matthew brensilver insight retreat center irc gil fronsdale july retreat dana-based free
  • This is a completely dana based retreat. Please choose any amount.

Rooming choices: we have single, double, and triple rooms available. On this form you'll have the opportunity to make your top choice(s). We will do our best to match your top choice, on a first come first serve basis. In the pre-arrival information, about 1-month before your retreat, we will share which rooming option you have been offered.

Date & Time Details:
2:00p - 4:00p Registration
4:30p Welcome Walk
5:30p Dinner
7:00p Opening Ceremony
*schedule subject to change

Location: Big Bear Retreat Center

Address: 1000 Sugarpine Road, Big Bear, CA, USA

Contact: Big Bear Retreat Center

Covid Policy: please plan to bring your own tests
-Proof of negative rapid test taken same day of arrival
-72 hour re-test during retreat
-Masks and vaccines are optional
(subject to change based on local guidelines)


Email us about program

Healing the Self, Loving the Self, Forgetting the Self

With Matthew Brensilver

July 9 - 13, 2024

***Retreat Update: This retreat is full with a large waiting list. It is unlikely a spot will be available from a waitlist sign up.***
You may also want to consider:

A Silent Meditation Retreat:
Dana-based retreat (donate at any amount)

Co-sponsored by Insight Retreat Center (IRC) and Big Bear Retreat Center

Tuesday, July 9th – Saturday, July 13th
Registration closes July 2nd at 11:59pm Pacific Time

insight retreat center irc gil fronsdale


In this silent retreat, we will explore how mindfulness supports the healing of the self.

Many of the Buddhist teachings help us to tend to painful memory, old pains and the habits that compound suffering. As we become more gentle and loving towards experience, the self becomes less and less of a preoccupation. The more completely we accept ourselves, the easier it becomes to forget the self and rest in an awareness unencumbered by self-consciousness.

This retreat will include sitting and walking meditation instructions, dharma talks and a chance to speak with the teacher, in order to support you in your practice.

All are welcome.

Cost: Dana-based at any amount

This retreat is offered as a dana-based fee (any amount above $0).
The practice of Dana is to give freely from the heart
Please consider giving an amount that is comfortable for you to support this retreat’s fees.

*retreat donations do not include teacher dana-donations: more information below*

Dana (donations/generosity) for the Retreat Center and Teacher: 

This specific retreat is offered in the spirit of the Buddhist tradition, as a dana (donation) based rate. This is offered freely offered to the community of practitioners. As a practice of generosity from the heart, participants are invited to offer “dana” (donations-generosity) to the retreat center and teachers at the end of the retreat. Thank you for your support! Learn more here about the practice of dana.




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.

meditation hall big bear


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.

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 or visit our website

Cancellation Policy: Please visit our website for more on the cancellation policy for this retreat-

Dana-based In Person Retreat Cancellation Fee Schedule:

  • > 4 weeks   20%
  • < 4 weeks   No Refunds


Matthew Brensilver
Matthew Brensilver, PhD, offers retreats at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and the Insight Retreat Center. For more than a decade, he taught for Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society. He continues to teach at UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center about the intersections between mindfulness and mental health. He spent years doing research on addiction treatment at the UCLA Center for Behavioral and Addiction Medicine and continues to be interested in the unfolding dialogue between dharma and science.
Learn more about Matthew Brensilver
Contact Us

Connect with us at Big Bear Retreat Center.