• The Heart of Wisdom and Kindness secular Silent Mindfulness Retreat

    6-night Silent CPD Retreat for Experienced Meditators, Mindfulness Teacher Trainees and Established Teachers

    Thursday 26th September at 4 pm to Tuesday 1st October at 7.30 pm

    Venue: Hotel Tossal d’ Altea in Altea, Costa Blanca, Spain

    With Kathy Ward.

    This teacher-led silent secular mindfulness retreat is ideal for experienced meditators, mindfulness teacher trainees and established teachers. The intention of the retreat is to offer a nurturing environment, where we can practice curiosity and kindness as we explore our actual present moment experience, and how we react or respond, without the distractions of home, work, and commitments.

    This silent retreat is specifically designed to meet the retreat needs of those on a Mindfulness Teacher Training Pathway and it meets the Good Practice Guidelines for Mindfulness Teachers. Established teachers who have taken preliminary teacher training and have taught several mindfulness-based courses and more experienced teachers wishing to deepen their connection to the core underpinnings of mindfulness as it is taught in the eight-week course are also very welcome to attend. 

    The silent retreat is also suitable for those who have taken an 8-week mindfulness course and who wish to deepen their practice (a minimum of one year's meditation experience following the 8- week course is required) No previous retreat experience is required as full teacher support is available.

    Our time together in this small group (maximum 12) provides an opportunity to engage in both individual and co-journey exploration of our direct experience and supports the cultivation of a growing embodiment of mindfulness as a way of 'being' founded on the quality of curiosity and kindness.

    When we are devoted to the development of kindness,

    it becomes a movement of the heart so deep and subtle it is like a movement of the sea close to the ocean floor,

    all but hidden yet affecting absolutely everything that happens above.

    That's the force of kindness.

    Sharon Salzberg.

    The Force of Kindness

    Here is what Alex had to say about the February 2019 silent retreat:

    Kathy and Julia have completely succeeded in creating an environment which both clarifies learning and developmental techniques for teachers and at the same time allowing space for self-reflection and personal growth. The 6-day February silent retreat was a perfect balance between living in the 'normal everyday environment' and choosing to be in silence from an observers perspective.

    This combination, I have noticed on my return, has helped not only in my personal skills as a teacher but has also allowed me to choose when and how to give myself my own 'replenishing' time, and detach myself, even when immersed in chaos... 

    So, all in all, it was a very useful and enjoyable retreat!! Thank you, Kathy and Julia, and of course those who attended.

  • What’s involved?

    We will deepen our personal and experiential engagement with the mindfulness core meditation practices taught on an 8-week mindfulness-based course and with the theoretical understandings that underpin them.

    In particular, the retreat practices and short talks are structured around the roots of Buddhist psychology from a secular perspective. We will explore together the Four ways of establishing mindfulness (body, feelings, mind and the objects of the mind) and the four heart qualities (love, compassion, joy, and equanimity) known as the “Four friends for life” in secular Mindfulness and the “Brahmaviharas” in Buddhist psychology. We will also explore the Four Ennobling Truths also known as the "Four Realities"

    These teachings will be offered as a framework to support our direct exploration of experience in both formal and informal mindfulness practice. This will enable us to cultivate and deepen our understanding of these key elements of mindfulness so that they become an integral part of our personal practice and the fabric of our teaching MBSR, MBI or MBCT classes, workshops, and individual sessions.


  • The Silent Retreat will include:

    • Periods of both guided core practices and self-directed practice
    • Short talks
    • Optional small group inquiry and individual meetings with the teachers
    • Time to practice mindfulness informally between meditation sessions and short morning mindfulness of routine activities where individuals can contribute to the tidying and cleaning of shared meditation spaces and their own rooms.

    The retreat will be held within an overall container of silence, enabling space to connect with the experience and a chance to be in a community with like-minded people. There will also be opportunities for sharing and connecting and the teachers will also be available to talk to people individually should the need arise.

    The expected learning outcomes include:

    • Deepening knowledge of the Four Foundations of mindfulness (body, feelings, mind, objects of the mind) 
    • Deepening knowledge of the Four Realities (Four Enobling Truths): suffering (understanding) craving (letting go) liberation (realizing) and cultivating the path.
    • Deepening knowledge of the Four friends for life (Brahmaviharas): love, compassion, joy, equanimity 
    • Deepening confidence and clarity in experientially engaging with the four foundations of developing mindfulness.
    • Deepening of experiential familiarity with the four friends for life and how they can be supported by the core attitudinal qualities of mindfulness.
    • Development of understanding of how the Four foundations of mindfulness and Four friends for life relate to both distress and wellbeing; and how together with the Four Realities they underpin the curriculum and practices of MBSR, MBI, and MBCT
    • Deepening of experiential awareness of personal and conditioned patterns, practicing responding with curiosity and kindness
    • Experience of the value of being part of a supportive community
  • Who is the Silent Retreat for?

    The retreat is suitable for the following people:

    • Those who have taken an eight-week mindfulness course who wish to deepen their practice. A minimum of one year's meditation experience following the course is required
    • Those who are training to teach mindfulness-based courses. 
    • Established mindfulness-based teachers

    This retreat will enable mindfulness teachers who wish to be included on the UK Network Listing of Mindfulness Teachers to fulfil the requirement to attend an annual mindfulness retreat as part of the Good Practice Guidelines (GPG).

  • Silent Retreat timings:

    Please arrive by 4 pm for orientation and 'taking tea' This is then followed by the opening ceremony and welcome dinner. The retreat finishes at 7.30pm on the last day followed by a special closing dinner. For those staying at the Hotel Tossa d'Altea, check out is after breakfast the following day.

    Sample daily silent retreat schedule:

    • 07.30 - 08.30 Practice - seated and mindful movement choices practice (own silent group practice)
    • 08.30 - 09.30 Breakfast
    • 09.30 - 09.45 Mindfulness of routine activities
    • 09.45 - 13.00 Practice - Short talk on the Four Realities or the Foundations of Mindfulness and spacious MBSR guiding
    • 13.00 - 15.30 Lunch and free time
    • 15.30 - 17.00 Practice - Spacious MBSR guiding and silent meditation practice
    • 17.00 - 17.30 Taking Tea
    • 17.30 - 18.30 Optional Group/Individual meetings
    • 18.45 - 19.00 Short talk - "The Four Friends for life"
    • 19.00 - 19.30 Practice - Silent Meditation 
    • 19.30 - 20.00 Optional individual meetings

    Continued overnight silence.

  • Weather permitting, on one of the days, there will be an invitation to join us for a mindful walk through the Sierra Helada National Park with its stunning sea and coastal views.

  • What to bring/wear:

    The Meditation room

    Mats, bolsters, cushions, blankets, chairs, and blocks will be provided. Please feel free to also bring along any of your personal items/equipment that will further support your comfort and practice.

    Please bring comfortable clothing for sitting, walking and mindful movement. For light sleepers sharing a room, we suggest you bring earplugs and an eye mask. Bath towels are provided, however, please bring a towel for swimming in the sea.

    The average daytime temperature in September is 27 degrees C, night temperatures drop to 18 degrees. The sea will be around 24 degrees so it is a wonderful time of year to visit.

  • The Silent Retreat Location:

    This retreat is held at the 4-star Hotel Tossa d' Altea a 300 year old olive mill in the picture postcard Mediterranean town of Altea. The same family has owned the mill for generations and has lovingly restored this ancient building into a comfortable 4-star hotel with just 22 rooms, keeping many of its original features. Familiar and experience  with hosting meditation and yoga events, Manuel and his small team look forward to supporting our practice and silence.

    The hotel is located just 500 meters from the charming 'Casco Antiguo' (old town) with its traditional white-washed houses and cobbled streets. The hotel has views of the mountains and sea and is located at the point where the Spanish countryside meets the town, providing us with the perfect spot for meditation whilst being a short ten-minute walk away from the old town and 25-minute walk to the beach - both locations providing ideal settings for mindful walking and practicing 'just being'

  • Late Summer Residential prices:

    A double room

    Two Residential options:

    • 6 nights SHARED accommodation (2 to a room) with ensuite bathroom (subject to availability):
      • With buffet breakfast €492
      • With buffet breakfast and 3-course evening meal €582
    • 6 nights SINGLE accommodation with ensuite bathroom:
      • With buffet breakfast €597
      • With buffet breakfast and 3-course evening meal  €687
    • Full board options and extra nights are also available. The hotel also has a good lunch menu of the day and light meals.

    What’s included in the price:

    • 6 nights accommodation at the 4-star Hotel Tossal d’ Altea in either a twin or single on-suite room as booked.
      • Half Board is an extensive buffet breakfast and 3-course evening meal with water.
      • The hotel can cater for vegetarians, gluten free etc, please advise at the time of booking. 
    • 5 Days retreat schedule including optional private meetings with the teachers
    • 1st evening orientation and opening the circle meditation practices
    • Welcome dinner on Thursday 26th September and closing dinner on Tuesday 1st October
    • Morning and Afternoon ‘taking tea’
  • Late Summer Non-residential price:

    For those choosing to find their own accommodation, this retreat is an opportunity to deepen and refresh personal mindfulness practice whilst offering the possibility of finding accommodation to suit your requirements and budget. Altea has everything from Hostels and AirBnB to other Hotels. The nearby Hostel Fornet would be worth checking. 

    Non-residential retreats are an established way of deepening and broadening one’s mindfulness practice. They invite you to maintain a retreat way of 'being' in your chosen accommodation between the days of the retreat itself so as to cultivate a continuous practice over the 5 days. Please note, the non-residential silent retreat may not be accepted by the UK Mindfulness-Network as part of any annual membership requirements. 

    Standard price: €315

    Subsidized price: €265

    Price options:  

    Subsidized Rate - Only 2 spaces per course are available, please request a subsidized space at the time of application. This is a self-select funded rate whereby your place will be financially supported.  Please only select this rate if you are in receipt of benefits or would find it otherwise inaccessible to attend due to the fee. We will not ask for evidence of benefits or income at this stage but may ask for evidence to support your claim in the future.   

    Standard Rate - This is the market rate for this type of event and the rate we ask you to select if you are able.

    What’s included in the non-residential price 

    • 5 Days retreat schedule including optional private meetings with the teachers
    • 1st evening retreat schedule
    • 5 days buffet breakfast
    • Welcome dinner on arrival day and closing dinner on the last day
    • Morning and Afternoon ‘taking tea’ 
  • How to apply:

  • The Application Process:

    The Retreat group will be small so early booking is essential. 

    Our application and payment process involves the following steps:

    1. Complete and return the application form, which is then assessed to ensure that this retreat is suitable for you. We normally reply within 24 hours (Monday - Friday).  

    2. To secure your space, we will then invoice you for the nonrefundable deposit of 200 euros. Your space is fully confirmed once we receive this payment.

    3.  The balance is due one month before the retreat.

    4. For those staying at the retreat venue the Hotel Tossal d'Altea, accommodation payment is on departure allowing you to spread the cost of the retreat.

    5. We will email you the joining instructions in advance of the retreat.

    Payment and Cancellation Policy:

    Please read our Terms and Conditions for information regarding payments and cancellations

    For more information:

    Please email us at [email protected]