Online Autumn Retreat

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Autumn Retreat: The Heart of Knowing and Not Knowing:

 Teachings of the Buddha of Compassion

Explore your mindfulness practice, touch into the roots of compassion and
find refuge in the space of ‘Not Knowing’


Friday September 24th at 7pm
to Sunday September 26th at 12:30pm | 2021
Online |
Recommended Fee: $250*

*If you would like to participate and cannot afford the $250 fee, we ask that you give what you can afford and contact us at info@saranainstitute.org. If you want to participate in this retreat, we want to have you there.

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. We are also grateful to our donor, Shelley Harris, who has been a longtime friend and supporter of our mediation classes and retreats. 


  • 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.

Even though this retreat is online, in the comfort of your own home, we will be making space to connect to nature. This could be your yard, a local park, your balcony etc. Including nature in our reflective and practice time allows us to deepen and expand our heart awareness towards all beings.  

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 into Not Knowing from (Rev.) Andrew Blake and Sarana Institute:

In times like these we need to become adept at navigating uncertainty. Those of us who work in Healthcare and Palliative care know this place well. In our Autumn Retreat we enter again in silent stillness in a lovingly held virtual space.  Retreat is a time to take what’s known in the Zen tradition as a ‘backward step’. We choose to step out of our everyday patterns, out of our busyness, and participate fully in the retreat schedule.  With its guidelines and timekeeping, we are held in community intention to practice the ‘Way’. The ‘Way’ is built upon our personal retreat intentions, as well as the intention of the Bodhisattva’s heart in serving the world through enlightening our confusion and delusion through compassion and wisdom.

This schedule holds us as we traverse the stillness of sitting meditation that enlightens, reveals, and challenges us.  In this retreat we will explore what our hearts know and what our hearts have yet to know… also known as our ‘don’t know’ mind.  We also will steep our field of shared practice in the Mahayana teachings of the Heart Sutra, a profound distillation of the wisdom awareness from Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion.

(Rev.) Andrew will again be our retreat guide.  He recommends that if you can create a private space for the weekend (i.e., a cottage, friend’s apartment or designated space for the retreat period) it will help you in creating the necessary conditions for deepening your practice. Ideally, access to nature is also very helpful during breaks and contemplative walking periods, where there is as little distraction as possible.  All of us here at Sarana, look forward both to a time for practice and a chance to be in community with each of you.

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

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Preparing for the Retreat

Please click here to learn more about how you can best prepare for our time together.

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.