As well as weekly local meditation classes, weekend or longer residential courses for newcomers to Samatha meditation are held regularly.
The courses are held at The Samatha Centre, Greenstreete. Greenstreete is a Welsh hill farm near Knighton with 88 acres of varied land, where Samatha meditation, a traditional Buddhist practice of meditation on the breath, is practised.
The introductory courses provide a structured introduction to this particular Samatha breathing mindfulness technique, with opportunities for discussion and individual guidance, both for people with little or no previous experience of meditation and for people who have done other forms of meditation.
The intermediate courses provide opportunities for everyone who has learnt all/most of the 16-stages of this Samatha practice to explore and develop their practice. These intermediate courses may be of interest to those who want to continue with this Samatha practice after an introductory residential or online course, especially those with no accessible local group, but are not only for these groups of people.
(There are also many other courses for those who have completed the 16-stages and have been practising Samatha for more than, say a year. Please discuss with your Samatha teacher about which would be the most appropriate.)
Courses include group meetings, in which aspects of the meditation are introduced and practised, individual practice time for both sitting and walking meditation, discussion, and one-to-one consultations with the teachers. There is also usually some time to go for walks: the land around the Centre gives a rich and peaceful environment which can help to support the practice.
Whilst Samatha meditation can benefit most temperaments, a weekend or week-long retreat may not be appropriate if you have significant mental health difficulties, particularly if you are new or relatively new to the practice. The intensive nature of these courses can bring unresolved thoughts and feelings to the fore and if strong these may be difficult for you to deal with on the course. It may be better instead to develop meditation or mindfulness in a setting where there are more possibilities for active external engagement for the mind and where there is easier access to one's usual support. A number of mindfulness based therapies are also now more widely available. Meditation should not generally be seen as a substitute for psychiatric treatment and we recommend that those with significant psychiatric disorders should approach meditation practice cautiously and inform the teacher of their condition prior to starting practice.
There are occasional opportunities for meditators who have some experience in other Buddhist traditions of jhana meditation practice (for example, Pa-Auk or Ajahn Brahm traditions) to join periods of practice taught by samatha teachers - email email@example.com if you are interested.