We begin with the premise that it is possible to create fundamental changes in our minds, our characters, and our behaviour, and increase our capacity to be sovereign agents capable of facing the world’s largest problems with clarity, conviction, and care.
The two pillars of our training are Awakening – classical insight, the ability to radically transform the mind – and Responsibility – the power to take clear action in the world.
We create an environment that fosters broad human development through practices which incorporate ancient wisdom traditions and modern transformational modalities.
Our Ecology of Practices
The Eightfold Path
The eightfold path offers a helpful framework for living a well-rounded and beneficial life, as we strive toward becoming better people. We continually reflect on and refine our views, intentions, speech, actions, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration.
3+ Hours of Meditation & Chanting Daily
Through regular meditation and chanting, we learn to reclaim our attention and strengthen the muscle of concentration while healing our minds and hearts. Regular one-on-one interviews with a teacher help us refine our direction, get unstuck, and continue striving. Our teaching methodology is inspired by Buddhist monks Soryu Forall and Shinzen Young.
We live together, eat together, work together, meditate together, and train together. Being in community in this way can cause many of our difficult patterns to surface, and give us an opportunity to work with them among caring peers. Also, being surrounded by differing opinions and approaches helps to combat some of the dangerous pitfalls of autodidactism.
Circling & Authentic Relating
Through social practices like Circling and Authentic Relating, we are invited to discover the patterns of our social dynamics and learn the skills of speaking truthfully and showing up fully with each other exactly as we are, with no pretense or performance.
Emotional blockages are among the most difficult and pervasive things running our lives. We employ the Bio-Emotive Framework to help each other notice, process, and heal the wounds we carry through our lives.
Strict Monastic Structure
Our daily schedule is strict and uncompromising, with specific times for work, meals, exercise, meditation, and leisure time. This strictness supports us in fully immersing in the present task, allowing us the opportunity to quickly notice emotional resistances and work with them.
Vow / Peer Coaching
What do we each see as the deepest, truest, most authentic life we can lead? The Peer Coaching protocol allows us to support each other in finding alignment between the way we live and the way we want to live, and helps us to move from unclear stuckness into clarity and action.
Week-Long Silent Retreats
Every month, we spend one full week in silence, dedicating our days entirely to meditative practice. Through this, we work through some of the deeper tangles of our psyches, allowing us to tap into a wisdom that goes beyond mere intellect.
Service & Responsibility
Through taking on various roles and projects at Willow, trainees learn the work skills necessary to engage with the economics of the broader world skilfully and with confidence. We are often pushed and supported to take leadership beyond what we believe we can do, and through this we learn just how capable we can be.
Our bodies hold a lot of knowledge – but we have to re-learn how to listen to them. Through connecting with ourselves in this way, we learn to use the natural wisdom of the body to take clear action in the world.
Living With The Land
We are located on a beautiful 10-acre property which helps us learn how to live in harmony with nature every day. Our goal is to encourage the growth of a food forest and permaculture garden and work towards self-sustainability.
Residency and Apprenticeship
There are two ways to train long-term at Willow: the residency program and the apprenticeship program. Both include room, board, and training in our ecology of practices.
Residency requires a minimum commitment of 1 year, and is done on a donation basis. Apprenticeship requires a minimum commitment of 1 month, and has a cost of $750/month, with scholarships available.
The Daily Schedule
9:00am Eat + Clean
3:00pm Free time
7:00pm Evening activity (variable)