[ON LAND] Deep Belonging: Connecting with ourselves, each other, and the natural world
With Christiane Wolf and Greg Serpa
April 15 - 21, 2024
A Silent Insight Meditation Retreat
A 6-night silent Vipassana Meditation retreat, which meets the retreat requirements for MBSR, MSC, MMTCP and other teacher and facilitator training programs
Monday, April 15th – Sunday, April 21st
Registration closes April 1st at 11:59pm Pacific Time
Loneliness and alienation permeate these times of political conflict, climate crisis, and social discontent. Connections to our phones and the virtual world often leads to an increased sense of isolation. And whether you are healthcare providers, family caretaker, or just a human being who feels the constant painful ruptures in the fabric of humanity, finding ways to reconnect are a necessity, not a luxury.
On this retreat, lead in the Vipassana (or Insight) meditation tradition, we will explore how being still and opening our hearts again in a supportive environment can connect us back to ourselves and to each other. We are doing this nestled in the beauty of the San Bernardino National Forest with time to practice outside both formally (with sitting and walking meditation) and informally (with hikes and just spending time outside). Together we will explore what supports us in deep presence: letting go of distraction, the deliberate cultivation of simplicity and contentment, and the interconnectedness of all things. By bringing mindful attention to our moment-to-moment experience, we can learn to cultivate resilience amidst change and grow in awareness, love, and wisdom.
The structure of this retreat includes guided meditation with Q&A each day, time for silent sitting and walking meditation periods, rest, mindful eating, Dharma talks, and small group practice discussion meetings with the teachers. The Dharma talks will focus on Buddhist as well as on Western psychology, using the teachers’ strengths and backgrounds in their respective fields. This is a rare opportunity to practice with the authors of the classic teacher training manual “A Clinician’s Guide To Teaching Mindfulness” and the creators of the National Mindfulness Facilitator Training at the US Department for Veterans Affairs.
*retreat fees do not include teacher dana-donations: more information below*
Single room with private bath $2,400
Single room with shared bath $1,920
Double room with shared bath $1,320
Triple room with shared bath $868
Financial support: A limited number of financial support options are available. We ask that these be prioritized for those that identify as marginalized communities. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
The Center consists of several single-story buildings and cabins for dining, meditation and sleeping. Our residence cabins are large furnished and comfortable with 3-4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, living rooms, a full kitchen and decks outside in nature for shared use. Our residential cabins and rooms are simply furnished with a balance of comfort and simplicity. All beds are twin, and all bedding is provided by the center.
The Meditation Hall:
Our beautiful meditation hall is a large room that accommodates most meditation and movement retreats. We have supplies for most participants, but guests are always welcome to bring their own supplies (not required). Guests can typically expect to have access to a zabutan (large cushion), zafu (small cushion), yoga mat, blocks, a meditation chair, a blanket and a selection of other yoga and meditation props with limited supplies. If you’re unsure, please contact us or visit our welcome guide for more details.
The Center provides fresh, healthy meals made with seasonal and organic ingredients to support a nourishing time in retreat. Meals begin with dinner on arrival evening through to breakfast on departure morning. For this retreat, meals will be offered to support meditation retreat practice with a simple medium breakfast, hearty lunch, and light dinner (typically soup and salad). All meals will be vegetarian, and we accommodate most major dietary restrictions. Snacks will be available in the dining hall 24/7, including teas and coffees. The Center has refrigerators in the cabins and dining area for guests to store their own snacks – please bring any foods that might support your time here.
As part of the Buddhist tradition, many teachers (including the teachers of this retreat) offer the teachings freely with no expectations of fees or payment. As a practice of generosity from the heart, participants are invited to offer “dana” (donations-generosity) to the teachers at the end of the retreat. There are no minimums, expectations, or guidelines. It is not required. Teachers do not receive retreat fees, apart from travel reimbursement support. Learn more here about the practice of dana.
Work Meditation: This retreat will include a daily work meditation service period, or “yogi jobs”, around 30-minutes a day. This is an opportunity to practice in service of community and bring your practice into daily roles at the center. If you have mobility or health concerns please reach out and we will find alternative accommodations. More details and a sign up sheet will be shared at registration.
Planning your trip: If you are booking a flight for your trip our recommendation is to search for flights to the Ontario Airport (ONT) whenever possible. If your travel plans require you to land at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) we highly recommend arriving at least one day prior to your arrival at BBRC for retreat. Registration opens on Arrival day from 2:00pm – 4:00pm. Most retreats close by noon or later on departure day so please allow yourself adequate time for travel to the airport. Please visit our Getting to Big Bear page on our website for more detailed travel recommendations.
Ride-share: Ride-sharing / Carpooling is highly encouraged, and is one of the most convenient ways to travel to Big Bear Retreat Center. For this retreat we have set up a self-organized ride-share page that you can visit at anytime before, we will send email reminders closer to the retreat. Visit the ride-share page
Covid Policies: For this retreat we are requiring a proof of a negative rapid test on arrival day for all yogis, teachers and staff. A re-test will be required on the third day by dinner. Masking and vaccines are optional.
Guests are asked, when possible, to bring their own rapid tests or test before travel on arrival day. Tests will be provided by the center by request only.
For any questions please contact email@example.com or visit our website bigbearretreatcenter.org
Cancellation Policy: Please visit our website for more on the cancellation policy for this retreat- bigbearretreatcenter.org/cancellation-policy
- > 8 weeks $100
- 4-8 weeks $175
- 2-4 weeks $300
- <2 weeks No Refunds
Scholarship and Financial Support Cancellation Fee Policy:
- > 8 weeks $75
- 4-8 weeks $150
- < 4 weeks No Refunds
Teachers & Facilitators
Christiane Wolf, MD, PhD first encountered vipassana meditation in her late teens. She is passionate about translating ancient wisdom teachings into accessible and applicable modern-day language. She aims to live from the heart informed by the brain and inspires her students to explore the same. Before transitioning full time to teaching the Dharma and mindfulness Christiane trained as an OB/GYN and received an PhD in psychosomatic medicine from the University of Berlin in Germany. She is a graduate of the Spirit Rock/IMS/Insight Meditation Center teacher training and teaches retreats and classes in the US and in Europe. She is a MBSR teacher trainer for…
Learn more about Christiane Wolf
J. Greg Serpa, PhD, is a clinical psychologist for the US Department of Veterans Affairs. He is honored to teach mindfulness to America’s veterans and is the first full-time mindfulness teacher and trainer in the federal system. Greg teaches a national mindfulness certification program for VA clinicians based upon his book, co-authored with Christiane Wolf, The Clinician’s Guide to Teaching Mindfulness. He also serves on a national committee committed to addressing healthcare disparities and the social determinates of health. Greg is a Clinical Professor in the psychology department at UCLA and a visiting clinical scientist at the David Geffen School…
Learn more about Greg Serpa