Courses, retreats,and other events

What are retreats?

Many of us have problems in our lives and some of us turn to mindfulness practice to help us improve our lives. Retreats are a way to make progress in your practice, to have a complete break with your everyday life and focus on the change you want to make.  Suppose you are learning to play tennis.  Your once-a-week lessons are fine, but your progress is slow. A full weekend of practice can give you a big boost in your tennis skills.  A retreat gives you the same chance to practice your happiness skills.

On a retreat you leave behind your everyday life, turn off the phone, leave email un answered and enjoy quite a lot of complete silence.  The atmosphere is calm and supportive.  Everyone has the same purpose.  There are people there to help if you need them.

Some of us benefit most from the informal discussions with other retreatants, some from the more formal teachings.

Programme on a typical retreat.

  • 0630 Wakeup bell sounds
  • 0700 Silent sitting meditation
  • 0800 Mindful exercises
  • 0830 Breakfast in silence for the first 20 mins.
  • 0930 Private time and ‘working meditation’ 9for instance, helping prepare vegetables)
  • 1030 Teachings in a group
  • 1130 Outside walking meditation
  • 1230 Lunch
  • 1330 Free time
  • 1500 Discussion groups on the morning teaching topic
  • 1630 Free time
  • 1800 Supper
  • 1930 Mindful speaking and listening
  • 2100 Evening meditation
  • 2200 Silence starts (till mid-breakfast the next day)

What are courses?

Rather than going away for several days, courses allow you to seriously engage with your practice by attending a session every week and doing some practice at home between sessions.  they are run by an experienced leader and use ‘tried and tested’ materials and format.

Can i go on any of them?

The short answer is Yes.  The introductory courses, the monastic-led retreats and Plum Village summer opening are aimed at everyone, including the complete beginner.  The in-depth retreats also welcome newcomers, but there will be less formal basic instruction.

This section of our website gives details of courses, retreats, and other events that you may find of interest to learn more about the practice of mindfulness and to help you deepen your practice.  Practising with others on a course or a retreat allows us to be supported and encouraged. Practising together gives us the stability, joy and confidence to integrate what we have learned into our daily lives and transform suffering..
How might you benefit from going on a residential retreat?
Retreats have traditionally been a key way to learn about the practice away from the stresses of your usual daily routine.  A retreat is a chance for refreshment, growth and renewal without distractions. Most people enjoy the experience, many people find it a life-enhancing and joyful but for some the change in routine can be a challenge.   .
What’s on our courses, retreats and events listing?
Our courses, retreats and events listing shows four categories of events.  Unless stated, these events are open to all to attend. 
  • Events organised by the COI nationally
  • Independent events organised by Friends of the COI and by COI members that we have been requested to bring to your attention.
  • Events for members and aspirants of the Order of Interbeing only.
  • Events organised by local Sanghas which are aimed at a national or regional audience.
We also have a calendar of courses, retreats and other events which allows you to view all these items by date.
NB:  The COI has no involvement in the running of independent events.