Workshops, Retreats, Private Sessions
Scroll down for descriptions of the 2022 Retreats:
Private Retreats at Bambu Hueco
Hollow Bamboo Dharma Yearlong Intensive
Hollow Bamboo Dharma Advanced Sangha
Five Day Intensive Hollow Bamboo Dharma Retreat
Three Day Intensive Hollow Bamboo Breathing Retreat
Private Consultations with Will Johnson
Private Retreats at Bambu Hueco
I'm pleased to announce that we have decided to reopen Bambu Hueco, the Hollow Bamboo Retreat Cottage, and will once again start inviting serious meditation students to enter into intensive private retreat. For the coming year we will be offering both a seven and ten day intensive retreat format although longer retreats may be available depending on your meditation experience. Your retreat will be a mix of exploration on your own coupled with personal instruction, deep bodywork, and dreamwork. Starting with a sunrise meditation and morning practice at the cottage, you will then walk over to the outdoor meditation hall and sit with me for an hour and a half of personal meditation instruction. In the afternoons, in addition to further practice, you will either receive a deep bodywork session from me or do a dreamwork session with my wife Coco. There will be ample time to take walks on the path around our property, do your preferred form of exercise, enjoy the swimming pool, and create your own magical music at the chime arch.
Bambu Hueco is situated at the southern tip of the Nicoya peninsula, one of the five Blue Zones in the world where people not uncommonly live past 100 and remain active. One of the features of Blue Zone longevity is a diet rich in legumes vegetables, fruits, and grains, and we will serve you light but nutritious vegetarian Blue Zone meals: a breakfast of fruits and grains, a main meal at lunchtime, a light salad for dinner.
OUR COVID POLICY: The seven and ten day retreats will actually be ten and thirteen days long as we will want you to spend three isolation days at one of the hotels on the beach before you come up to Bambu Hueco. Most of you will have traveled long distances to get here and we want you to take three days to get over any jet lag, start tuning your body to the magnificent energies of nature that abound here, and have the experience of the cleansing ocean. During this time you are free to take long walks on the often deserted beaches, but we will ask as a caution against exposing yourself to covid that you completely avoid any interaction or close contact with others. Both hotels have an excellent restaurant so you can take all your meals in your room. As soon as you arrive at your hotel, you will receive a detailed instruction for a breathing practice of vision, sound, and body that I will want you to explore continuously during your waking hours during your first three days. In practice you will be staying at your hotel for four nights as check-in time is usually in the afternoon. On the third day we will ask you to take a taxi into the diagnostic clinic in Cobano, our nearby town, and take a covid test. To give you some idea of the costs, the hotels I will recommend that offer seclusion, meals, and beach access charge around $200 a night including meals. What happens if you test positive for covid? You will have to accept that you will need to make arrangements to go into quarantine and your retreat at Bambu Hueco will need to be rescheduled.
UPDATE: On October 14, 2021 the Costa Rican government instituted a strong pro-vaccination policy. To enter a restaurant or hotel, you have to present proof of vaccination. This covers tourists as well as citizens and residents, so essentially you will need to be fully vaccinated to attend a retreat at Bambu Hueco. If you find this mandate onerous, consider enrolling in one of the online retreats instead. I will still want you to spend your first three days at one of the oceanfront hotels, settling into the rhythms of Costa Rica and immersing yourself in the breathing practice. I will also still want you to take a covid test before coming up the mountain to Bambu Hueco.
To book a retreat please email me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know of your meditational background, why you're drawn to an intensive retreat at Bambu Hueco, and when ideally you'd like to come. I will then be able to determine if a retreat here is appropriate for you and will get back to you. To support the work at Bambu Hueco suggested dana for the Seven Day Retreat is $3500. Suggested dana for the Ten Day Retreat is $4500. If you want to enter into retreat with your spouse/partner in the practice, suggested dana for the Seven Day Retreat is $5250 and suggested dana for the Ten Day Retreat is $6500. Once you're accepted into the retreat, you will need to send a non-refundable $1000 deposit, and I will send you detailed instructions on traveling to Costa Rica and help you book your hotel accommodations. If you have the bad fortune of testing positive for covid, your deposit can be transferred to another date.
We will only offer nine of these retreats a year and will hold only one a month. We won't accept a retreat in May or June as it's planting season, and our property requires a great deal of attention. We will also be closed in October as this is when the tropical rains can come down in force.
As with all the teaching I do, I want your experience, and the deepening of your meditational path, to be life-transforming. I want everyone to have a direct experience of what I call The Great Wide Open by the time you leave, and I also want you to head back home with an understanding of how to continue the practice on your own.
Hollow Bamboo Dharma Yearlong Intensive 2022. $2750
I'm wanting to work closely with those of you who are ready to commit to intensive practice of Hollow Bamboo Dharma over the course of an entire year. Starting on January 15, 2022, we will meet twice a month via Zoom for Saturday sessions of three hours practice. In addition you will have a private Skype or Zoom interview with Will every month. We will meet in January, February, March, April, and May, then take a summer break, and meet again in September, October, November, and December. Included in your enrolment fee will be a 20” x 20” kasina. I also ask that you purchase each of the following books:
The Posture of Meditation 2nd Edition
Breathing Through the Whole Body
Eyes Wide Open
Also included in your enrolment fee will be optional participation in any of the other online programs you would like to participate in: the Five Day Intensive Retreat, the Three Day Hollow Bamboo Breathing Retreat, Ganjasangha.
Please email me at email@example.com and let me know of your interest in this Intensive and your background in sitting meditation practices. Previous experience with Hollow Bamboo Dharma is not a requirement, but a commitment to go more deeply than you ever have into the enlightening centre of your body and mind is. I will expect you to commit to at least two sessions of personal practice every week of the training. In addition to the meditation practices, I will ask that you bring some form of physical practice into your life at least two or three times a week: yoga, chi kung, Pilates, resistance training, aerobics, spontaneous movement, The Five Tibetan Rites, Five Rhythms, 10,000 daily steps, etc. I will also encourage you to receive deep bodywork over the course of the year.
My intention for this yearlong intensive is for you to experience how this approach to practice can so awaken that which is ordinarily so asleep in your body and mind that you naturally gain a direct experience of your ultimate nature: The Great Wide Open. The focus of the practice is threefold: spiritual evolution as well as real physical and emotional healing, all three of which occur together through the orientation of Hollow Bamboo Dharma. If you have to miss one of the sessions, a recording will be emailed to you.
To pay for this retreat please go to my Store page, push the Dana button, and select the $2750 option. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need to pay for this retreat in instalments.
Hollow Bamboo Dharma Advanced Sangha 2022. $2000
Anyone who has participated in a Yearlong Intensive and wishes to continue in the Hollow Bamboo Dharma Sangha is welcome to join in this program. We will meet for three hours one Saturday every month from January through May, take three months off in the summer, and continue meeting from September through December. In addition you will have a private Zoom call with Will once a month. Included in your enrolment fee will be optional participation in any of the other online programs offered this year: the Five Day Intensive Retreat, the Three Day Hollow Bamboo Breathing Retreat, Ganjasangha. To pay for this retreat please go to my Store page, push the Dana button, and select the $2000 option. Email email@example.com if you need to pay for this retreat in instalments.
Five Day Intensive Online Hollow Bamboo Dharma Retreat, 8 - 11 AM, 1 - 3PM Mountain Time, July 22 - 26, 2022. $400 - $500
Because I no longer wish to be doing any major traveling for the foreseeable future, I will again be offering an intensive online virtual retreat so that anyone anywhere in the world can experience the life changing practices of Hollow Bamboo Dharma. For five straight days, from 8 - 11 AM and from 1 PM - 3 PM Mountain Daylight Time we will be meeting through Zoom for intensive practice exploring the basic principles of Hollow Bamboo Dharma: establishing a sitting posture that is aligned, relaxed, and resiliently moving; awakening soma, the felt presence of the body; breathing through the whole body; entering into The Great Wide Open. On the third evening of the retreat we'll meet for questions and answers from 5 PM - 6 PM.
The price for this retreat is $400 if you register before May 1st, $500 after that date. I want to strongly encourage people to participate in both the Five Day Retreat and the followup Hollow Bamboo Breathing Retreat so the price for participating in both will be $600. My intention for this retreat is to radically catalyze and accelerate your experience and understanding of the process of sitting meditation practices. Please email me with your intention to participate, and I will inform you of your online link to the retreat a week before the retreat begins. Included in the enrolment fee will be a pdf file of The Kasina Meditation, a short text and seven multicoloured kasinas that you can use during the retreat. If you have to miss one of the sessions, a recording will be emailed to you.
To pay for this retreat please go to my Store page, push the Dana button, and select the appropriate pricing option.
Three Day Intensive Hollow Bamboo Breathing Retreat: August 13 - 15, 8 - 11 AM, 1 - 3 PM Mountain Time. $200 - $300
The path of Hollow Bamboo Dharma is radically catalyzed by the Hollow Bamboo Breathing practice, my adaptation of Sunlun vipassana that I have modified to better suit the orientation and goals of Hollow Bamboo Dharma: the creation of the upright torso; the relaxation of the entire body; the subtle, continuous motion of the body in resilient response to the force of the breath; the awakening of felt presence throughout the entire body; the explosive expansion into the natural state of The Great Wide Open. We will begin each of our sessions with establishing the foundations of Hollow Bamboo Dharma sitting practice and then move onto Hollow Bamboo Breathing which is divided into four 15 minute sections:
2. Breath of Awakening
3. Surrendering to Current
In Section 1 we establish the upright sitting practice, summoning the helpers of alignment, relaxation, and resilience. In Section 2 we begin to breathe forcibly and rapidly while keeping the entire spine in constant motion. In Section 3 we sit and ride the healing waves of awakened soma. In Section 4 we lie down and dissolve any residual tensions in body and mind. The practice is very powerful, and I especially want to guide you through the section of strong breathing where deep physical and emotional tensions may come readily to the surface where they can self-liberate. Included in the enrolment fee will be a pdf file of The Kasina Meditation, a short text and seven multicoloured kasinas that you can use during the retreat. If you have to miss one of the sessions, a recording will be emailed to you.
The price for this retreat is $200 if you register before May 1st, $300 thereafter. I want to strongly encourage people to participate in both the Five Day Retreat and the followup Three Day Hollow Bamboo Breathing Retreat so the price for participating in both will be $600. To pay for this retreat please go to my Store page, push the Dana button, and select the appropriate pricing option.
Introduction to Ganjasangha, 9 AM - 12 PM, Central Time, January 23. $100.
If the most radical piece I bring to the dharma conversation is my insistence that the body needs to allow continuous, amoeba-like motions to occur while sitting in meditation if we truly want to relax, the most controversial piece is my open embrace of entheogenic substances (cannabis, psilocybin, LSD, ayuhuasca) as potential allies on our meditation journey. Essentially, Ganjasangha is Hollow Bamboo Dharma that uses a small amount of cannabis to initiate the practice. The fundamental principles are the same: exploring the upright Line, awakening the felt presence of the body and relaxing tension, allowing spontaneous movements to occur as a result of that relaxation. For many people cannabis can dramatically enhance all three of these fundamental principles.
During the first hour of this introductory session, we will explore the basic principles of Hollow Bamboo Dharma. During the second hour you will be invited to take a small amount of cannabis, and I will lead you in Ganjasangha practice. If you're curious about what I'm up to, but don't want to use cannabis, you're still welcome to join. Ganjasangha practice is open to anyone of legal age who lives in a jurisdiction where cannabis has been decriminalized. If you live somewhere where cannabis is not legal but still want to participate, that's up to you, and if you decide to participate, you will have to do so in the murky legal shadow in which you currently explore cannabis use. This introductory session will give you the fundamental foundations for continued Ganjasangha exploration and will be followed up with more intensive Ganjasangha retreats in which we will explore kasina and gazing meditations, Hollow Bamboo Breathing, and the radical surrender to motions in the body.
The Buddhist dharma has always been committed to exploring the ultimate reality of human being, and it is time that it recognizes that its attitude of just saying no to entheogenic substances is both reactionary and regressive. The problem from a meditative perspective is not with any substance. It's what you do with them, and the prohibition--both legal and spiritual--of these substances has disallowed the development of protocols for how to use these substances safely, effectively, and potently in the context of sitting meditation practices.
Understand that I in no way view these substances as a required staple of meditation practice, and I am also very aware that they do not work well for a great many people. Nevertheless, it is time for meditators who use entheogenic substances to no longer be shunned and shamed by their spiritual communities and supported and embraced for their choices instead.
Legends down to this day speak of how the great Hindu god Shiva would drink a cannabis mixture, how his body would then start making spontaneous movements, and how out of those movements he brought the body-oriented practices of yoga and dance to the planet. For many meditators who are comfortable with entheogens, an understanding of how to use cannabis in the context of sitting meditation practice can help liberate the spontaneous motions that I insist need to be allowed if we are truly to follow the seminal mahamudra teacher Tilopa's instruction to do nothing with the body but relax.
To pay for this retreat please go to my Store page, push the Dana button, and select the $100 option.
Consultations with Will Johnson
Will Johnson is available for Zoom consultations if you wish to speak to him personally about any issues you may be having with your meditation practice. To schedule a private Zoom consultation go to my website Store and select the Phone or Skype Consultation button. After you submit your payment of $100, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your consultation. In that email list three possible times that will work for you, and I will get back to you and confirm which one works for me.