The Powers of Meditation: Spirituality, Mysticism, and Heart Meditation


Course SR registration is closed.

"Absolutely first rate, A-1, and top drawer. I have sat with many teachers, Puran and the IAM Heart course exemplify some of the very best in spiritual teaching."
- John Hakim Bushnell, Sufi in SRI


Dear Friend of the Heart,

The promise of the teachers of humanity is an awakening to a reality that was previously hidden. The stars in the sky do not vanish during the day, even though we can't see them. They are still there, but daylight makes them invisible. In a similar way, the vast wisdom of the heart is concealed by the reason of the mind.

There is no way to describe the life in which a mystic lives to the mind of the average person, for things are not as they appear. People are not who they seem to be, for their personalities are veneers over buried treasures. Circumstances have a meaning that is not obvious, and events are not happening because of the reasons one imagines.

Life would make perfect sense if we considered the causes behind the cause that is presented. Every event has a purpose to fulfill, and the future is pulling present events in the direction necessary to satisfy the purpose they are intended to serve. Life appears to be a mysterious and frustrating puzzle without the awakening that brings revelation.

The inability to appreciate life's beauty begins with a misunderstanding of the source and purpose of life. This is not a rational topic, for the mind is not broad enough or deep enough to encompass the question. Only in meditation can one access the inner resources necessary to find a satisfying answer, one that scatters the clouds of doubt and fear to illuminate life's path.

There is an illuminating presence that gives hope in one's darkness, strength in one's weakness, support in one's need and love at all times. This presence is within and without; we are within it and it is within us. It is tangible and dependable, knowable and accessible through our hearts. Seldom do we have the time or opportunity to devote ourselves to our awakening for five days, but this is what the retreat in Garrison, New York offers.

The meditations of awakening will be prepared carefully, to build up over days. In the environment created by a group of Heart Rhythm Meditators, with intense focus on their hearts and the heart of the group, openings can occur that an individual would not be able to experience on their own for many years.

Blessings to you,

Susanna and Puran Bair
Co-founders, IAM Heart



Tentative Retreat Schedule


Praise for IAM Heart Retreats:

"I came to the retreat feeling very confused. I had a burning in my throat, heart palpitations, and an overwhelming sense of anxiety about the state of my life. I can not express how wonderful each and every person was. So warm, so loving, so welcoming. I felt free to speak my mind with no threat of judgment or criticism. The meditations were moving, deep, and effective. I am leaving the retreat with a new family. I feel more grounded, have a greater clarity of my direction, and a better sense of who I am, what I want, and the greatness that I can give. And a bonus...My heart palpitations are gone!"
- Amy Bassett-Wells, Teacher

"Deeply transforming, full of fun and ecstasy."
- Steven Winn, Entrepreneur

"This retreat was BIG! I loved the presence of Susanna and Puran. Sun-gazing - something I had rejected in the past - was a brilliant surprise. The experience I had of being one with the Universe and the One was ecstatic and a blessing I will harvest all of my life. Thank you. The heart is the path to our personal and collective salvation."
- Pam Hale Trachta, Spiritual Mentor and Author

"This morning's sunrise meditation I was rebirthed. I thought there was a second sun above me and I realized it was me."
- Steve Paulk, Teacher and Healer

"I had been searching and longing for spiritual development for a long time and when I found IAM Heart I knew it was the answer to my search. The retreats have been life enhancing and transformative for me by helping open my heart which had been closed for much of my life."
- Dee O'Neil, Attorney

"This was life-changing."
- Margaret O'Connor, Psychotherapist


"A Day in the Life of an IAM Heart Retreatant"

By Leah Shaffer, University of the Heart Graduate

Day 3:

I'm still in a half-sleeping state when I walk into the event room. The air is quiet with the quality of the morning and music plays softly in the background. I find my seat and see Susanna siting in the front of the room, meditating on a tall stool. How does she always look so beautiful? I take a deep breath and find my posture, lengthening my spine and broadening my chest. I close my eyes and am suddenly more aware of how the music is making me feel.

I have hardly slept, but I feel a renewed energy that tiredness cannot touch. While I went to sleep last night I was wide awake in my bed from the exalting feeling I felt. My mind could not be stopped from it's flow of creativity, and my mouth could not desist from smiling. I have been infected by the "happiness bug." Bubbles of excitement and joy were rising up from my heart like a champagne celebration. As I sit in the cool air of the morning I remember my state and it begins to rise up in me again.

My breathing has become somehow more available to me. It feels as though more space has been created and so much of the weight that I was feeling when the retreat began has lifted from my bones. Susanna's voice hits my ears like the sound of a perfect melody. I begin to remember, through the sound of her voice, a feeling of who I am. All the baggage and conditions I carried onto retreat seem to have no power over me at all. In this moment, I am the one who is holding the power over my life.

The breakfast table is filled with laughter as we reminisce the nuances of our experiences. People who were strangers when I arrived have somehow become close companions. I trust them, and I am able to be myself. They are all so beautiful as their brilliance shines out.

Puran's lecture and meditation today are heavy hitting. Somehow his words seem to become palpable and my intellect is in awe of the fluidity in which he blends vast concepts of existence's mysteries, the scientific relevance of these mysteries in our time, and the practical practices of applying this knowledge to life. Somehow he syncs them all together in harmony and shows us how simple the attainment of unity can really be.

In our small group sessions, I notice that the practice is not coming with ease, but it feels more like I have started to dig. I have found inside of me a "rock" of pain. What is this? Where did it start? Ask we work, a sentence is said and this "rock" of pain within me is suddenly struct. I cannot help but cry as I breathe into this sudden feeling of release. I have successfully hit the mud. I know the spring cannot be far now. Another layer? I've already come through so much. How many layers can there be?

It is lunch and a tiredness has taken ahold of me. I slip into a deep nap where a dream of mine stimulates a great sense of fear. I wake up and know that I have found what I was digging for. Something to do with fear.

In the late afternoon, we return from our lunch break rested and well. Susanna is leading a lecture and she has decided to sing a song. I am simultaneously so embarrassed and happy to sing in our group. The sensation is wonderful and such a relief from the depths of the day! She talks to us about how our heart has the ability to become invincible through vulnerability, celebration, creativity, and following its voice. As she speaks I realize a deep desire to create. I am afraid to create. I am afraid to express myself. This is my fear. It is blocking me from moving further forward into my life.

We go to dinner and I happen to be sitting with one of the teachers of the group. I am both shy and eager to tell her about my experiences of the day. She is welcoming and seamlessly provides me with council that creates so much inspiration and space surrounding what I had expressed, that I suddenly feel more free from it. The weight that was once there has no bearing over me now. Woah.

We all gather again for the evening session. Some of us have gone to sleep, but I wouldn't miss the last session of the night. Grinning ear to ear I notice how we are all laughing together. We have been infected by the happiness bug. One of the teachers of the group leads us in a partner practice of "Element Energy Transfer." We are to pick a partner and work together. Finally, this is my chance to spend more time with my new friend. I quickly connect with my friend Kate and we eagerly sit together. As we start the guided practice, although I have the feeling that I do not really know what I am doing, I can feel the energy in my hands! Wowzah! Then it is time to switch. My friend has a lot of experience with Heart Rhythm Meditation and energy work, and holy molly, can I feel it. I begin feel internally some energetic movement, and I begin to cry. I know then, it is my fear, it is melting. The spring is about to come! Thankfulness fills me. Thankfulness, fill me!




The Retreat Center

The Garrison Institute

The Garrison Institute is located an hour north of Manhattan, on the east bank of the Hudson River in the Hudson Highlands, across from West Point. The 93-acre site was formerly known as Glenclyffe, the 19th century estate of former New York Governor and U. S. Secretary of State Hamilton Fish. The Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Mary built a 77,000 square foot stone and brick monastery and seminary on the parcel in 1923. The property was acquired by the Open Space Institute in 2001, which sold it to the Garrison Institute in 2003. The renovated facility now has sleeping and dining accommodations for 165 people, a meditation hall that seats 300, classrooms and meeting rooms, and geothermal heating and cooling.

Teachers and presenters at the Garrison Institute have included Adyashanti, the Dalai Lama, Rajmohan Gandhi, Philip Glass, Daniel Goleman, Mikhail Gorbachev, Paul Hawken, Father Thomas Keating, Sharon Salzberg, Pete Seeger, Roshi Enkyo O'Hara, Peter Senge, Lama Surya Das, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, and many others.







What Happens on an IAM Heart Group Meditation Retreat?

Watch this video, recorded at our Santa Barbara location, to learn more about what happens on a group retreat led by IAM Heart:




This retreat will be personally led by Susanna and Puran Bair, co-founders of IAM Heart and co-authors of the three classic texts on the path of the heart. You will meditate with them, dialogue with them, and eat with them; you will get to know them, and they will know you.



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"IAM group retreats make my heart sing; I am lifted physically, emotionally, and spiritually; they are a boost for my meditation practices and creates an environment with like-minded people who I can grow with."
- Porter, Engineer

"So much in this world pulls us into our heads, into fear, out of our hearts. The retreats have allowed me to return to my true self."
- Anita, Consultant

"An amazing experience of love and healing. Truly transforming."
- Diane, Registered Nurse

"IAM retreats are a unique opportunity to explore your heart and the heart of humanity in a safe, sacred, beautiful space. The people who attend the retreats are extraordinarily loving and centered, and the teachers are truly gifted. IAM retreats have changed my life."
- Hannah, Teacher

"This was a truly life changing experience. I learned so much about myself and felt I found my true home in terms of teachers to guide me to fulfill my heart's purpose."
- Jennifer, Pharmacist