see Fred's letter on this practice opportunity below. Please note that only one person at-a-time will be staying at Empty Cloud or the Lambright apartment, and that retreat spaces will be assigned based on scheduling logistics, not on personal preferences of retreat applicants. Masks will be required and social distancing protocols followed for all daily interviews with Fred.
All solo retreats start in the afternoon of your first day, with departure the morning after your last night. A three-night retreat is the minimum, while the maximum is five. When you indicate preferred dates, please specify:
- Number of nights
- Arrival date
- Departure date
For example, ”3 nights Feb 3-6” would be a 3-night stay, arriving Feb 3 and departing after the third night on the morning of Feb 6.
The daily cost is $35 (payable either directly to Fred or to FCM depending on where you are assigned to stay), which covers the cost of lodging. As has been the tradition since the time of the Buddha, priceless Dharma teachings are given freely. Any dana you may wish to offer for the teachings may be given directly to Fred by check at the conclusion of your retreat.
If you are interested in a solitary retreat, please identify your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd preferences for dates for your stay in this registration. If your request does not fill up the entire time period offered, please do your best not to choose dates in the middle of the period--i.e., either arrive on the first day of the period or depart on the last day of the period. This helps us maximize the number of retreatants within a given time period. Please do NOT enter any dates not included within the above list of available dates.
We will do our best to schedule as many people as possible into the available slots at Lambright and Empty Cloud Cottage. Carol Meyer will be in touch with each person who registers via email to offer and confirm retreat dates and location. As interest in solitary retreats has grown and space is limited, please understand that it may not be possible to accommodate everyone who registers. If you are not offered a slot during this time period, you are welcome to register again when new dates are offered.
Scholarships: Thanks to a recent donation received in honor of Fred's mother, Ruth Eppsteiner, a limited number of scholarships are available to support solitary retreats. You may apply for a scholarship when you register.
If you have any questions, please reach out to Carol at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Letter from Fred:
In response to newer members' questions about the practice of solitary retreat at FCM, let me share a paragraph from an email sent to members when it was first opened several years ago.
While the Zen and Vipassana meditative traditions, as practiced in the States, regularly practice in a group setting and have group retreats, practitioners in both these traditions have also engaged in solo practice. On the other hand, the Tibetan meditative tradition has always emphasized solitary retreats for those who seek deeper levels of understanding and awareness. Having practiced in both group and solitary meditative settings, I have had the opportunity to experience both the positives, as well as the differences, of these two methods. As most of you have been involved in our group meditations and retreats, you know the power of group sitting. The constant support of fellow meditators, encouragement from the teacher, and the structure of a mandatory daily schedule, certainly creates an environment conducive to a deepening of practice. As well, it allows for “economy of scale”, i.e. many persons can access the retreat environment, receive teachings and instructions at the same time.
A private personal retreat is somewhat different. Here, we set our own meditation schedule and choose the focus or subject matter of our meditative practice. Since we have to rely more on our own inspiration and self-discipline to support ourselves in our practice, there is opportunity for touching deeper reservoirs within ourselves, strengths and abilities we might have doubted lay within us. Also in solitary retreat we are alone, so we have a unique experience in modern America...an opportunity to spend time away from the myriad distractions of daily life that we conspire with to keep from looking deeply within. In solitary retreat, we can learn how to dwell alone in happiness and well-being. There is also the opportunity to meet daily with the teacher, receive personal guidance and support, choose meditation practices tailored to your personal experience, and receive the relentless energy of the teacher to prod you out of the familiar and comfortable, to help you wake up.
In the Dharma,