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Mindful : October 2017
For Brandon Nappi, founder and director of Connecticut’s Copper Beech Institute, mindfulness provides a common language with which peo- ple of all faiths and backgrounds can hold and examine some of the deepest questions humans can ask: What makes me happy? How can I live in a more peaceful way? How can I be more compassionate? What do I do with my pain? How do I forgive? How can I suffer less? Nappi opened the institute in 2014 to create an affordable and regional center where people can learn the practices of mindfulness and contem- plative meditation that have touched his own life so deeply. Copper Beech shares a 50-acre site with a Catholic monastery and retreat center, though the two entities are entirely separate in all but their shared property. “ We are never going to be mistaken for anything other than a Catholic campus, but when the guests settle in, I think they actually feel like it’s kind of cool—‘I’m in a living monas- tery,’” Nappi says. “ We’re all in this together. We don’t have to practice in the same way, but it’s important to recognize and honor that we are each on a path.” In that same spirit, the central approach of Copper Beech is inclusiv- ity. Nappi sees it as a safe and wel- coming space where contemplative teachers from different traditions can share their wisdom with an equally diverse community. Its offerings West Hartford, Connecticut copperbeechinstitute.org Copper Beech Institute Founded 2014 What’s Offered Retreats range in length from half-day to week-long Accommodations Single and double rooms Program Calendar Year-round Fun Fact Copper Beech features a labyrinth, an ancient symbol for wholeness, built on the site of an abandoned tennis court. At its center is a nine-foot-tall stone structure in the shape of an open circle (pictured left). include half-day and daylong pro- grams on Zen meditation, tai chi, Qigong, or Christian centering prayer. Nonetheless, most of the teachings at Copper Beech are based on the secular principles and practices of mindfulness. “ We exist to help ease the suffering of the world and to help people become more g rounded, com- passionate, and loving. We try to do that as practically as we can. A lot of our visitors are learning mindfulness for the first time.” At the end of the day—or the retreat—Nappi says, “ We want people to feel that they’ve been embraced and loved, that the experience of being here was like receiving a warm hug from someone you hadn’t seen in a long time.” AT A GLANCE For a guided meditation practice from each retreat center, go to mindful.org/retreat retreats