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Retreat Offers Skills for Second Half of Life

   Portland, Ore.

At the invitation of the Oregon Health & Science University Center for Healthy Aging, the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation is offering a weekend meditation retreat for seniors on March 15 -1 7, at the be Menucha Retreat Center in Corbett, Ore., just outside Portland. The theme of the retreat is "Meditation for the Second Half of Life."

For three days seniors in the area will have an opportunity to get together with other men and women of retirement age to learn in depth the skills of the Eight Point Program developed for the Blue Mountain Center by its founder, Eknath Easwaran. This retreat presents meditation as a vehicle for turning the years of retirement into a time of growth and transformation: a set of daily living skills that can be used to deepen insight, overcome regrets, heal relationships and discover peace of mind.

Diana Lightman, director of family programs at the Blue Mountain Center, will present the program together with Jeanne Bowden, R.N., Ph.D., associate dean of nursing at OHSU School of Nursing, La Grande, and Marcy Davenport, R.N., clinical manager at Providence Marionwood Homecare in Issaquah, Wash. All three are longtime students of the Eight Point Program and eager to share the benefits they have gained from it themselves.

"The Eight Point Program is an opportunity to combat the negative aspects of aging. Participants will reflect on the retirement phase of life, develop personal goals that are endowed with meaning and purpose, and discuss some of the challenges associated with aging," Bowden said.

The Eight Point Program is based on a method of meditation that is universal: the silent repetition of inspirational passages that express ideals one would like to translate into daily life, according to Lightman.

Passages for meditation may be drawn from any religious tradition. The principle is simple: We become what we meditate on. Over time, as concentration deepens, the words of the passage sink deep into consciousness, quietly knitting thought, speech and action into harmony.

The healing effects of this program begin immediately, Lightman said. Benefits include:

  • Better concentration and memory
  • A heightened sense of purpose, meaning and self-worth
  • Fresh sources of vitality
  • Inner balance and flexibility
  • Increased capacity to love and to forgive
  • A deepening sense of oneness with all life
  • Skill in learning to leave behind painful memories and anxieties about the future so as to live fully in the present

Participants in this retreat will receive full instructions in each skill of the Eight Point Program with plenty of time to ask practical questions in a relaxed, informal setting. There will be time, too, for walks, reflection, sharing stories, meditation and delicious vegetarian meals.

Background information and a full description of the Eight Point Program, including instructions on how to meditate, and many appropriate passages from different religions is on the Web at

The cost for the three-day retreat is $295 and includes room, meals and materials. Rooms are doubles or comfortable triples. To register, call Diana Lightman, Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, 800 467-2369.

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