In an effort to explore the different wisdom traditions that host retreats at the Garrison Institute and spend quality time together as a team, the Garrison Institute staff gathers three times a year for contemplative retreats. Earlier this fall, we participated in a retreat led by Lama Willa Miller, an authorized dharma teacher and lineage holder in the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
While rooted in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, Lama Willa’s teachings make a special emphasis on how communing with the natural world can help us reconnect with our deepest resources so that we can exercise compassion on behalf of the earth. Over the course of our 1-day staff retreat, we engaged in a number of wilderness practices on the Institute’s beautiful grounds—including walking meditation on our trails, sky-gazing from our front meadow, and sitting meditation in a gazebo overlooking the Hudson River.
In addition to her work as the Founder and Spiritual Director of Natural Dharma Fellowship in Boston, Massachusetts—and its retreat center Wonderwell Mountain Refuge in Springfield, New Hampshire—Lama Willa is the editor, author, and translator of three books: The Arts of Contemplative Care: Pioneering Voices in Buddhist Chaplaincy and Pastoral Work, Everyday Dharma: Seven Weeks to Finding the Buddha in You, and Essence of Ambrosia. She is currently a Visiting Lecturer in Buddhist Ministry at Harvard Divinity School.