Going Against the Stream: Mindfulness and Compassion to Awaken the Heart

Going Against the Stream: Mindfulness and Compassion to Awaken the Heart with Dave Smith and Cheryl Slean

June 22-29, 2017 • Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center, New Mexico

During this 7-day Insight meditation retreat, we will learn to develop a greater sense of care for ourselves and for our world through the revolutionary practices of the Dharma. Using a hybrid of mindfulness, loving-kindness and compassion meditation techniques, we will develop emotional balance by uncovering what blocks us from our own well-being, and begin to free ourselves into the heart of wisdom and compassion.

Each day will include periods of sitting and walking meditation, Dharma talks, interviews and some group process. Through meditative insight, we see clearly that our thoughts and emotions don’t need to define or control us. In their greatest capacity, they can guide us towards what is most meaningful in our lives. At their most destructive, we’re caught by them: lost in the grip of anger, sadness, fear, or overwhelm. This suffering is natural and human, but we can learn to create more space, choice, and ease in the face of life’s inevitable ups and downs.

This silent retreat will explore the many ways that true spiritual practice is an engagement with life that goes against the stream of the confusion of this world. This ancient path of awakening to our deepest wisdom and compassion is accessible to all who choose it. We hope that you will join us.

The retreat is suitable for new and experienced practitioners. We invite our friends working in substance abuse treatment to learn more about fellowships available for healthcare workers. Fellowships are also available for full-time educators.



Dave Smith is a Buddhist meditation teacher, addiction treatment specialist, experienced speaker, and published author. He is empowered to teach by Noah Levine of Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society and received training in Buddhist psychology from the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies (BCBS). HE has operated intensive programs and trainings for the Nashville office of the Mind Body Awareness Project (MBA), as well as providing services, workshops and trainings for Refuge Recovery.  Dave has extensive experience bringing meditative interventions into jails, prisons, youth detention centers and addiction treatment facilities. He is the guiding teacher of the Against the Stream Nashville Meditation Center and teaches over 300 meditation classes and workshops a year. Dave teaches Buddhist meditation retreats internationally and is an active teacher for Against the Stream throughout the US. He provides direct services for mental health agencies, the public library, and speaks nationally at Addiction and Behavioral Health conferences. Dave recently relocated to Los Angeles.

Cheryl Slean has been practicing meditation intensively since 1995, teaching since 2007, and is currently on the Teachers’ Councils at Against the Stream L.A. and Insight Community of the Desert, Palm Springs. She teaches classes and retreats at these centers and at other spiritual and secular venues including Seattle Insight, Mindful Schools, Refuge Recovery Centers, Santa Monica Hospital, Google LA, and many other health and wellness and business settings. She has also helped design research on the efficacy of meditation for chronic pain, and developed associated trainings for healthcare professionals. Cheryl has a Certification in Mindfulness Facilitation (CMF) from the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, and regularly offers meditative interventions in addiction outpatient programs.