FAQ

Retreats

Can you provide a general description of your retreats including what the daily schedule is like?

We offer non-residential and residential retreats in the Insight Meditation and Theravada Buddhist tradition. The non-residential retreats do not include lodging or meals while the residential retreats do. Both forms of retreat have alternating periods of sitting and walking meditation. Retreats also include time for practice instructions by the retreat teacher, time to ask the teacher practice questions either in group or individual formats, and a talk by the teacher on the practice.

Non-residential retreats typically begin the day at 8 or 9 a.m. and run until 5 or 6 p.m. with a break mid-day for lunch. Retreatants bring their own lunches to non-residential retreats unless otherwise indicated.

Residential retreats usually begin with a period of meditation before breakfast. Meals are generally followed by a period of personal time and then the remainder of the morning, afternoon, and evening is spent on the activities described above.

Our retreats are generally held in silence to support the work of giving attention to our inner experiences of mind and body and to the ways that we relate to our experiences of the world. This silence includes giving ourselves the gift of a period of seclusion from our electronic communications and social media. You can learn more about the practicalities of the silence in our Retreat Culture and Etiquette page.

Information about what to bring, etc. will be sent to you after you have completed registration.

What is Insight Meditation?

Insight Meditation is an easily accessible way to free the mind from the distortions of self-centeredness, craving, negativity, and confusion. Through focused and collected awareness we come to see that our experience is a constantly changing process in which all aspects of life can be accepted with increasing balance and equanimity. These insights lead to the possibility of living each moment fully with goodwill and compassion and with freedom from unsatisfactoriness and suffering.

People of many belief and faith backgrounds, and none, have found the practices to be helpful in coming to live their lives with more immediacy and ease.

Insight Meditation teachings and practices are derived from the teachings and practices of the Theravada Buddhist tradition of Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. Depending on the theme of the retreat and the teaching, more or less emphasis may be placed on the Buddhist teachings. The point of sharing the Buddhist teachings is as a practical guide for coming to live with more ease and equanimity.

Food

Will I be able to follow a vegetarian diet? … a vegan diet? … a gluten-free diet?

For complex reasons Mid America Dharma made the decision in the Fall of 2016 to begin serving meat as the main protein source at our meals. (See the explanation for this decision.)

At the time we made this decision we hoped that the residential retreat facilities that we use would be able to offer a vegetarian option as well. What we are finding is that some of them are willing to cook special meals as long as they know prior to the retreat. Other facilities are only able to offer one or the other.

Because of this we have revised our policy on meals:

“Meat will be served as the primary protein source at Mid America Dharma retreats. For retreatants wishing or needing a vegetarian diet, our expectation is that the facility will also provide one or more of the following alternative protein sources at each meal (beans, cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs, peanut butter, sliced cheese) and will also provide a cooked vegetable and a salad bar at each lunch and dinner/supper.

If a retreatant has needs beyond those specified above, they may request through the registrar that Mid America Dharma check with the facility to see if those needs can be accommodated. We will check with the facility and inform the retreatant. If the facility cannot accommodate the needs, then the retreatant should feel free to bring additional foods to supplement those provided by the facility. Mid America Dharma will inform the retreatant about the refrigeration, preparation and any storage facilities that may be available.

Registration materials will make this policy clear prior to the completion of registration as well as in the “welcome” message sent after registration.”

If you would like for us to check with the retreat facility about their ability to accommodate your needs or if you have further questions, feel free to contact the registrar. Whatever our diet, mealtimes offer an opportunity to practice mindfulness of eating and of all that arises in relationship to food.

Rooms and Bathrooms

Are single rooms available?

On most of our residential retreats we try to offer single rooms as we’ve found that this added seclusion is a support for practice. In some cases we may offer some double rooms because their per person cost is lower and because it allows more people to attend the retreat.

Will I have to share a bathroom?

This depends on the facility that is being used. We understand the desire for a private bathroom and try to provide this when possible.

Will I need to bring sheets and towels?

Most of the facilities we use provide sheets and towels. But please check the welcome message that you are sent after registering for the situation with the retreat you’ll be attending.

Fees

What do the fees cover?

Fees for non-residential retreats cover teacher travel and room and board expenses as well as facility rental, insurance, advertising expenses and other related costs. Fees for residential retreats cover the same expenses as non-residential retreats but also include the cost of your own lodging and meals as well as retreat manager expenses.

Fees do not cover any donations or payments to the teacher for their work offering teachings and practice guidance at the retreat. Near the end of the retreat, retreatants are offered an opportunity to financially support the teacher through a gift or donation which in the Pali language is called dana (pronounced dah-nuh). You can learn more about dana here. We hope you will support our teachers but there is no expected amount and dana is completely voluntary.

Registration Payment Methods

I don’t have a PayPal account. Can I pay on-line with a credit or debit card?

Yes. On the payment page there is an option to pay with your credit or debit card. It is below the option to select PayPal and is in smaller type.

I want to pay by check but forgot the registrar’s address. What can I do?

Send your payment to
Mid America Dharma c/o Phil Jones
200 E. Parkway Dr.
Columbia, MO 65203.

Please remember you are not registered until payment is received.

Retreat Information Following Registration

I didn’t receive detailed information about the retreat, what to bring, when to arrive, etc. How can I obtain this?

This information is automatically sent when on-line registration is completed with your payment. Please check your junk email folder to see if it was sorted there. If you can’t locate it, please  contact the registrar to request another copy.