Meditation Retreats

Silent Stay Retreat Center Reborn in Santa Barbara Hills | Good for Santa Barbara

Posted on September 21, 2022
| 3:40pm

Silent Stay was a peaceful retreat center perched on a mountaintop overlook in Vacaville, California. The retreat drew hundreds of enthusiasts of the silent withdrawal from the workday world for a few days of peaceful meditation and contemplation. Until it burned to the ground in the Napa Fire of 2020.

Heartbroken, but undaunted, retreat owners Bruce and Ruth Davis moved south to Santa Barbara with the commitment to recreate that same serenity on the California coast; and they have — in Santa Barbara.

Silent Stay retreats have been reborn at Pacific Graduate Institute, nestled in the local hillside. In partnership with the institute, Bruce and Ruth Davis, who also host retreats at their center in Assisi, Italy, have re-established a sanctuary for those who want the peace of silent tranquility.

The grand re-opening of Silent Stay takes place in October.

“The quiet helps everyone find this inner place of love and beauty that is always present but mostly covered by the ‘busy-ness,'” said Ruth Davis. “The gift of silence is having nothing to do, nothing to say, having a time to enjoy solitude, gentleness and a quiet mind. A silent retreat is a gift for your own peace of mind.”

At a silent stay retreat, guests have their choice of several kinds of room accommodations. Meals are available in a communal dining area, but eaten in silence.

The day begins with a group program of silence and meditation in the campus’ Barrett Hall Sanctuary, followed by “non-doing” periods devoted to reflection, walking meditation, journaling, sitting meditation, being in nature, bathing in the softness of the retreat experience, and taking a guilt-free nap.

Midday there is teaching a Heartfulness meditation, leaving the busy mental world to explore the depths of the heart. After dinner, the day closes with a 40-minute meditation.

Bruce Davis, Ph.D., and partner Ruth Davis, a Heartfulness teacher, have been leading meditation retreats in Europe, the US, Bali, and India for years. The peace center they established in 2000 in Assisi, Italy, has been named one of the “ten best meditation centers in the world” by CNN and Travel & Leisure Magazine.

Bruce Davis is the author of “The Magical Child Within You,” “Monastery Without Walls,” “The Calling of Joy,” “Simple Peace-The Spiritual life of St. Francis of Assisi,” and “The Love Letters of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi.”

Ruth Davis is the originator of Sacred Movement Ritual.

Silent Stay has been a 501c3 nonprofit organization since 1983. For more information, visit

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