2018 No retreats will be led by Rabbi David or Shoshana Cooper. For the other teachers please check with Isabella Freedman Retreat Center. Rabbi David has Lewy Body Dementia and he and Shoshana live at Uplands Village in Pleasant Hill TN. It is a continuing care retirement center that is small and simple and the perfect place to be forest hermits for the rest of their lives. They are finally living their dream to be full time meditators. They are happy. Should you be interested in a similar life, they can be contacted at email@example.com.
To learn more about our retreats that we used to offer please read what follows:
Background Information About Weeklong Silent Retreats
A weeklong silent retreat is one of the essential and most important practices for any spiritual aspirant. Each spiritual discipline and many teachers have unique practices, schedules, relationships between the teachers and students along with other nuances of the training. The retreats offered by the Coopers have their own flavor.
Mindfulness meditation is frequently learned to find a way to come to some calm and balance in one's everyday life. It is also a phenomenal path to a complete human transformation from a thought obscured person to one who is clear minded. The journey for most is arduous, humbling and incredibly valuable. Upon awakening one must encounter everything in a way that is awesome in its magnitude and far beyond the current human preoccupation of seeking pleasure and avoiding pain.
This retreat offers a path and brings guidance and collaboration to those who have chosen this journey. It assumes that a strong foundation of ethics and values has already been learned and integrated. The skills needed for this stage are: 1. concentration capacity and discipline 2. powerful mindfulness training practices 3. A thinking mind that can be released into stillness and can grow in that ability in more and more complex engagements. This final skill and stage is not as well mapped as the earlier skills. So collaboration with others can be very helpful to understand some of the commonalities but also the uniqueness that happens in this stage.
On our retreats we emphasize silence. Not every part of the day is silent, we actually chant and sing/pray together every morning. In some instruction periods, questions or comments are invited from the participants. Retreatants have opportunities to engage teachers, either one-on-one or in small groups. In our silence we are committed to not engage one another on a social level. We do not have mundane conversations. We do not greet one another verbally. Why is this so important? The answer is that something happens deep within each of us when we maintain an outer silence as described. An inner silence for practitioners on our retreats arises after a few days. It is a spaciousness that makes itself known on a very deep level. We experience an ease that is uniquely satisfying and deeply content on some kind of soul level that is inexplicable. We begin to feel profoundly connected with others around us, even though we are not speaking. And we begin to experience a fascinating integration with our surroundings, nature, life.
It is true that initially, for the first few days, the experience may feel a bit strange. We are social beings. But we are also very adaptable and soon we begin to realize the extraordinary wonder of the possibility of a moment-to-moment connection with what is happening right now--the magic and mystery of the unfolding NOW. When this happens, the silence becomes a precious gift. Indeed, on our retreats, after the third or fourth day, retreatants love the silence so much they want it to last as long as possible.
About the Teachers
Rabbi David Cooper is the author of many books, including The Handbook of Jewish Meditation Practices, God is a Verb and Ecstatic Kabbalah. He has also published a number of audio-sets, including Songs of Prayer and Silence, which he co-produced with his wife, Shoshana Cooper and Eliezer Sobel. Rabbi Cooper has led workshops and retreats in the US, Israel, Holland, Poland, New Zealand and Australia. His teachings offer a Jewish perspective that is complemented by the wisdom of other schools including Sufism, Zen and Tibetan Buddhism.
Shoshana Cooper is an artist and meditation instructor, composer and former nursing instructor. Shoshana has become a leader in the growing development of Jewish Meditation.
Eliezer Sobel is a certified teacher of the 5 Rhythms™, which he often offers as part of the annual meditation retreat with David and Shoshana Cooper. He is a musician and the author of Wild Heart Dancing, The 99th Monkey and Minyan: Ten Jewish Men in a World that is Heartbroken, winner of the Peter Taylor Prize for the Novel.
Rabbi Naomi Hyman guides her students in spiritual practices that awaken the soul, including sacred text study, meditation, ritual and prayer. Rabbi Naomi was ordained by Aleph: Alliance for Jewish Renewal in 2003. She also received a private contemplative ordination from Rabbi David Cooper in recognition of both her rabbinic studies and intensive meditation training under his guidance. She is the editor of Biblical Women in the Midrash: A Sourcebook (Jason Aronson, 1997) and co-editor of Trees, Earth and Torah: A Tu B’Shvat Anthology (Jewish Publication Society, 1999). Learn more at www.rabbinaomihyman.com.
Beth Resnick-Folk began searching for truth and peace of mind in her early teenage years. She probed the depths of western philosophy, romantic relationship, art and creativity, and world religion, to finally discover, at age 21, that everything is profoundly okay and that nothing is separate. Over the past 14 years, she has practiced extensively with world-class spiritual teachers, including Rabbi David and Shoshana Cooper, Adyashanti, and various teachers at Insight Meditation Society. In 2005, she was asked to teach by her long-time mentor, Shoshana Cooper. Beth works primarily with students 1-on-1 over Skype and leads in-person and virtual programs with her husband, meditation teacher, Kenneth Folk. She sincerely believes in the radical power of these practices to help people suffer less and find peace in their lives
The fees for retreats are for room and board only. There is no tuition for teachers, however, free will donations for teachers are welcomed at the end of each retreat.