Delve Deeper into Mindfulness by Going on a Retreat

Retreats, available in the United Kingdom, the United States, France and elsewhere, offer an opportunity to deepen your mindfulness practice in a safe and peaceful environment. Everyone should try at least one retreat in their lifetime – just to see if you’d like more! Start with one day, a weekend or a light programme to begin with.

Eventually you can go on longer silent retreats to really dive in deep and resurface feeling refreshed.

In the United Kingdom:

  • Amaravati. This Buddhist monastery is located in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. You can visit the centre for a day to begin with, and if you enjoy the experience, you can return for a longer retreat. If you appreciate the Buddhist tradition and would like to experience some time meditating with monks and nuns in a monastery, give this one a try.

  • Gaia House. This retreat centre is located in West Ogwell, Newton Abbot, Devon. They offer silent meditation retreats in the Buddhist tradition. Shamash has enjoyed time at the retreat there because of the peaceful setting, excellent teachers and similarity with the mindfulness approach that he teaches. They usually have a different teacher running the retreat each week, with a different theme.

  • Learn Mindfulness. Shamash’s organisation offers secular mindfulness retreats in different locations around the UK and worldwide. The format of the retreats follows the mindfulness meditations explained in this book and on the audio.

In the United States:

  • Insight Meditation Society. This Buddhist retreat centre in Barre, Massachusetts is ideal for both beginners and experienced mindfulness practitioners. They offer Buddhist meditation retreats to help develop mindfulness, compassion and wisdom. They have many different themed courses, including for teenagers, young adults, women and families. The courses are designed to help integrate mindfulness meditation into everyday life.

  • Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Spirit Rock Meditation Center is a Buddhist meditation retreat centre located in Woodacre, California. The practice of mindful awareness, called Insight meditation, is at the heart of all the activities at Spirit Rock. They offer a series of silent meditation retreats that you can see on their events calendar.

In France:

  • Plum Village. A large retreat centre founded by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh in the South of France. He personally runs several week-long retreats in the summer there. He holds retreats all over the world, so you may be able to have a retreat with him in your own country.

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