Zen retreats (sesshins) can be physically and psycho-spiritually intense. They are designed to tire our physical body and our calculating mind (“left” brain) such that our deeper layers of consciousness can be activated. Zen retreats involve many hours of seated meditation/chanting each day. We highly encourage preparing one’s heart-mind-body for upcoming discipline and deep purification by trying these steps in the preceding months/weeks:
— Please try getting to bed and wake up earlier than usual.
— Please meditate every day even if for a short time.
— Please familiarize yourself with our retreat schedule (online schedule or in-person schedule), basic Zen teachings and sesshin culture. Do share your questions and concerns with us. We will do everything to make it work for you.
Car-pooling to RMERC
We strongly recommend carpooling for three reasons: 1) Reducing carbon emissions, 2) to form/deepen human connections and 3) parking space is limited. If you haven’t already planned carpooling, we recommend that you meet others at 418 Lee Hill Drive (Close to Lee Hill/Broadway at Four Mile Canyon trailhead parking area) and self-organize to go in as few cars as possible. It takes about 45 minutes from this area.
Driving and parking directions
For legal and logistical reasons, please know that no one is allowed on the RMERC land without registration. After you have registered, download detailed directions for drivers. Please know that sometimes Lefthand canyon is closed for construction and taking Lee Hill Drive up to James Canyon might be preferable. There is no phone signal up Lee Hill. Park in our parking lot and not on the Overland road.
What to pack
— There is no need to bring your own towels, pillow, comforter(s) and sheets unless you have made arrangements to camp.
— Please bring sun, darkness and rain protection (flashlight, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, water bottle, poncho).
— Please bring sturdy shoes/boots for hiking and flip-flops for indoor use. Expect uneven surfaces on trails.
— Toiletries, prescription/non-prescription medication, dietary supplements, and/or other personal items. We will make coffee in the morning and there will be a selection of teas available at meals.
— We will prepare food on site except for dinner on the first day. You are welcome to bring snacks & tea/coffee supplies. There will be very limited refrigerator space for personal perishable items which can be used during personal time but not formal meal times. You can bring Tupperware to take cooked food away with you at the end of the retreat.
— Water in the lodge is from a recently tested well and is very much drinkable. Bring your water bottle.
— We have heavy chairs for indoor meditation. Bring portable chair or foldable blanket for outdoor meditation. Do NOT bring any flat-mat (pad or zabutan) or round cushion (Zafu) for indoor meditation.
— Please bring your favorite ear plugs. The lodge is a bit squeaky if you are sensitive to sounds.
— Please bring jacket, hat and gloves, as appropriate for you. Ward/Jamestown is considerably cooler than Boulder/Denver. Snow is expected in May.
— Please know there are ticks, ants and mosquitoes in some areas. Bring your natural bug repellent along.
— Please do not bring any pets as they are not permitted at the center due to all of our wildlife.
— Please do not bring any electrical gadgets (hair dryer etc) with you. The electrical lines of the lodge can not handle too many gadgets.
While you are up at RMERC
— We will maintain noble silence except for instructions, interviews and as needed to complete our cooking/cleaning assignments.
— Reduced oxygen levels at 8500 feet can cause altitude sickness. Please drink plenty of water, eat lightly and consider bringing chlorophyll drops (see here).
— Please stay on trails during walking and don’t leave trace of food on the land. The flora and fauna in this pristine ecosystem are precious and would thank us for our mindfulness.
— Please expect to see wildlife (moose, bear and very very rarely mountain lions). Run/hide if you see an aggressive moose. Back away calmly and make yourself bigger if you see a bear and mountain lion.
— Smoking and campfires are expressly prohibited by the county sheriff due to extreme fire danger.
— If you are attending part-time, please know that we usually lock the lodge when we are meditating outdoors to keep wildlife out.
— We will create more guidelines as a community to honor each other’s needs at the beginning of the retreat.
Bring your passion to explore your own unconscious and sub-conscious mind, love and care with you. May our gatherings serve us all very well. Looking forward to connecting with you very soon!