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"In truth we are always present; we only imagine ourselves to be in one place or another."
—Howard Cohn

Transforming the Judgmental Mind
Donald Rothberg
Monday, May 29, 3:00pm - Sunday, June 4, 11:30am
Angela Center, Santa Rosa, California
$1475 - $670 sliding scale, plus a donation to the teacher(s) and retreat staff. Code 268R17.
OPEN-Apply Online Here

Download application forms to submit via fax, email, or postal mail.
NOTE: All Young Adult Rates and Scholarship funds for this retreat have been allocated.
If you are interested and need financial assistance, we may have a work exchange available.



Prerequisite: One retreat (at least a weekend, residential or non-residential) in
mindfulness practice or permission of the coordinating teacher.

Judgments of a reactive and often automatic nature are very strong in most of our lives, and in the dominant culture. They can distort our perceptions, make relationships with others difficult, and undermine our work in the world.

In this retreat, we will explore the nature of such judgments (and their difference from non-reactive discernment) and how to transform them. We will cultivate mindfulness of judgments; inquiry into the deep roots of judgments; and heart practices such as lovingkindness, forgiveness, gratitude, joy, and compassion. We will also explore the somatic and social dimensions of judgments, the role of cultivating awakened qualities in transforming judgments, and how to cultivate skill in speech and interaction in the midst of situations involving judgments, whether our own or those of others. These tools will help us to preserve the intelligence and energy often found in judgments, using them for discernment and compassionate action, while working through judgments' destructive and compulsive aspects.

The retreatants will be invited to participate in Noble Silence. The retreat will offer some periods of discussion (small and large group) and some interactive exercises (particularly the last full day), along with group and individual practice discussions. Those attending the retreat will have the option of continuing with monthly follow-up sessions after the retreat.

Donald will be assisted by Eve Decker, Robin Gayle and Shahara Godfrey (bios below).

Eve Decker has been practicing Insight Meditation since 1991, and has taught groups, daylongs, and short retreats since 2006, particularly at Spirit Rock, the East Bay Meditation Center, and elsewhere in the Bay Area. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley, and of Spirit Rock's Path of Engagement and Community Dharma Leader training programs, and has been trained in the Hakomi approach to body-based psychotherapy. Eve is also a singer/songwriter (formerly a member of Rebecca Riots) and song leader who has, in groups and CDs, combined the power of music and dharma practice. Her most recent CD is IN: Chants of Mindfulness & Compassion. Much of her teaching and some of her songwriting has focused on themes related to working with the judgmental mind, including groups on "Metta for Self" and "Working with Judgments," mentored by Donald Rothberg.

Robin Gayle, Ph.D, M.Div, MFT, is a Tara Mandala Authorized Teacher under the direction of Lama Tsultrim Allione, teaching retreats and seminars, and a Feeding Your Demons™ psychotherapist in private practice in Marin County, CA. She currently serves as Professor of Counseling Psychology and Acting Dean of the School of Education and Counseling Psychology at Dominican University of California. She has studied with such Asian teachers as Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey, H. H. Dalai Lama, Ven. Yangthang Tulku Rinpoche, and Ven. Gyaltrul Rinpoche, and Western teachers B. Alan Wallace, Tsultrim Allione, Jack Kornfield, and Donald Rothberg. For the past three years she has led small groups in "Working with the Judgmental Mind," with guidance by Donald Rothberg.

Shahara Godfrey, Ph.D, has followed the teachings of the Buddha since 1989, with her primary practices in Compassion and Social Activism. She has completed the Community Dharma Leadership Program, the Dedicated Practitioner Program, and the Path of Engagement programs at Spirit Rock, and received her Ph.D. in Humanities with a focus on Transformative Learning and Change from the California Institute of Integral Studies. In addition, she is a core teacher at the East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, CA. She has been leading groups on working with judgments and helping to teach daylongs with Donald Rothberg in this area for the last five years.

Teachings are appropriate for health care professionals as well as the general public. Health care professionals will be able to incorporate the tools and practices offered in this program when working with clients. Continuing Education (CE) credit available. See below for more information.

Learning Objectives for participating health care professionals-
Based on the content of this program, you will be able to:
  • Incorporate practicing mindfulness of the judgmental mind in ways that might be shared with clients;
  • Develop perspectives on the nature of the judgmental mind, in ways that will help guide one's practical work with both oneself and clients;
  • Apply techniques to develop insight into core beliefs that generate chronic judgments;
  • Utilize techniques of loving-kindness meditation that might be shared with clients;
  • Employ techniques of lovingkindness focused on "difficult" people;
  • Utilize the application of loving-kindness as an antidote to distress related to the arising of strong negative judgments of self or other;
  • Apply techniques to develop compassion that might be shared with clients;
  • Apply techniques to develop forgiveness that might be shared with clients;
  • Apply techniques to develop joy and gratitude that might be shared with clients;
  • Apply techniques to develop equanimity that might be shared with clients;
  • Demonstrate how to bring mindfulness into daily life in ways that might be shared with clients;
  • Demonstrate how to bring lovingkindness into daily life in ways that might be shared with clients;
  • Share with clients several methods of developing skillful speech through following ethical guidelines, mindfulness of self and other during speech, empathy toward others, and skillful choice of language;
  • Demonstrate skillful speech in challenging and difficult situations, in ways useful both for oneself and one's clients.


Spirit Rock extends a special invitation to young adults (age 18-26) who wish to attend this retreat at a rate of $35 per night, on a first come, first serve basis. A limited number of special rates are available, please apply early.

For more information about Hemera Foundation Scholarships: ONE scholarship allowed per person, per calendar year.

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Also remember that the cost above is priced as a sliding scale. Please pay at the highest level of the sliding scale that you can afford. This allows others who need to pay less the opportunity to attend. Fee is for room and board. Teaching and staffing of the retreats is by donation at the end of the retreat. For more information, see Retreat FAQ.

Continuing Education

This course offers 19 CE credits for $190 for psychologists and California licensed MFTs, LCSWs, LEPs, LPCCs, and nurses. If you have a different license and are interested in CE credit, please check with your licensing Board to see if credits for programs from APA or BRN approved providers are accepted.

Continuing Education credit is co-sponsored by the Spiritual Competency Resource Center, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences. The Spiritual Competency Resource Center is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Spiritual Competency Resource Center maintains responsibility for this program and its content. The Institute of Noetic Sciences is a provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP10318 for 19 contact hours. The California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts CE credits for license renewal for programs from APA approved agencies.

CE credit will be awarded for instructional time only, and does not included extended silent meditations without instructions. To qualify to receive the certificate of completion, participants must attend the event in full. For more information, including attendance and cancellation policies, see Continuing Education (CE) Credit.

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