Take Time To Go Deep

Want to unplug and reconnect with what really matters? We recommend these five retreat centers across North America.

Meditators being alone together at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA. Sitting in silence with other mindfulness practitioners for longer periods, in a remote setting, offers an opportunity for real quiet and depth. Photograph courtesy of Insight Meditation Society

From time to time we all need a break. We need space—space for silence and for renewal, space for listening and for learning. Even the most mindful among us need more than a 20-minute morning sit or a quick body scan between meetings. To loosen the demands of daily life, to give the thinking mind some breathing space, to hone our skills, or to deepen our daily practice sometimes requires not ordinary time but un-ordinary time—if not time in the mountains or in the desert or by the ocean, then at least time away.

“All of us desperately need time to quiet the mind and tend the heart. We need to re-regulate ourselves and to listen more deeply, to hear the wisdom that we carry, to let the love that we carry fill us in healthy ways, and to let our innate understanding grow,” says Jack Kornfield, teacher, author, and founder of Spirit Rock, a retreat center in northern California. “Going on retreat is in part a shedding—a releasing, an opening, a letting go—of all that we carry: the tensions, the worries, the busy-ness of mind and body. And that letting go allows a renewal of spirit and heart that…

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About the author

Victoria Dawson

Victoria Dawson is a freelance writer based in Washington, DC. She regularly contributes to Mindful.