Windhorse Retreat Center is Open

by Larry Steele

Beyond the Tibetan-style gateway, nestled among hundreds of trees and echoing with birdsong, sit the three small cabins of Windhorse Retreat Center. Over the past 9 years, a steady stream of meditators have taken the ferry to Whidbey Island, loosened their ties to the everyday world, and settled into the cabins for solitary and small-group retreat.

“This place has developed a very good energy,” said Matthew Lyon, who founded Windhorse and lives on the land with his wife Tommie. Grassy pathways meander between stone-bordered ponds and through the 300 new trees they and friends have planted. “It is very beautiful right now, offering the solace of nature and connection to the elements,” Matthew said. “In these stressful times the fortunate energy of this place is proving to be a helpful resource and refuge for people who come to practice.”

Windhorse is operating with careful protocols, including three days of separation between retreats. Matthew and Tommie operate the center without staff, so it is best when practitioners are experienced and prepared to self-direct their own retreat.

In Tibetan tradition a particularly sacred spot may be regarded as a “beyul,” an auspicious, relatively secret, not well known, place for meditation. Experienced practitioners are naturally drawn to beyuls. Windhorse, for example, operates with no marketing, but welcomes Buddhist meditators, artists, poets, musicians and anyone respectfully drawn to its special energy.

Over time, the inherent energy of Windhorse has expanded as “each visiting meditator brings the quality of their own practice and good intention,” Matthew said. “This raises the vibration of the place to a higher level. In this way our practice can join heaven and earth, through our synchronization with the elements of nature.”

Many great teachers knew the benefit of going on meditative retreat. They often cultivated a balance between engaging in retreat and returning to everyday activity. Today the whole world is on a kind of retreat from normal life. During this pause, may we take time to feel our compassion and clarity, and perhaps discover a renewed understanding of interconnectedness.

Matthew Lyon can be reached via email at [email protected] for more information and scheduling.

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