Strategies for Overcoming Distracting Thoughts: An Insight Meditation Retreat with Shaila Catherine

Wednesday, December 27, 2017 to

Monday, January 1, 2018 noon

Margaret Austin Center

Chappell Hill, Texas


Register online here

Download the Retreat Flyer here

THE THEME: This silent insight meditation retreat will focus on strategies for overcoming distracting thoughts. Mental restlessness is an insidious and pervasive hindrance that all practitioners struggle to overcome. We can refine our skills for working with the modes of thinking that distract us from being mindful: critical thoughts, planning, worrying, lustful thoughts, judging, memories, internal commentaries, to name a few. The teachings on this retreat will present a sequence of strategies for dealing with obstructive mental patterns; these instructions will follow two discourses taught by the Buddha and recorded in the Middle Length Discourses (suttas 19 and 20). Practitioners will be encouraged to develop a mindfulness-based meditation practice, while exploring these strategies for overcoming distractions.

This silent retreat is structured with alternating periods of sitting and walking meditation, dhamma talks, question and answer sessions, and teacher consultations. All levels from beginners to advanced practitioners are welcome.

THE TEACHER: Shaila Catherine is the founder of Bodhi Courses, an online Dhamma classroom (, and Insight Meditation South Bay, a Buddhist meditation center in Silicon Valley, USA ( She has been practicing meditation since 1980, with more than eight years of accumulated silent retreat experience and has taught internationally since 1996. Shaila studied with masters in India, Thailand, and Nepal, and also with the founders of western meditation centers. She completed a one-year intensive meditation retreat with the focus on concentration and jh?na, and authored Focused and Fearless: A Meditator’s Guide to States of Deep Joy, Calm, and Clarity. Shaila practiced under the guidance of Venerable Pa-Auk Sayadaw from 2006-2015, and authored Wisdom Wide and Deep: A Practical Handbook for Mastering Jh?na and Vipassan? to help make this traditional approach to meditative training accessible to western practitioners.

RETREAT LOGISTICS: The retreat will begin with a light meal at 7 PM Wednesday, December 27 followed by the formal opening at 8:15 PM. The retreat will end on Monday, January 1 at noon, followed by lunch.

All meals (vegetarian) will be provided. Separate bunkhouse accommodations are provided for men and women, with two complete bathrooms in each. You may bring a tent if you wish. You will need to bring a sitting cushion and pad for meditation, or you may use chairs available at the center. You will also need sheets, blankets, pillow, towels and toiletries, a flashlight and rain gear. Since the retreat will be held in silence to facilitate the practice of looking within oneself, we ask you not to electronics or other distractions.

This is a fragrance-free environment. Please do not wear scented products or fragrances, such as scented shampoo, lotion, shaving cream, perfume, cosmetics, or any product containing fragrance.

COST:  The registration fee of $440 covers only the operating costs of the retreat, not compensation for the teacher. The teacher offers the teachings in the spirit of Dana, with the firm intention of keeping the retreat costs as low as possible. Giving freely is a corner stone of the practice. Participants will be asked at the end of the retreat to reciprocate the teacher’s kind and generous gift with free will donations according to their means and their own heart’s response. Please bring a check book or cash.

Partial scholarships are available. Contact  if you will need a scholarship.

The Basic Rate registration fee is $440.  Partial scholarship registration fee is $290.

Paying the Supporting Rate is appreciated.  In order to provide scholarships, we are requesting that those with the financial resources pay an additional $25 above the Basic Rate, for a total of $465.  Your donation of $25 above the basic rate is tax deductible and you will receive a letter acknowledging your donation for tax purposes.

Your early registration will help us in retreat planning and food purchase and preparation.

REGISTRATION:  There are two ways to register and pay:

  1. Register online and pay by Paypal or mail in a check.  Click here to register online.   We ask that you consider this option (registering online) as it greatly simplifies our process.  You can still mail in a check, even though you register online.
  2. Register by mail and pay by check using the form on the flyer here .

Checks are payable to Mariposa Sangha and should be mailed to Connie Shortes, 3412 Westside Cove, Austin, TX 78731. Print out the registration form and include it with the check if registering by mail. You do not need to complete the paper form if registering online and mailing in a check.

Confirmations will be sent to paid registrants via email. You are not registered until we receive payment.

CANCELLATION:  If you cancel less than 5 days prior to the start of the retreat, the food portion of the registration fee (approximately 50%) cannot be refunded.

QUESTIONS:  Call Kathey at 512-565-3774 or email Kathey at