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Events with Michael

Retreat at Vajrapani Institute, California

Upcoming Deconstructing Yourself events with Michael W. Taft

2022 Events

A silent weekend non-residental retreat with Michael Taft at Alembic

About this event

Join Michael Taft and The Alembic community for a silent weekend of intensive practice.

We will meditate from 8am – 4pm each day, and each attendee will also have an interview with Michael. Space is limited, so please register in advance – there are no drop ins for this retreat.

Sign up here:

Practical info:

There are plenty of cushions at Alembic.

Tea, snacks, and lunch will be provided each day.

We will open the doors at 7:15am each day and the door will be locked after 8am so please arrive on time.

If you have questions or any issues with eventbrite please email

The Deconstructing Yourself Silent Meditation Retreat is a unique opportunity to dive deeply into your meditation practice. You will receive a lot of personal, individual attention about the details of your own practice from the instructor. Based on the teachings and one-on-ones, you will begin to develop a real sense of what you’re doing, how to do it more effectively, and what may be coming next. Note: Michael meets with students individually during the day for one-on-one practice discussion.

Ongoing Events

~ Michael teaches (almost) every Thursday night from 5:30 – 7:00 (Pacific Time) at The Alembic in Berkeley, CA. Please come join us in person. If you cannot be there, it’s also streamed live (and then saved) on Michael’s youtube channel.

~ Michael leads the very special “Death Sangha” event three Saturday nights per year, also at The Alembic.

Death Sangha Description:

“At its core, all spirituality is about Death. The Buddha, Buddhism, and meditation practice have always been deeply concerned with Death, dying, and mortality. Every living thing has to face the reality of Death, and yet in modern meditation circles there is almost no confrontation with this ultimate question and primordial mystery. Instead there is denial, obfuscation, minimizing, and—essentially—painting a smiley face on the whole subject.

If that seems ridiculous to you, as well as something that misses the whole point, then Death Sangha is for you. In Death Sangha we will meet once a month to honor the fact of Death, to face our own and others’ mortality in a clear, unsullied, fierce, humble, and gracious manner. In Death Sangha we will play with the fantasies of both eternalism and nihilism, and experiment with the awakening that lies beyond both. We will confront experiences such as Cosmic Horror, Cosmic Shame, and Total Meaninglessness. We will also engage with the mythological, occult, psychological, historical, and phenomenological aspects of this most important topic. And of course we will do plenty of meditation.

Death Sangha is not a spectacle for the curious, nor is it a soporific for the frightened. In Death Sangha, you will confront your deepest fears, your most difficult warts and shadows, and learn to meditate with the reality of your own imminent demise. It has often been said that until we truly accept Death, we cannot actually live. In Death Sangha, we will not meekly accept Death, but rather learn to passionately and exuberantly dance with this final and most intimate partner.”

michael taft
Michael teaching at Vajrapani