Yes, free meditation retreats.

I’ve been dealing with clients recently who want to explore meditation in more depth, but either can’t or won’t pay a fortune for a meditation retreat.

So this got me researching retreats that are either free or good value for money.

I’m thrilled to report that there are loads.

Couple of house keeping points before I start though:

  1. Meditation – the best explanation I’ve heard on exactly what meditation is and how it makes us happy is from a wonderful Buddhist Nun called Gen La Kelsang Dekyong. Click here to listen.
  2. All of the retreats mentioned welcome anyone from any faith, religion or background.
  3. Most of the meditation retreats mentioned are based on a religion, but none of them are trying to convert you. There is no catch to the retreat being free or cheap; it’s purely given from the kindness of their hearts. So don’t worry about this.

Here they are:

Global Retreat Centre in Oxford

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Run by Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, this is a FREE centre. No loop holes.

Donations are gratefully received, but the centre is a charity and provides retreats, work shops, talks and walks on meditation, yoga and living a peaceful life.

I’m gobsmacked by the sheer quantity of what they offer. I’ve just checked out their website and they are currently advertising:

  • Introduction to Raja Yoga Meditation
  • One-Day Raja Yoga Meditation
  • Thursday Evening Talks
  • Meditation Insights
  • Overcoming Anger
  • Stress Free Living
  • Emotional Freedom
  • Self-Esteem
  • Positive Thinking
  • Reflective Walks

This is additional to the one day and weekend retreats.

Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey

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Throssel Hole is a monastery and retreat centre set on the moors in a remote setting in Northumberland. It’s a working monastery and offers retreats, festivals and other events for anyone who wishes to deepen their learning on the spiritual practice of meditation.

Everything they offer is effectively free, although they encourage donations which you give anonymously at the end of your stay.

There are too many events to list here. Pop over to their website and have a look.

Amaravati

Amaravati is a Buddhist monastery set in the Chiltern Hills in a village called Great Gaddesden. The purpose of the monastery is effectively to provide a place that is free from all mental suffering. It’s a working monastery with both monks and nuns who provide a retreat centre for 9 months of the year that is open to members of the public.

There is no cost for the retreats, but all donations are gratefully received.

Looking at their calendar there are two retreats per month for either 2 nights or 5 nights, all have a waiting list so obviously extremely popular.

Freely Given Retreats

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The name says it all! Freely Given Retreats operate out of three centres in the UK and provide meditation retreats for free. They ask that you sent a £90 cheque to confirm your booking (to stop people booking and not turning up) but the cheque will be given back to you at the end of your stay. They ask for you to give two donations at the end of your stay: one for the centre and one for your teacher. They guide you to give £150 for a weeks retreat, but only if you can afford. Basically donate what you can afford.

The three centres are all located in Devon.

The Society of Saint Francis

If you’re after a private spiritual retreat then try the Franciscan monastery at Glasshampton in Worcester.

It doesn’t offer structured meditation retreats, but they provide an environment of peace and quiet in a lovely location and if available, one of the Brothers is available for guidance.

It’s free, but donations are gratefully received.

Sharpham Trust in Devon

Sharpham House sits in 550 acres of estate and is a Charity whose prime purpose is to connect people with nature and themselves. Located directly on the River Dart, this stunning location is in Totnes in Devon.

They offer retreats, mindfulness courses, outdoor learning and arts. There are so many I can’t list them here.

They do charge but not much in my opinion. For example, the meditation retreat in the barn for example for 6 nights costs £268 which includes accommodation, food and all the tuition. They do offer one free place at each retreat for those people who are unable to afford the rate.

Gaia House Buddhist Meditation

free meditation centre

Gaia House is a Buddhist Meditation centre offering silent meditation retreats. Located in Devon in a former Convent, the setting is beautiful and the meditation retreats they offer are plentiful. Rates are approximately £43 per night which includes everything. Although they do offer discounted rates if this is not affordable.

Additional to meditation they also offer courses and they also provide financial assistance to those people who are not in a position to be able to pay full rates.

Taraloka Retreat Centre

Taraloka is a Buddhist retreat centre for Women located in Shropshire. They provide retreats based on mindfulness, sensitivity of others, ethics and vision.

They offer various retreats and charge £50 for weekend retreats, £75 for 4 to 7 nights and £90 for longer retreats. They also accept donations.

Aruna Ratangiri

This is a Buddhist Monastery set in the stunning Northumberland countryside. It offers one day or three day retreats including meditation classes but you are also expected to help out by participating in chores. You can also spend one on one time with the Monks if pre-booked.

Again, it’s free but they would like you to donate.

Madhyamaka Kadampa 

With various sites around the UK, this is a Buddhist centre that offers literally loads of different classes and retreats. Again too many to list here. Retreats for meditation start at £50 for the weekend including everything. I’m particularly keen on the “Learn to Meditate” weekend courses they offer.

As mentioned above, I’m a fan of the  Buddhist Nun called Gen La Kelsang Dekyong and she is affiliated to Madhyamaka so this is probably one of the first retreats I will try.

Western Chan Fellowship

This is a Chinese Buddhist charity that runs retreats literally all around the country. So many different types of retreats, including silent and solitude ones. They also hold meditation groups.

I’ve checked the prices and a five day retreat will cost you £270 but they also offer “supported places” which is at a discounted rate of £120.

 

I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for a while now and what with one thing and another (being busy) I wasn’t able to dedicate the time to research the locations properly. Notice I said BUSY?

The more I researched the courses they offer and the benefits of meditation, the more I realised how busy my mind has become and how much I need to give my mind a break!

So I’m about to hop off writing my blog post and book myself onto one of these course PDQ.

Maybe you need to do the same?

Gemma

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