The Art and Wisdom of Being Human. Virtual retreat

Dear Friends,

It seems that, in these times, there is an inordinate number of negative feedback loops in the human realm that persistently remind us of our failures, our destructiveness, and our incompetence when it comes to interacting with the worlds around us. It sometimes seems so pervasive that a sense of despair and apathy about how to meet these challenging times can consume our thinking, emotions, and actions and deaden aspirations and inspirations. This gathering for art and practice is not so much to address the multitude of problems that humanity and the other-than-human world face, but to offer some practices that might, for a minute, lift the veils of doubt and fear and awaken the natural capacity for creativity and wisdom that is inherent in all beings. With this even bried awakening, a seed is planted that when attended to will strenghthen our ability to engage in these times with unconditioned compassion for ourselves and all beings.

The Sangha of the Pandemic will be offering this virtual retreat in June; The Art and Wisdom of Being Human. It will begin on the evening of Thursday, June 13 and continue through Monday, June 17 around noon PST. Over the three full days and two partial days we will use meditation practice, small group exchanges and three forms of creative expression to contemplate and inquire into the basic wisdom and creativity of humanness.There will be several opportunities during the retreat for drop-ins if you cannot participate in the entire retreat. There will be some activities on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday that will only be open to folks who have committed for the entire retreat. There is some flexibility ffor participation in these meetings if you cannot attend eihter Thursday opening or Monday closing.

Below is a schedule for the retreat. All meditation periods and dharma talks are open for drop-ins. All group exchanges and creative expression practices are for folks who have registered and intend to attend these sessions on Friday Saturday and Sunday. 

The creative practices will be


Spontaneous Line Drawing


Folks participating in these will choose only one creative expression for the whole retreat.  If you are unable to attend these sessions, written instructions and guidance will be provided for folks who would like to take up a practice after the retreat. When choosing a creative expression it is recommended that you choose the one you are least familiar with or most hesitant to attempt. Supplies that you will need to provide for creative expression:

Poetry: journal and writing tool

Line Drawing: Graphite pencils and any other form of colored medium. Drawing paper.

Woodcraft: Whittling knife and sandpaper. A link for the recommended knife will be provided after you register.

The retreat will happen on Zoom. Please download the Zoom app before the first day of the retreat. If you have not worked with Zoom before, begin to familiarize yourself with it. You can practice using Zoom with the sangha during our six practice sessions during the week. Click here to see those times. More detailed instructions and sign-in codes will be provided once you have registered.There are no fees for participation in the retreat and everyone is welcome regardless of experience in meditation or creative expression. Feel free to forward this invitation to anyone who you think might enjoy and benefit from the retreat.

Please take time to register for the retreat even if you will not be able to attend the whTo register use this link.

The instructions for registration are pretty straightforward, and if you have questions or are not able to register please email William at:

Draft schedule of the retreat Times are PST

Thursday June 13

5:00 – Check – in
5:20 – Practice
5:50 – Intro to retreat and logistics
6:15 – pause
6:30 – Intro to break out. Reflect on “The art and wisdom of being human.”
6:45 – Breakout
7:30 – Shared reflections.
8:00 – CloseFriday – Sunday April 19 – 21

7:00 – Check – in and practice
8:00 – 10 minute stretch.
8:10 – Intro to small group reflections.*
8:30 – Break out for small group reflections.*
9:45 – Shared reflections*

10:00 – Break
10:20 – (Friday only. Intro to creative practice.) Creative Practice*
11:30 – Shared reflections*

Noon – Break
1:00 – Stillness and movement practice
2:00 – Dharma Talk
2:30 – Break
2:45 – Creative practice*
3:45 – Shared reflections*

4:00 – Break
6:00 – Practice
6:30 – Q&A /Check -in

Monday, April 22

6:30 – Check -in and practice
7:30 – Stretch
7:45 – Dharma Talk
8:15 – Q&A
8:30 – Break out: Colloquium
10:00 – Shared reflections
10:30 – Closing

*These activities are for folks who are attending the entire retreat.