Meditation Retreats

10 of the world’s best meditation retreats

(CNN) – Adventure travel isn’t always about riding waves and climbing heights – sometimes it’s about going inside to explore the realm of our inner worlds.

While it may not be intuitive to go long distances to sit with a group of silent strangers, meditation retreats provide guidance for those who have an inner quest.

“Every wise culture knows that there are times when it is important to go to the desert or the mountains, or to withdraw and listen,” says Jack Kornfield, a meditation teacher, of his books “The Wise Heart” and “Bringing.” Home. belong to the Dharma. ”

“Calm the mind and open the heart and listen deeply. In the cycles of our lives this serves almost everyone.”

It is common to worry about a week without conversation, eating, or sleeping in. But those who persevere will be rewarded.

“It turns out they love it almost all of the time,” says Kornfield. “Things that seem difficult, like silence, immediately turn out to be great gifts.”

Rules vary, but many specific centers will ask for a temporary vow of silence during most or all of the time as a visitor.

As a rule of thumb, it is better to look for teachers with a good reputation who come from a long tradition, rather than a self-proclaimed guru.

Be realistic about your physical needs and comfort. Strict terms can lead to insight into the difference between what you want and what you need.

A traditional Buddhist meditation retreat begins early in the morning; Nonprofits will likely expect you to do some work (carefully slicing the carrots) and pick them up after yourself.

Most of all, look for “a place known for love, [with] a spirit of loving-kindness and compassion in everything it does. “

Spirit Rock, California

As the northern suburbs of San Francisco give way to Tolkein County, the hills of Spirit Rock appear.

Indians once used this land for spiritual rites; even the wild deer and turkey are calm without having to shrink from humans.

Residential retreats, held year-round, last up to two months.

“Some come to heal, either to heal the heart or the body,” says Jack Kornfield, one of Spirit Rock’s founding teachers. “Some come because they are in a life change and need to listen carefully to what is asked of them next or how to deal with a major change.

“When you calm down, go for a walk in nature, listen to your own breath and your own feelings and thoughts more deeply, you develop a feeling of stillness and clarity.

“And we see it in their faces. We sometimes call it Vipassana [insight meditation] Facelift. You see people’s smiling faces after a week of retreat, and they look like they are 10 years younger. They are brighter; their presence and spirit have been renewed. “

Plum Village, France

The Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr.

Courtesy Plum Village

For Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese monk Martin Luther King Jr. nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, cultivating clarity is a means of connecting with oneself and with others.

“When you pay attention to something, you are focused on it, and the power of mindful concentration can help you see things for what they really are and discover the nature of intersection,” he recently told Shambhala Sun.

The monastery in southern France, which he and around 200 monks and nuns call home, welcomes visitors of all ages and offers one lazy, unstructured day per week.

Teachings of the Dalai Lama, Dharamsala, India

When the Dalai Lama teaches in India, where he sought refuge after fleeing his native Tibet, his lectures are usually free and public.

Eleven Directions closes the gap between the talks of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and the week-long negotiations in Dharamsala, the center of the Tibetan community in exile and the destination of many spiritual pilgrims.

The accommodations include a guest house run by the Dalai Lama’s brother.

Shantum Seth, a Zen priest, advocates being completely open and aware when traveling and is widely praised by Western Buddhists as the first guide in the Himalayas.

His tour in Dharamsala is for those who want to connect with and discuss Tibetan culture and practices. other itineraries include “In the footsteps of the Buddha”.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Relief at the Glenview Hotel and Leisure Club, Ireland

In the 1970s, Jon Kabat-Zinn pioneered Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School for patients (and staff) to manage the physical and psychological effects of stress, pain, and illness.

The approach removes speaking about Dharma and Karma to offer meditation techniques directly.

Her Center for Mindfulness hosts an annual conference for scientists on the effects of meditation on health care and vice versa, and has contributed to the scientific understanding of the effects of meditation on the brain and immune system.

Mindfulness Tools for Living the Full Catastrophe is a five day residential version of MBSR that is taught worldwide.

This summer, Ananda is hosting a session at the Glenview Hotel, Ireland – ideal for someone looking for a place with all the typical traveler conveniences.

The Buddhist Retreat Center, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Just a 90-minute drive from Durban, the remote location of the Buddhist Retreat Center in Ixopo feels completely rural.

Former President Nelson Mandela awarded the center National Heritage status for its environmentally friendly approach to using native plants and helping to save the critically endangered blue swallow.

Accordingly, walks and bird watching on the spacious property are encouraged.

In addition to the planned meditation retreats, people in search of solitude are also welcome to escape the modern world on their own.

Located in a traditional Zulu tribal area, the community does outreach work with the local population via Woza Moya in the Ufafa Valley.

Wat Suan Mokkh, Chaiya, Thailand

From the first day of each month, this forest retreat offers 10-day meditation retreats.

All levels are welcome, but conditions are rough; in the words of Ajahn Buddhadasa, who founded the hermitage: “Live clearly, aim high.”

When you register, you hand in your mobile phone; Beds are a straw mat and a wooden pillow.

The wake-up bell is at 4 a.m.

The Garden of Liberation regularly attracts foreigners and is a great choice for those looking for an authentic forest monk experience with English lessons.

Kukui Street, HawaiiI

The idea for Ala Kukui or “Pathway of Illumination” was inspired by the events of September 11th.

This sanctuary is nestled among hills and fruit trees on 12 acres of Maui land, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Haleakala.

Various offers attract locals and long-distance travelers all year round.

Specialties include a war veteran retreat that recognizes and aims to heal the extreme PTSD, grief, and loss that soldiers often struggle with.

Programs in hula, writing, and yoga are also offered.

Assisi Retreat Home & Hermitage, Assisi, Italy

If you soothe the Italian countryside, you can make yourself comfortable in the centuries-old farmhouse with four guest rooms.

Morning and evening meditations are bookends for days exploring Assisi – a “spiritual walk through the ancient sacred sites” is an option – or the Umbrian countryside.

Retreats are conducted in English; Kitchen space is available to prepare your own meals.

Gampo Abbey, Nova Scotia, Canadaon

Gampo Abbey is geared towards monastic life in the Shambhala tradition. Residents usually commit for at least a year, but those with regular meditation practice are welcome to come inside for a week during the summer season.

If you want to study with the main teacher at Gampo Abbey, Ani Pema Chödrön (born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown in New York), you can do so this year at the less stringent Omega Institute in New York State.

Kripalu, Massachusetts

Located in the Berkshires, just down the street from Tanglewood, the summer residence of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Kripalu is primarily a yoga center.

The wooded area overlooking a lake is iconic for New England, whether the branches are heavy with winter snow or bristling with the colors of spring, summer and autumn.

Most visitors sign up for a class – often a yoga specialty, including teacher training in Kripalu’s signature method, which emphasizes personal expression.

Many other programs such as meditation, mindful running and couples massage are also offered.

Yoga and dance for all levels are offered to all visitors several times a day, and child-oriented activities such as CircusYoga are offered during the school holidays.

In keeping with the property’s monastic history, the living spaces are simple: many opt for dorms with bunk beds and shared bathrooms. Some private rooms are available.

Vegetarian-friendly meals are served in a canteen style. (Breakfast is silent.)

The new management has introduced Wi-Fi, coffee and loads of chocolate.

A wide range of bodywork options, including massages, facials, and Ayurvedic consultations, can be booked in advance or on site.

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