Autumn Retreat

Register Here

Autumn Retreat: Sitting in the Presence of the Earth Mother

Friday September 30th starting at 5:30pm
to Sunday October 2nd at 4:00pm | 2022
at Sarana Springs near Chatsworth, ON
 OR Online

In Person Fee: $350 (includes catering, accommodations extra, see below)
Online Fee, hosted on Zoom: $250

The retreat fee includes a portion that goes directly towards Sarana Institute, which supports us and allows our work to thrive, as well as a portion to our teacher that supports his work.

  • Tend to Mindfulness daily with both seated and walking practices
  • Contemplate Compassion for self and others
  • Practice Deep Listening with this partially silent retreat
  • Invite nature connection into your daily awareness practices
  • Cultivate a relationship to your home as a refuge and space for practice

Register Here for our Autumn Retreat

Mindfulness + Compassion Skills in Nature builds a foundation for loving kindness and a deepening of our sense of interrelationship and oneness.

If you are a beginner to meditation and mindfulness practice, we ask that you contact (Rev.) Andrew, our Retreat Director to discuss your practice and how this can be of best support to you.

An invitation from (Rev.) Andrew Blake and Sarana Institute:

Every year in early autumn, we enter into silent retreat and take refuge at Sarana Springs, a diverse landscape where we can reconnect with a natural world of beings. Entering into retreat allows us space for slowing down and unplugging from our incessantly busy lifestyles. It opens a window to compassionate listening that includes the trees, the wind, and the sky, as well as an awareness of our selves and where healing is need. It all happens in your practice.  Everyone and everything shows up.

Like the scientific teachings of Deep Ecology, our spiritual practices guide us towards knowing we are connected to a field of “oneness” that includes nature, as well as the universe—a vast web of interconnectedness and interdependence. For some, we may have lost our intimate connection with natural world and need to return home, and for others there is a longing to reconnect and re-establish our home and be renewed. Together let us explore how the earth extends herself into our practice and offers healing.

When we look into our own bodily formation, we see Mother Earth inside us, and so the whole universe is inside us, too. Once we have this insight of interbeing, it is possible to have real communication, real communion, with the Earth. This is the highest possible form of prayer.    Thich Nhat Hanh

Come join us where fresh water springs bubble up from the ground, where cedar, pine and mixed wood forests invite us to listen deeply, where wetlands and grasslands restore the earth and our bodies, and where ancient rocks have their own stories to tell us.

Come join us and listen to the Earth Mother.

Combining silent sitting meditation and contemplation in the Temple Barn, along with meditating in and walking into on our 171-acre refuge, we enter the path of the old ones. The fall retreat follows the old tradition of meditating with trees. Buddha’s life from early childhood until his death was lived in relationship to trees, including his enlightenment under the Bodhi tree.  The root of the word dharma, dher, means “to hold firmly and support,” much like what trees do for our planet. Buddha and the early practitioners were supported in their practice by meditating in nature, not practicing in temples or convenient shelters. This tradition teaches us to invite everything into our practice, including all beings, who walk, crawl, swim and fly. Meditating in nature reconnects us to our elemental essence, which teaches us to embody the truth of impermanence and the clarity that we are never alone.

Come join us to commune and listen to whoever shows up.

Two Hands Together,
(Rev.) Andrew and the Sarana Team

Register Here

Accommodation Details:

Camping at Sarana Springs: $25/night per person, $40/night for 2 people

Local Hotels, Inns, and B&Bs:
There are also a number of hotels, inns and B&Bs in Owen Sound and the surrounding area. If you are searching on Airbnb, look for places closest to Holland Centre.

Danby House:
Two Sisters Inn:
Travelodge Owen Sound:
Quality Inn Owen Sound:

Further Questions

Register Here for our Autumn Retreat

On Being Compassionate:
by (Rev.) Andrew Blake

With practice, we learn to be with the qualities present in our moment-by-moment experience, and then with more curiousity and perseverance, we learn to touch into the roots of a reactive emotion or a strong trigger that sets us off into fear, sadness, jealousy, or rage. Slowing down brings us greater awareness of these states and, through this first skill of mindfulness, we learn that we can let them go in any given moment. This gradually brings us ease, acceptance and greater trust of emotionally states. This is not control, but rather what in neuroscience is called “regulation.” But how to we understand the roots of our emotions and even transform those old prickly triggers? How do we direct compassion and kindness to our own reactions and suffering? This is where your meditation cushion hits the pavement…continue reading here.