For POC retreat, please just relax, get in touch with yourself, reflect and journal and pack well.
If you are joining our Zen retreat at RMERC, please know that if you want our retreats can be physically and psycho-spiritually intense. Typical Zen retreats are designed to tire our physical body and our calculating mind (“left” brain) such that our deeper layers of consciousness can be activated. And so Zen retreats involve many hours of seated meditation/chanting each day. But our sangha takes a trauma and grief informed approach to Zen training. We meet people where they are. If you like, we encourage you to prepare 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 weekend schedule, online 5 day retreat schedule or in-person 5-7 day retreat 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 two reasons: 1) Reducing carbon emissions and 2) to form/deepen human connections. 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
— Bring your own sleeping bag, sleeping pad, towels, pillow, comforter(s) and sheets ONLY IF you are camping. These things are provided for those staying inside the lodge.
— Please bring sun, darkness and rain protection (flashlight, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, water bottle, lip balm, poncho/umbrella).
— 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 prepare vegetarian food on site (for Zen retreats no dinner on the first day). 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. Please tell us about your dietary allergies/needs if you haven’t already.
— You are welcome to bring snacks & tea/coffee supplies. We will make tea/coffee in the morning and there will be a selection of herbal/caffeinated teas available at meals.
— Water in the lodge is from a recently tested well and is very much drinkable. It is very dry at this altitude. Bring two water bottles (and preferably a one gallon jug if you are camping).
— We have heavy chairs for indoor meditation which cannot be taken for walks. Bring light portable chair (e.g., Crazy creek, Thermarest etc) or foldable blanket for outdoor meditation. Do NOT bring any flat-mat (pad or zabutan) or round cushion (Zafu) for indoor meditation. There will be carpet pads available for outdoor use.
— Please bring a daypack/bag to take on hikes with you. This pack will hold water bottles, hat, blanket or yoga mat etc for outdoor activities.
— 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. The temperatures can swing between 80s and 40s even in the summer. Bring layers. Three season camping gear if relevant.
— Please know there are ticks, ants and mosquitoes in some areas. Bring your natural bug repellent along. Please bring biodegradable and scent-free toiletries for the protection of the ecosystem and people around you. Some people have multiple chemical sensitivities.
— 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.
— For retreats that are not focused on silent meditation (e.g. POC retreat), please bring your musical instruments and songs.
— Other things (small notebook & pen, camera, bath towel, emergency whistle, if needed).
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!