Accommodations: We understand that it is everyone's preference to have a single space while on retreat. Over the years, in order to be fair and equitable about assigning our limited number of ten single space accommodations we have evolved the practice of assigning rooms on a first-registered first housed basis. First we will fill singles, then doubles, and on very full retreats people will sometimes be housed in multiples. If a cancellation opens up a single room the next person on the list, based on registration date, will automatically move into that space. Guest rooms include electric lights, have single or bunk beds and small wardrobes. Toilets and hot shower facilities are in a separate building. There are toilets at several locations on the property. Rooming is assigned the day the retreat begins in order to accomodate any last minute changes.
Meals: Meals are vegetarian, with the main meal at midday. Tea, fruit and light snacks are available throughout the day. Healthy, simple, well-balanced meals are served, and some dietary restrictions can be accommodated with advance notice.
Chores: Retreatants are asked to assist with daily chores such as chopping vegetables, washing dishes, sweeping floors, etc. This assistance helps keep the retreat fees low. At the end of each retreat, participants are asked to clean their own rooms and to help with final clean-up, which usually takes about half an hour to complete.
Arrival: Retreats begin in the evening of the first scheduled day, with registration sign in typically at 4pm and dinner being served at 6 pm. A confirmation letter will specify exact times. Upon arrival Retreatants check in, complete the registration process, pay any remaining fees, and move to an assigned room. A light dinner will be served, followed by an orientation given by the teacher & Cloud Mountain staff. Retreatants should make effort to arrive prior to orientation, as the spirit and continuity of the retreat is greatly facilitated by starting together. In the event that late arrival is unavoidable, Retreatants should notify Cloud Mountain at (360)274-4859 or 1-888-465-9118.
Departure: Retreats end in the afternoon of the last scheduled day, typically between 1:30pm-2 pm. Retreatants are asked to stay until the end; unless arrangements for partial attendance have been made. This consideration supports the spirit & continuity of the retreat & minimizes disruptions caused by the packing & departure activities while others are still in retreat.
Retreat Format: Retreats are conducted primarily in silence this offers a rare and precious opportunity to simplify one's daily routine, quiet the mind and cultivate an inward focus of attention. To facilitate this process Retreatants are expected to follow, with mindfulness and sincerity, the retreat schedule and guidelines established by teachers and staff. Retreat content is structured by the teacher, and usually includes sessions of sitting and walking meditation, discourses by the teacher and opportunities for questions.
What to bring to Cloud Mountain: Bedding: a sleeping bag or sheets and blankets, and a pillow. A mattress pad or extra sheet to cover the mattress is optional. Comfortable clothing for variable weather. SW Washington can be cool and damp at any time of year. The buildings at Cloud Mountain are pleasant and well-insulated, but Retreatants will often be walking between them necessitating clothing and shoes appropriate for walking outdoors. This includes a warm sweater or jacket even in the summer, a raincoat or umbrella. Personal toiletry items: towel. soap, shampoo, toothbrush, razor etc. Flashlight and batteries for walking between buildings at night, meditation cushion or bench, a pad for beneath the cushion and a shawl for chilly mornings. We also suggest an alarm clock and/or watch. Slippers: Shoes are not permitted in any of the buildings. Slip-on shoes for easy removal before entering buildings. Also, to reduce paper waste at Cloud Mountain, we encourage you to bring your own cloth napkins and handkerchiefs.
If you must pack lightly: If you are traveling into the area by plane, train or bus, we do have some items available so that you do not need to pack so much for your retreat. We have cushions, chairs and shawls for the meditation hall. For a laundering fee of $10 we can provide sheets, blankets and towels for you. We do need advanced notice that you will need these items. Please indicate what items you need when you register, or by email or phone prior to arrival.
What NOT to bring to Cloud Mountain: Pets, radios, alcohol, illegal drugs, candles or incense. Smoking is not permitted in any of the buildings.
Stores/Phones/Gas: The nearest stores, public telephones and gas stations are in Vader (3 mi north) or Castle Rock (7 mi south). Friends and family should be reminded to call only in the event of an emergency.
Dana: Teachers at Cloud Mountain are supported by the practice of dana, or generosity. In the spirit of a tradition dating to the time of the Buddha, dharma teachers here are not paid for their services but depend on the generosity of the sangha, the community of practitioners. There will be an opportunity to offer dana at the close of your retreat. In addition to teachers, you may also direct dana to Cloud Mountain staff support or general donations. If you would like to read more about dana and its role in practice, please see an essay written by Steve Armstrong and Kamala Masters here.
For a more comprehensive guide to the retreat experience at Cloud Mountain, please see our Yogi Guide.