Since ancient times, retreats have been experiences where seekers could delve deeply into the mysteries of life and death. With plans to build with the most sustainable and eco-friendly practices on the planet, and located in the mythic ‘Place of Peace’ as known historically to the indigenous nations of the Americas – the N.A.T.U.R.E. Center will offer practitioners from all walks of life a refuge from a culture of distraction and a way to become immersed in a variety of meditation teachings and practice.
Our retreats will offer practical instruction and support for reconnection with your inner power, knowledge of self and freedom. These semi-silent retreats provide an absorptive experience. Practitioners stay in our sustainable lodging and eat organic plant-based cuisine from our eco-farm in the dining lodge. We will offer retreats lasting from 5 days to two months; most are 5-11 days long. There will be program options for both new and more experienced practitioners of meditation.
Guest will stay in their own private lodges with a capacity of only 2 persons per lodge. This level of privacy and seclusion adds to the reflective experience that a retreat offers.
Bodhidharma, an Indian monk who shared Kung Fu and Zen Buddhism with China, called meditation “a direct transmission outside the scriptures with no reliance on words or letters.” Residential retreat training, with its emphasis on lived experience rather than theoretical knowledge, is a uniquely powerful way to study and practice meditation.
HEALING SOUNDS AND INNER ALCHEMY
We will offer an intense practicum into the healing effects of the vibration of self-initiated sound. The ancients knew the power of sound vibrations, in particular the vowel sounds, which is why they were not included in ancient Kemetic/Egyptian language. These sounds, when voiced properly, provide a resonate frequency that our bodies’ organs and tissues can use to rejuvenate themselves. In modern times, the Chinese Daoist practice of Qi Gong is the most notable survivor of these teachings.
The N.A.T.U.R.E. Center fuses practices of traditional Indian and Tibetan Yoga with Chinese Daoism, finding a middle ground between the renunciation of the body and the inner alchemy teachings of ‘immortality’. Traditional yogic practices see value in making the body strong solely for the purposes of acquiring the ability to sit in meditation for long periods of time, with the focus on liberation or transcendence of the soul. The internal alchemy of Daoism/Qigong focuses on dissolving blockages in all the meridians, core channels, and dan tiens as well as clearing the vital organs, nervous, lymphatic, bone marrow and blood circulatory systems – separating your shen/soul, your qi, and your jing/body essence for the purpose of refining and recombining them back together into a pure spiritual essence. The basic premise is that your consciousness has a substance or essence that can be refined. Inner Alchemy speeds up the natural evolution of your essence.
DARK ROOM MEDITATION
The purpose of dark room meditation is to become accustomed to being outside of the body so you will know how to guide the spirit at the point of death. Being light and sound-proof, the dark room environment activates the glands of the ‘Crystal Palace’ (pineal gland, hypothamus gland and the pituitary gland). This stimulates the release of the hormones they secrete, activating their spiritual abilities and opening the way back to Source. When the Crystal Palace is open, it becomes illuminated like millions of shining crystals. It can give and receive light and awaken our inner knowledge and deepest potentials. It receives light and knowledge from the universe and reflects it to the various organs and glands to enhance them.
The dark room environment dramatically alters the chemistry of the brain, manifesting especially in neuro-endocrine systems, which govern consciousness and regulate body functions. An important neurotransmitter involved in waking consciousness (seratonin) converts into a regulatory hormone (melatonin) that shuts down the organ systems, quieting the body in preparation for the finer and subtler realities of higher consciousness. The pineal gland initiates a cascade of inhibitory reactions, permitting visions and dream-states to emerge in waking life. Eventually, the brain synthesizes the “spirit molecules” 5-methoxy-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) and dimethyltryptamine (DMT), facilitating the transcendental experiences of universal love and compassion.
SACRED HEALING WATERS
Scientists estimate that people have been drawn to the waters of Hot Springs, AR (Ancient Place of Peace) for the last 10,000 years. This is where the N.A.T.U.R.E. Center will be located.
These waters begin as rain water that is absorbed through crevices in the earth’s surface. It is then warmed and mineral enriched as it percolates deep underground. When the water eventually flows back to the surface, it has reached a temperature of 143 degrees Fahrenheit and is laden with over 20 mineral deposits.
The thermal waters that give Hot Springs its name are some of nature’s most miraculous features. Located along the forested southwestern slope of Hot Springs Mountain, the 47 “hot springs” gush forth nearly a million gallons of 143 degree water every day. Today, the naturally pure water is used for thermal bathing and massage, and is also consumed as drinking water from free public springs in the downtown area.
In 1541, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto, “the discover of the Mississippi River”, was the first European to visit the “Valley of the Vapors”, as indigenous nations called the area. De Soto and his conquistadors were reported to have spent several weeks here enjoying the warming waters. Prior to de Soto’s visit and many years afterwards, the springs were “neutral ground” where the Caddo and other tribes would gather in peace to enjoy nature’s bounty.
In the 20th century the tradition of Hot Springs as a ‘Place of Peace’ continued. The land was a neutral territory for gangsters from Chicago and New York where they would gather to gamble and enjoy the bathhouses.