As well as weekly local meditation classes, weekend or longer residential courses for newcomers to Samatha meditation are held regularly at the Samatha Centre in Mid-Wales.
For people with little or no previous experience of meditation these retreats provide a structured introduction. They also provide an opportunity for people who have done other forms of meditation to explore this particular breathing mindfulness technique, with opportunities for discussion and individual guidance.
Courses include group meetings and practices, 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 nourish the practice.
Introductory Weekends in 2018
- 5th to 7th October
Intermediate Courses in 2018
- 9th to 11th November
Introductory Courses in 2019
January 18th – 20th
March 1st – 3rd
June 7th – 9th
October 4th – 6th
Intermediate Courses in 2019
May 11th - 13th
November 9th – 11th
Continuing Samatha practice after the weekend or week
For people who wish to continue with the Samatha practice, some contact with a group and a teacher provides support in developing meditation.
- You may find there is a Samatha group near where you live – click on the menu item "Classes" or "Find your nearest class" above
- You might like to return to Greenstreete for an Intermediate Weekend to learn more about Samatha practice – see above for dates
- You are welcome to come on further Introductory Weekends instead – or as well
- You can maintain contact with a teacher independently of a course or a group
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 napaul(at)tiscali.co.uk if you are interested.
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.