VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES AND QUESTIONS ABOUT RETREATS

Contact the Retreat Manager to inquire about volunteering a retreat, other opportunities for accessibility to retreats at the center, and general questions about retreats on our calendar.

 

Upcoming Retreats at BBRC

Booking a retreat at Big Bear Retreat Center includes:

  • CABINS & RETREAT CENTER: enjoy all the amenities of a room in a retreat cabin in nature to support your practice
  • MEALS: daily delicious freshly prepared, healthy, and vegetarian meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
  • COMMUNITY: practice in community with others
  • NATURE: over 100 acres of beautiful forested land and hiking trails

Testimonials from past retreat guests

  • BBRC and InsightLA put on the most incredible silent retreat. I am encouraging all my interested friends to sign up- it is life-changing.

    Retreat Guest Spring Renewal Insight Meditation Retreat with Christiane Wolf and Celeste Young (InsightLA), April 2022
  • I found refuge sitting on the mountain.

    Retreat Guest Four Foundations of Mindfulness Insight Meditation Retreat with Christiane Wolf and Greg Serpa (InsightLA), May 2022
  • I highly recommend the Big Bear Retreat location due to its beauty, comfort, facilities and ability to go on walks in the forest. Everything was well organized and thoughtful.

    Retreat Guest
  • The meals at BBRC were top of the line. The food was comparable to restaurant-quality dining. The fact that it was vegetarian and vegan was unbelievable. One of the best parts of the center.

    Retreat Guest
  • The meals were INCREDIBLE. Hands down the highlight of the whole experience. Honestly, I was blown away by the quality of the food, both taste and health wise.

    Retreat Guest
  • The natural beauty of Big Bear Retreat Center offers the perfect space to feel interconnected to all life and to open to the beautiful teachings we experienced this week.  The cabins, meditation hall, food, and  staff all supported our opportunity to become still and stable, to open our hearts to all of life.  Thank you for this beautiful experience.  I'll be back. 

    Cheryl
    Cheryl Calm Abiding Insight Meditation Retreat with Beth Sternlieb and Eric McCullum (InsightLA), May 2022
  • Big Bear Retreat Center has quickly become of my favorite places to teach and retreat. The extraordinary mountains and unspoiled landscape create the perfect container for meditating in a natural environment away from the busyness of urban areas. The staff is professional, attentive and compassionate. The food is delicious and nutritious. I love sitting in the spacious, peaceful meditation hall, hiking the trails and looking out at the long-range views.

    I recommend Big Bear to everyone who appreciates retreating in nature with a kind, compassionate staff and community.

    Lisa Ernst
    Lisa Ernst Teacher, InsightLA
  • BBRC and its staff make the retreat experience seamless and magical at every turn. The chefs prepare meals that are the embodiment of love and nourishment for this practice. The teachers are supportive and generous with their time, and find the balance between stimulating and calming the mind with the dharma.

    Retreat Guest Calm Abiding Insight Meditation Retreat with Beth Sternlieb and Eric McCullum (InsightLA), May 2022
  • This was an absolutely wonderful retreat experience.  The environment at Big Bear Retreat Center is relaxing and beautiful, with hiking trails and serene natural views everywhere.  The vegetarian meals were outstanding…each dish seemed prepared with care and love, and full of flavor.  The staff was professional yet warm and approachable. I will go back again and again!

    Anne
    Anne Calm Abiding Insight Meditation Retreat with Beth Sternlieb and Eric McCullum (InsightLA), May 2022

Retreat Calendar

Additional Information for Select Online Components:

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2023

FEBRUARY

February 22-26, 2023

The 8th Annual Women’s Retreat
a 4-night meditation retreat
Renouncing Praying Against Your Own Flesh: Self Hatred, Tenderness & Impermanence

Led by Sydney Reece & Mary Stancavage

meditation-coalition-logo

Starts: Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Ends: Sunday, February 26, 2023

This retreat will explore women’s spiritual journey of working with inner emotional storms. We’re excited to announce that our annual women’s retreat is back in person this year. We are looking forward to being in community with you.

Never again will I pray against my own flesh   —   Jill Hammer

Becoming aware of and turning to that which may prevent women, uniquely, from having a healthy and resilient body and mind, not only in her life, but more deeply in her own spiritual practice. What is said over and over, can be said to be “prayer”.  The intent and adversity of what is said internally preys against women’s attempts to engage with self and others in effective and nourishing ways as Bodhisattva for our times.

Join us, in not only growing concentration, but purifying the quality of awareness by turning to negative inner dialogue, long-held, but unexamined beliefs/thought patterns and working with body and breath through insight sitting and walking practices.  Contemplative writing and movement will be introduced to meet and renounce the many ways women pray, then prey against our own flesh (read well-beingsovereignty).

This retreat is intended to assist women practice and explore their spiritual journey with warm curiosity, within the warm and nourishing circle of sisterhood and always with more tenderness for being woman/female-bodied.

We use an inclusive definition of “woman” and “female” and we welcome trans women, genderqueer women, and non-binary people who are significantly female-identified. Attendees only need to identify as women in a way that’s significant to them.

Testimonials from past retreats

“Life doesn’t always give you what you want, but it does give you what you need. I really needed this. It was truly life changing and profound. I look forward to the next one! Love & Gratitude to all of you.”

“There was a sense of selflessness about the teachers. I got a feeling that the dharma was at the forefront and that any ego attachments were put in the background – that was nice.”

“The teachers are… well versed in the Dharma, excellent practical examples of how we can come together to practice, and how the Dharma impacts us on a daily basis.”

“I just want to express great Gratitude for being able to participate. There was a deep sense of spaciousness that allowed me to ‘see’ myself and be myself – and I feel the germination of the seeds of self-compassion that were planted in the circle of women.”

“I feel empowered to stick with my own meditation practice now. Thank you so much!”

APRIL

April 27 - 30, 2023

Opening to Inner + Outer Change: A Life Balance Retreat

Led by Jennifer Ward and Celeste Young

insightla
life-balance-institute

Starts: Thursday, April 27, 2023

Ends: Sunday, April 30, 2023

Come join us in the beautiful San Bernardino Mountains of Big Bear, CA and explore whatever internal or external life changes you might be considering, restoring balance to your life. We’ll be together in community for meditations, teachings and interactive exercises, healthy meals and plenty of downtime to enjoy the beauty of nature. More information below…

How well we navigate changes and transitions in our lives has a direct impact on the degree of well-being, purpose, and satisfaction we experience on a day-to-day basis. If you’re considering a big change, are in the midst of one now, or are still feeling the effects of past changes, this unique retreat offers you the personal understanding and tools to open to the next phase of your life with clarity, confidence, and deeper Insight.

Together in a supportive environment, we’ll be learning principles about the nature of change, adult stages of development, as well as time-tested mindfulness practices that can help you move through times of change with more balance and clear intention. Throughout the retreat, you will be offered a series of highly effective self-assessments and tools from the Life Balance Institute that are designed to give you clarity about your specific situation and support you in moving towards your next steps. These tools have helped countless individuals step into greater alignment with what they truly care about in life- to connect with what is truly meaningful. In addition, each day we’ll practice meditations together specifically designed to support you in meeting change more effectively and in coming home to yourself in daily life.

MAY

May 3 - 9, 2023

Calm Abiding: A Retreat for Cultivating a Concentrated Mind
a 6-night, 7-day silent insight meditation retreat

Led by Beth Sternlieb and Eric McCullum

insightla

Starts: Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Ends: Tuesday, May 9, 2023

We are looking forward to practicing an in-person retreat in the beautiful San Bernardino mountains. With the support of nature and a friendly, peaceful quiet we will care for the heart and mind with compassionate mindfulness.

Guidance will be given for gathering awareness, relaxing the body, opening the heart, and calming the mind.

The structure of our meditation retreat will include time for sitting and walking or movement meditation, rest, mindful eating, and Dharma talks along with instruction and guidance, time for questions and reflections, short practice discussion meetings with the teachers to support you within the container of a silent retreat.

Retreat practice helps us to deepen our appreciation and gratitude for the mystery of being alive and for the benefits of generosity and kindness to ourselves and others.

May 17 - 23, 2023

Spring Renewal: The Blossoming of Insight
a 6-night, 7-day silent insight meditation retreat

Led by Christiane Wolf and Celeste Young

insightla

Starts: Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Ends: Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Spring is a wonderful time to turn inward and renew ourselves. Come spend the week at Big Bear Retreat center in the serene San Bernardino mountains deepening your Insight meditation practice with others. By bringing mindful attention to our moment to moment experience, we can learn to cultivate resilience amidst change and grow in awareness and love. We will focus on practices that quiet the mind and open the heart, supporting continuity of mindfulness and the unfolding of insight.

The structure of a silent Insight meditation retreat includes time for sitting meditation, walking meditation, rest, mindful eating, and Dharma talks along with some instruction and guidance, and short practice discussion meetings with the teachers to support you within the container of a silent retreat. This helps us to deepen our connection to our direct moment to moment experience, cultivate continuity of mindfulness, and awaken the heart and mind for greater ease, balance, and clarity in daily life.

We will tend to the heart and mind with compassionate mindfulness and strengthen our connection with ourselves and each other, with time for enjoying nature, deep rest, and practice in this beautiful setting.

JUNE

June 3 - 10, 2023

Dharma Everywhere: A Sayadaw U Tejaniya Retreat
a 7-night, 8-day silent insight meditation retreat

Led by LC Tran and Alexis Santos

insightla

Starts: Saturday, June 3, 2023

Ends: Saturday, June 10, 2023

Sayadaw U Tejaniya is renowned for his radically simple approach to meditation and his relatable personality. At his monastery in Burma, meditation is not about achieving rarified experiences under strict retreat conditions. On the contrary, meditation is for living naturally in the present moment with awareness and wisdom.

On this retreat, two of Sayadaw U Tejaniya’s senior students will offer teachings that feel more like a conversation between advanced yogis. InsightLA welcomes Alexis Santos and his 20+ years of experience and first time teaching at Big Bear Retreat Center.

LC and Alexis will share their experiences on their meditation journey with Sayadaw in Burma and the way it has translated into their real life practice while exchanging ideas with yogis of the yogis’ own journeys and efforts at real life applications in the hopes of enabling an applicable and relatable Dhamma practice that each can tailor to their individual needs and life situations

Taking this fresh approach to retreat practice, we aspire to increase our access to practical wisdom, to experience real and lasting change in the place where it truly matters: our everyday life.

June 26 - July 1, 2023

Southern California Teen Retreat

Led by Inward Bound Mindfulness Education

IBME Inward Bound Mindfulness Education youth teens

Starts: Monday, June 26, 2023

Ends: Saturday, July 1, 2023

Be loved + accepted for who you are

Mindfulness retreats provide young people with the rare opportunity to experience uninterrupted and genuine insight into their own life experience while connecting with their peers and mindfulness teachers in a welcoming and safe community. Come for the fun & friends. Stay for the calm & community.

Our world-class teachers share their diverse lived experiences and mindfulness practices with every teen on retreat. They honor humanity in its many forms, allowing each attendee to be authentic and show up exactly as they are.

JULY

July 2 - 9, 2023

Opening the Heart
7 days of Jewish Mindfulness Practice by Or HaLev

Led by Rabbi Dr. James Jacobson-Maisels and Rabbi Genevieve Greinetz

or halev jewish mindfulness

Starts: Sunday, July 2, 2023

Ends: Sunday, July 9, 2023

Opening the heart, and living with an open heart, is no easy task.

How do we open our hearts in the midst of life, especially in times of immense uncertainty? How do we live with bravery, ease and joy even in the midst of challenge?

This in-depth retreat by Or HaLev offers us a sacred opportunity for transformation. We will be equipped with concrete tools to reconnect with our Divine nature and embrace an open heart filled with love and courage. Using the gifts of silence, mindfulness and a variety of Jewish meditation approaches, we will pause to reflect, rebalance and access the treasures of our inner wisdom that are yearning to be discovered.

We will learn to trust and uncover the deep resources of openness, balance, lightness, clarity, softness, freedom and joy that await us within.

Come open your heart with us.

This Retreat offers you:

  • Daily meditation instruction that guides both beginners & advanced practitioners into the sacred space of the retreat

  • Daily teachings

  • Daily times for Q&A

  • Group Meetings with the Teachers

  • Daily periods of prayer, chant & yoga

  • A deep celebration of Shabbat

Through deepening our practice together, this retreat will be a supportive container to reclaim the heart-full clarity and peace that is waiting to be uncovered within, and then bring that centered, loving presence back into our daily lives.

July 31 - August 5, 2023

BIPOC Teen Retreat

Led by Inward Bound Mindfulness Education

IBME Inward Bound Mindfulness Education youth teens

Starts: Monday, July 31, 2023

Ends: Saturday, August 5, 2023

Be loved + accepted for who you are

Mindfulness retreats provide young people with the rare opportunity to experience uninterrupted and genuine insight into their own life experience while connecting with their peers and mindfulness teachers in a welcoming and safe community. Come for the fun & friends. Stay for the calm & community.

Our world-class teachers share their diverse lived experiences and mindfulness practices with every teen on retreat. They honor humanity in its many forms, allowing each attendee to be authentic and show up exactly as they are.

AUGUST

August 21 - 27, 2023

When Awareness Becomes Natural
a 6-night, 7-day silent insight meditation retreat

Led by LC Tran and Kim Allen

insightla

Starts: Monday, August 21, 2023

Ends: Sunday, August 27, 2023

Vipassana retreats are set up so that people can have few duties but to be aware of their experience moment to moment.  When removing distractions we become more familiar with the working of our minds and of the particular negative habits that create needless stress for us (worry, annoyance, dissatisfaction, unhappiness, jealousy, the inner critic, etc.)  When shining the light of awareness on these habits, they naturally recede and weaken and in their place the positive habits of mind grow (love, kindness, compassion, gratitude, happiness, self-respect and appreciation).

On this 6-night retreat you will be guided in mindfulness of the mind and body and encouraged to practice being aware of all you do throughout the day.

“The whole path of mindfulness is this: whatever you are doing, be aware of it.”
-Dipa Ma

SEPTEMBER

September 9 - 14, 2023

Love and Rest
a 5-night, 6-day silent insight meditation retreat

Led by Beth Sternlieb and Matthew Brensliver

insightla

Starts: Saturday, September 9, 2023

Ends: Thursday, September 14, 2023

We often long for love, both giving and receiving, but the busyness of life and the agitation of our minds do not create the conditions for love to arise. In dharma practice, we find love naturally arises when we rest deeply. When we let go of the dissatisfaction of endless grasping, we experience loving awareness itself. As we do this, we discover what’s been waiting there all along, a softening of the heart, a truly satisfying love.

The daily rhythm of a retreat usually involves alternating periods of stationary and movement meditation, nature walks, meals and tea, as well as practice meetings, dharma talks and rest periods. The first session usually begins before breakfast. Each morning the teachers offer continuing meditation instructions for the day. The whole retreat is a succession of mindfulness training, breathing practices, deep awareness of the body and environment, meditations on the nature of feelings, and awareness of mind are from the Buddhist Insight Meditation tradition.

NOVEMBER

November 4 - 11, 2023

Settling, Seeing, and Spacious Awareness
a 7-night, 8-day silent insight meditation retreat

Led by Donald Rothberg, Devon Hase, and Tere Abdala

insightla

Starts: Saturday, November 4, 2023

Ends: Saturday, November 11, 2023

We will train in three inter-related modes of practice. First, we will settle and stabilize our minds and bodies, becoming more concentrated, through both sitting and moving forms of meditation, including regular Qigong. As we settle, we then become better able to examine closely both our experiences of our bodies, thoughts, and emotions, and the general patterns of experience, both more personal and more universal. We see more clearly when we are reactive, when we suffer, when there is a thick sense of self, and we learn to be more with the impermanent flow of experience. We can also tune in more, as we settle and see, to an increasingly unconfined and luminous awareness beyond reactivity, that is a source of freedom, wisdom, and compassion, both in retreat practice and daily life.

Prerequisite: Completion of a class or retreat in mindfulness practice and a regular mindfulness practice.

November 28 - December 4, 2023

Resting in Metta
a 6-night, 7-day silent insight meditation retreat

Led by Celeste Young and Dawn Scott

insightla

Starts: Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Ends: Monday, December 4, 2023

Join us for an in person retreat in the beautiful San Bernardino mountains and deepen your practice within this secluded setting in nature. For this particular retreat, we will be developing the Brahma Viharas, the four qualities of an awakened heart: Lovingkindness (Metta), Compassion (Karuna), Appreciative Joy (Mudita) and Equanimity (Upekkha).

We will tend to the heart and mind with compassionate mindfulness and strengthen our connection with ourselves and each other, with time for enjoying nature, deep rest, and practice in this beautiful setting. During this five day retreat, we will learn to slow down and attune to the fresh simplicity of our present moment experience, rest in stillness, and connect with the heart’s inner capacity for healing and freedom.

Together we will explore some of the supports for presence: letting go of distraction, the deliberate cultivation of simplicity and contentment, and a renewed sense of connection with our own bodies, hearts, and minds in community. 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 Metta meditation retreat includes guided meditation on each Brahma Vihara with Q&A each day, time for silent sitting and walking meditation periods, rest, mindful eating instruction, Dharma talks, and small group practice discussion meetings with the teachers.

January 12-16, 2023

Groundwork Masterclass: End the overwhelm and reclaim your focus

Led by Amrita Ahuja

groundwork-logo

Starts: Thursday, January 12, 2023

Ends: Monday, January 16, 2023

*registration closes Sunday, January 8th at 11:59pm Pacific*

The Groundwork Masterclass gets you out of survival mode and renews your focus. Break away from living in a constant state of overwhelm so that you can bring your attention to the experience and wonder of being alive again.

OUTCOMES

  1. End the overwhelm in your life and reclaim your focus
  2. Learn to get things done in a way that is connected and conscious
  3. Step into 2023 energized and clear, and keep it that way

RATES: $800 per person all inclusive for 4 nights (includes lodging, meals, and the workshop)

Take advantage of this special introductory rate as we bring Groundwork to Big Bear for the first time! Come enjoy the stillness, simplicity and charm of winter in the mountains.

For more information about Groundwork or to meet 1-1 with Amrita to find out more, please visit groundwork.xyz

April 9 - 15, 2022

Spring Insight Meditation Retreat

Led by Celeste Young and Dawn Scott

insightla

REGISTRATION OPENS SOON

Starts: Saturday, April 9, 2022

Ends: Friday, April 15, 2022

As we focus on practices that quiet the mind and open the heart, we support a continuity of mindfulness and a deepening of our meditation practice, which provides us with a true refuge amidst uncertainty.

The structure of an Insight meditation retreat includes time for sitting meditation, walking meditation, rest, mindful eating, and Dharma talks along with some instruction and guidance, and short individual practice discussion meetings to support you within the container of a silent retreat. This helps us to deepen our connection to our direct moment to moment experience, cultivate continuity of mindfulness, and awaken the heart and mind for greater ease, balance, and clarity in daily life.

We will tend to the heart and mind with compassionate mindfulness and strengthen our connection with ourselves and each other, with time for enjoying nature, deep rest, and practice.

2022

DECEMBER

December 28, 2022 - January 2, 2023

Awakening in the New Year
a 6-day silent insight meditation retreat

Led by Lisa Ernst and Thomas Davis

insightla

Starts: Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Ends: Monday, January 2, 2023

Practicing together at the turn of the New Year will provide an ideal time for reflection and taking refuge in dharma and community. By taking time to pause and look into our hearts, we can better care for ourselves and those around us with loving attention and wise action. Through deep inquiry we can also clarify our direction for the New Year and live from the truest part of ourselves. With the support of a flexible practice schedule, guidance from the teachers and a warm community of participants, let’s awaken to the New Year together.

The daily rhythm of a retreat usually involves alternating periods of stationary and movement meditation, nature walks, meals and tea, as well as practice meetings, dharma talks and rest periods. The first session usually begins before breakfast. Each morning the teachers offer continuing meditation instructions for the day. The whole retreat is a succession of mindfulness training, breathing practices, deep awareness of the body and environment, meditations on the nature of feelings, and awareness of mind are from the Buddhist Insight Meditation tradition.

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