Swami Chetanananda is in residence at The Movement Center in Portland, Oregon, for much of the year. The Movement Center is a place for retreat and practice, as well as a spiritual community. Although Swamiji occasionally offers programs in other venues, most of his teachings happen in Portland.
When Swamiji is in residence at The Movement Center, he teaches a weekly eyes-open practice, an advanced form of meditation with the potential for profound transformation. This eyes-open practice was the one shared by Swamiji’s guru, Swami Rudrananda (Rudi), in a form he called, simply, “class.” In class, teacher and students participate in an exchange of creative energy and the experience of a complete interconnection.
“In the highest dimension of tantric practice, meditation is always done with the eyes open, whether it is the tradition of esoteric Saivism or the tradition of Vajrayana Tibetan Buddhism. Our eyes are open because there is no difference between inner and outer, and we are never in denial of our physical reality.”
Eyes open meditation involves a transmission of energy from teacher to student, and it is one of the traditional forms of shaktipat (“descent of grace”). Shaktipat encourages the vital force in the student to coalesce and strengthen, arousing its ability to generate a change in the subtle energetic mechanism.
The experience we have in class informs our experience of life. We learn to move through our day with an awareness of our own subtle energy (kundalini) and the flow in us, as well as sensitivity to the flow of energy in our environment. We appreciate the interplay between them and begin to respond more appropriately to the circumstances we are in.
Participation in eyes-open meditation requires a simple set of tools that enable us to connect deeply to ourselves, to our energy, to the teacher, and eventually to everything around us. Prior to attending eyes open meditation for the first time, Swamiji requests that students attend a one hour introduction offered at 6:00 pm on class nights. The introduction covers the meditation technique and tools needed to receive the profound benefits of this practice. To make an appointment to attend an introduction, contact the Movement Center office at 503.231.0383.
Semi -annual Retreats
Swamiji leads meditation retreats in Portland, usually twice a year: in late July and between Christmas and New Year’s. The retreats generally last for 3 to 5 days. These programs offer a chance for immersion in the teachings, the practices and environment of the Movement Center, and the community of practitioners gathered around Swamiji.
Swamiji’s talks often revolve around a theme he has selected, and he usually answers questions during at least one of the daytime programs.
The daily retreat program typically includes:
- morning closed eye meditation and talk by Swamiji,
- an evening program of meditation or a ritual practice,
- hatha yoga classes,
- opportunities to participate in seva projects,
- various pujas and special programs.
Retreats include one or more eyes open meditation sessions and conclude with darshan, a chance for each person attending to greet Swamiji and share any offering they might wish to make. You’ll find more details about the upcoming retreat at The Movement Center website.
As much as possible with space available, The Movement Center provides accommodations for retreat participants who are traveling from out of town. Accommodations may be requested at the time retreat registration is submitted.