Why retreat? What is the purpose of going on a meditation retreat? A few things that came to mind are: 1) It’s a time apart from diversions and a chance to try better. Meditating at home is good, but also more challenging because the things we care about surround us – plans for a trip, family concerns, maybe work. When we go somewhere to meditate like a temple, studio, friend’s house, or a park, those things are less apparent and thereby easier to drop from our attention. I say here try better because try harder and try more are not really helpful as we apply effortless effort. 2) A chance to share advice with each other in person. Each of us has specific expertise, unique perspectives, and our own ways of expressing things. It’s wonderful to support each other and particularly in person. 3) it’s fun. At the weekend retreat last year, I think everyone was refreshed and enthusiastic in sharing the experience, the cooking, and the time away. This camaraderie is a great inspiration for practice. Some other ideas you mentioned included 4) hearing other viewpoints and discussing them like we did at the Sambuddhaloka temple with the monks. I’m looking into 3 retreat type events over the next 3 months and will see if there’s interest in each.

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