Dean Sluyter

Dean has taught meditation throughout the U.S. since 1970. A Buddhist prison chaplain, Dzogchen practice leader, film critic, and author of The Zen Commandments and Cinema Nirvana, he is noted for his clarity, humor, and warmth. Dean has been featured on NPR, on Oprah & Friends Radio, and in The New York Times and USA Today. You can see and hear him at

Dean Sluyter instructs the following:
  • Dean Sluyter - Natural Meditation
  • When people try to meditate, they find it … well, trying. Trying to block out thoughts, trying to feel peaceful, trying to control the mind—it’s frustratingly counterproductive. Any effort to create a nonagitated state of mind is itself a form of agitation. It’s like trying to make the ocean flat by smacking down the waves with a paddle. You just wind up thrashing around and creating more turbulence.

    This is why, in the highest meditative traditions, the ultimate teaching is effortlessness—not doing, just being. Once you give up trying, you start to sink into the silent waters that have been just below the waves all along. This natural process requires no powers of concentration, no philosophical adjustment, no nothin’, so anyone can do it. With a little skillful guidance, it becomes forehead-slappingly obvious. How’d I miss this?

    Dean Sluyter has spent a lifetime studying and practicing with Eastern and Western sages who are preeminent masters of this natural approach. One of the most experienced (and clearest, and funniest) meditation guides in the United States, he has taught since 1970, from the prisons of New Jersey to the rainforests of Guatemala. His latest book, Natural Meditation, is an Amazon #1 bestseller in stress management and the winner of the Nautilus Prize for the best mind-body-spirit book of the year. Dean’s books and “workshops” (which involve no work) have shown thousands of people how simple it can be to find inner happiness. The mind gravitates toward it naturally—just get out of the way and let that gravity take over.

    “Dean Sluyter demystifies a timeless practice that brings lasting peace.”
    —MC Yogi

    “Dean’s sessions are relaxed and accessible, with a pop-culture-tinged playfulness that pulls you in and puts you at ease.”
    —Lisa Leeman, past president, International Documentary Association

    Fee: Friday Evening, $25; Saturday $50; Both: $65.

  • Dean Sluyter - Natural Meditation and Awakened Love
  • In this four-hour deep-immersion program, we’ll begin by diving back into natural meditation, as introduced the previous evening. (Attendance at the Friday session is strongly encouraged but not required.) We’ll review its essential principles and then expand upon them, exploring a number of “on-ramps,” including sight, sound, and breath, that can lead into the silence of just being. We’ll also address the practical nuts-and-bolts issues of establishing a daily meditation practice that’s a pleasure rather than a chore.

    Then, from our new perspective of inner silence, we’ll explore the possibility of expanding our ability to give and receive love. We’ll start by looking into our previous, often restrictive definitions of love, shaped by personal and cultural conditioning and mixed with elements of fear and desire. Cutting through those old definitions, we’ll employ special meditative techniques, derived from Vajrayana (Tibetan Buddhist) teachings, that facilitate the direct experience of first receiving love, then giving it, regardless of concepts of “worthy” or “unworthy.” Starting with people that we find easy to love, we’ll move on to more challenging cases, noting the resistances that understandably arise—but which are then washed away by the purifying nature of love.

    All of this helps free us from whatever limiting (and boring!) reactivity we’ve been stuck in. It’s an exciting discovery. Becoming more awake helps us become more loving; being more loving helps us wake up.

    “With simplicity, wit, and clarity, Dean Sluyter … will help you find the spacious grace in your life.”
    — Steve Bhaerman, aka Swami Beyondananda

    Fee: Friday Evening, $25; Saturday $50; Both: $65.