As you may know, I strongly encourage most people to try a silent 5+ day mindfulness retreat. Mindfulness retreats can deeply enhance people’s experiential understanding of ‘nonjudgmental, present-moment awareness’ throughout their life. They’re like booster shots of mindfulness, powerful deep dives underneath the surface of our busyness.

However, many of you have told me:

“But I can’t afford to take time off of work to take an expensive retreat.”

Fortunately, you don’t need to go anywhere or pay anything to experience the benefits of an organized retreat at a meditation center.

You can organize your own personal retreat at home during a weekend, holiday or time off.

Here is a sample schedule for a home retreat:

5:30am Wake
5:40 Silent Sit (and/or listen to a mindfulness talk or guided meditation)
6:40 Mindful Yoga/Stretching/Walking/Qi Gong
7:10 Silent Sit (and/or listen to a mindfulness talk or guided meditation)
8:00 Breakfast, chores
9:30 Study/Read
11:00 Silent Sit (and/or listen to a mindfulness talk or guided meditation)
12:00pm Mindful Yoga/Stretching/Walking/Qi Gong
12:30 Silent Sit (and/or listen to a mindfulness talk or guided meditation)
1:00 Lunch & rest
2:00 Open time – mail, bills, gym, hike, bike, etc.
5:30 Silent Sit (and/or listen to a mindfulness talk or guided meditation)
6:30 Tea / light meal
7:30 Read or listen to a mindfulness talk
9:00 Sit (and/or listen to my favorite ‘mindfulness of sounds’ album)
9:45 or 10:00 Bed

Notes:

I’ve done these ‘at-home’ style retreats for periods from a day to 2 week, while some of my teachers have done them for up to 3 months.

When you start a home retreat, you may want to move into a spare room and do your sitting and study there. You can vary the container to have more or less silence or contact as you like.

When some people ‘sit’ a retreat at home, they talk to their family over meals, but they don’t have people over or go out to socialize, to restaurants, etc. It can be helpful to go out a couple of times a week to the gym and food store, and go for exercise walks & bike rides a few times a week, as well.

All in all, this kind of retreat is more like the lifestyle people would lead if they were living in a retreat center or monastery. It’s not the most intensive practice, but it has enough hours of formal silent meditation a day to generate some deep concentration, mindfulness growth and insight.

*I also highly recommend these free (by donation) meditation retreat centers:
Goenka Vipassana Retreats
Insight Retreat Center

I hope you find this helpful!

With warmth and appreciation,

Sean Fargo

Founder, Mindfulness Exercises


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Free Resources For Home Retreats:

KEYS TO A LONG RETREAT (Audio, by Guy Armstrong)

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