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Before attending in person, read the full protocol here, updated December 13, 2022.

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Seven Day Retreat with Susan Mickel

Saturday, June 18, 2022, 9:00 AM until Friday, June 24, 2022, 4:30 PM
White Heron Sangha Meditation Center
6615 Bay Laurel Pl.
Avila Beach, CA  93424

Additional Info:
Mick Malotte
Registration is required before Monday, June 6, 2022 at 12:00 PM
Payment By Schedule Only
Available Slots:
Payment Schedule
Initial Payment: US$ 375.00

Opening to Pure Awareness: A Foundational Retreat

White Heron Sangha Welcomes You to a Seven-day, In-person,
  Non-residential Retreat with Susan Mickel

Recognition of the wise, compassionate and powerful true nature of our minds, and cultivation of dwelling in it, is the practice of the essence meditations in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. Like clouds that obscure the openness of the sky and the radiance of the sun, our habits of identifying with our personal experience obscure pure awareness of true nature.

The path for cultivating recognition and stabilization of awareness is a science of the mind. The Theravada mindfulness teachings provide a basis for this retreat. The heart of the retreat draws primarily on the Indo-Tibetan essence meditation traditions, primarily of Mahamudra and Dzogchen, that point directly to pure awareness. By emphasizing mental stabilization early in the retreat, we then use the stability of the mind to explore how the mind constructs inner and outer experience. Nonduality meditations help us further to set the conditions for the mind to settle into openness. The emphasis is on cultivating a compassionate frame for direct meditative experience of what is being taught. The explanations aim to adapt these teachings to contemporary western culture.

This retreat will include in each session: step-by-step guided meditations, group discussion of meditation experience, and individualized instruction within the group setting. Group discussion allows participants to learn from each other. The group will be capped at 30 people. This in-person-only retreat is open to all. Participants are expected to attend all sessions. The Meditation Center will remain open during the day to support those in attendance. The sessions will not be recorded, but a summary recording will be provided at the end of the retreat.

Susan Mickel MD, PhD
, has been meditating for over thirty years, first in the Christian tradition, then in the Burmese mindfulness tradition, more recently in the Tibetan Mahamudra and Dzogchen traditions. She was authorized to teach Vipassana by Mary Jo Meadow, PhD.  Susan first taught Theravada Vipassana retreats with Resources for Ecumenical Spirituality, which offers Christian-Buddhist retreats. Later, she was authorized by Daniel Brown, PhD of Pointing Out the Great Way to teach his adaptation of Indo-Tibetan essence meditations; she taught with that organization until 2015. Her root teacher, Rahob Rinpoche Thubten Kalsang, encouraged her to teach the texts and practices he had transmitted to her and in 2018, she completed three years of intensive home meditation practice following a curriculum traditional for a Nyingma 3-year retreat and guided by her teachers. Currently her main teacher is Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche. Other teachers who have influenced her are Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, Tulku Dawa Rinpoche, Ayang Rinpoche, and Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche.

Susan has wide interests in psychology including neuropsychology, attachment, geriatrics, trauma, personality development, and multicultural issues in psychology. In 2019 she retired from active practice of neurology and psychology. She enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and adult children, gardening, meditating, and participating in activities and teachings related to racial justice.

Important Details:

  • This retreat is limited to 30 participants and is expected to fill quickly.
  • Before registering, please read the full protocol here for in-person attendance. All those who register will be expected to meet the guidelines in the posted protocol.
  • Please carefully check your schedule to confirm you will be able to attend both the morning (9-11:30am) and afternoon (2-4:30pm) sessions of each of the 7 days (Saturday 6/18 through Friday 6/24) of this retreat. Since each session builds upon the previous session, it is absolutely necessary to attend all sessions.
  • A portion ($375) of the retreat fee (see Cost below) is due at the time of registration and the remainder is due by June 6, 2022. You can also choose to pay in full at the time of registration.
  • A limited number of generous scholarships are available for WHS members to help with the cost of this retreat. Please contact Mick Malotte at or Susan Quinones at if you think you could benefit from one of these scholarships.
  • In addition to the retreat sessions with the teacher, the Meditation Center will be open daily from 8:30-5:30 and during the mid-day break for meditation or personal reflection to support those in attendance. 



Saturday, June 18 through Friday, June 24, 2022 

9:00am - 11:30am AND 2:00pm - 4:30pm each day (Must attend both sessions each day)


  • This retreat will be held in-person only (not on Zoom) at the White Heron Sangha meditation center in Avila Village behind the Woodstone Marketplace, near the Bob Jones Trail.
  • Parking is available alongside the buildings with overflow parking behind Blue Heron Realty. Please do not park in front of the Woodstone Marketplace! See the arrows for parking in the Avila Village Aerial View - the WHS meditation center is circled.
  • Meals will not be provided. Tea will be available during the day. Please make arrangements for your lunch and snacks.



For this event, the teacher has requested a $600 fee per student in lieu of dana. The remainder of your registration fee will go toward the programs at White Heron Sangha.

$750 - Base Rate 
$1,000 - Supporter Rate (Base Rate + $250 for Scholarship Fund)
$375 due at time of registration and remainder due by June 6, 2022


  • If you are a member, make sure to log in to the WHS website before registering. 
  • Registration and payment can only be completed online. Click the green "Click To Register" button above.
  • When you get to the payment screen, you can check the first box to pay $375, or check both boxes to pay in full at time of registration. Payment balance will be due by June 6, 2022.
  • A waitlist with 10 spaces has been created for this retreat. When/if the retreat fills an "Add Me to Waitlist" button will be visible on this page. If you would like to be placed on the list, click the button, follow the prompts and your name will be added based on when your request is received. You will be contacted via email when a space opens and you will have 24 hours to register for the event before your name is removed from the list. If you no longer want to be on the list, please contact Susan Quinones at and your name will be removed.
  • Registration closes on June 6th and the retreat is expected to fill before that time. 
  • You will receive an email confirmation which will include important information. Please save that email.
  • If you need to cancel, the registration fee can be refunded in full if notice of cancellation is received by June 6, 2022. No refunds will be issued after this date. Send request for refund to Stephanie Kolm at



Contact Mick Malotte at

More information about White Heron Sangha retreats