Calming the Mind, Opening to Insight

Suggestions And Guidelines To Support Your Online Retreat


Setting up your Retreat Space

  1. Just do the best you can within the constraints of your living situation.
  2. Distractions at home are inevitable. Incorporate them into your retreat.
  3. If at all possible, set up a dedicated space for the retreat where you have internet access.
  4. Find a place for walking meditation. This might include walking around the block or in a hallway or larger room. It is preferable not to have to navigate street crossings or traffic.
  5. Print this document and the retreat schedule prior to the retreat.

Electronic Media

    1. We will be using Zoom video platform. Instructions about how to use Zoom will be sent to you once you register.
    2. Just as if you at a retreat center away from home, set up auto-reply for email and phone as if you were out of town.


    1. Do whatever best supports you to simplify preparing meals.
    2. If possible, do all of your food shopping before the retreat begins.
    3. Keep the meals simple, perhaps pre-preparing some food that can be eaten throughout the week. Example: a large pot of soup for dinners.

Navigating housemates, spouses, partners, and children in the home who are not on retreat:

    1. You may wish to have a conversation about your retreat time. Here are some things you might want to cover:
      1. Acknowledge that it may feel awkward and strange at first, but a rhythm can develop that can work for everyone.
      2. Noble Silence: Talk about noble silence and see if you can get support in being in noble silence for the duration of the retreat.  If necessary, you might want to discuss a specific time of the day to connect verbally so that the communication is contained.  Just do the best you can in a relaxed way.  Don’t create conflict but just do the best you can.
  • If possible, ask for support in having a quieter overall living space. Ask people to use earbuds or headphones or at least keep the volume low in a separate room. If it is not possible to get support for this, consider how to incorporate this into your practice.  Don’t create conflict but just do the best you can.
  1. Post your retreat schedule.
  2. It may work better for you to switch a sit time with a meal time to limit interactions in the kitchen.
  3. Suggestions for if you have children
    • If they are old enough, talk with your kids about what you are doing and ask their input for how to create a supportive environment. Enlist them as allies.
  4. Navigating those you live with will be part of the retreat. Don’t worry if it gets challenging.  We will learn together how to turn toward such challenges with our practice.


Online Format & Etiquette

    1. We will be gathering for group sits, dharma talks, practice discussions, Q&A, and Qigong/mindful movement using Zoom Video-conferencing
    2. It is helpful for creating community to allow your video to be on during the meetings. It can also help navigate some of the disconnection that can come with using an online format.
    3. Please don’t multitask while online with our community. Engage as fully as you would if we were in person.
    4. Everyone will be muted except during Q&A and practice discussions.
    5. Please refrain from moving your laptop / tablet / phone around with the video camera on. This helps brings a quality of settledness to our online community.

Retreat Schedule

We will be going over how to relate to the schedule in the orientation on the first evening.

Media, phones, and other technology

    1. As with in-person retreats, from using electronic devices for anything other than connecting through the Zoom Video-conferencing.
    2. One of the transformative things that can come from home retreats is having time in your own living space in which you are not engaging in other technology and media. This alone is helpful in touching a different way of being in your life.
    3. Commitment to Practice
    4. Self-discipline – One of the challenges of home practice is getting swept away and forgetting about formal practice. This is a normal challenge to have.  It is helpful to reflect daily on and refer back often to your intention for the retreat.


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