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 Seeking the Heart of Wisdom


Winnie Nazarko

Date: Friday June 12-19, 2020
Location: The Guest House, Convent of the Sisters of St. John the Divine,
233 Cummer Avenue (in Willowdale, near Yonge St. north of the 401) Toronto, Ontario M2M 2E8, Canada.

This residential silent Vipassana meditation retreat starts: Friday (2 pm), June 12, & ends on: Friday (noon), June 19. Comfortable private rooms (shared washrooms, private showers) and all meals provided (vegetarian option). There is no "commuter option." Bring your own meditation cushions ± meditation mats (zabutons). Chairs are provided.

Retreat Description

     Our lives are filled with many experiences and challenges. Periods of joy, and times of difficulty alternate unceasingly. There is no way around this truth of change, of impermanence. While we can't "stop the river", we can learn to be present to the flow of things in a way which develops inner stability and joy. In doing this, the mind and heart educates itself experientially.This retreat will teach participants the meditative skills which are foundational to becoming a wise, free human.

     Instruction in the mindfulness practices of sitting and walking meditation will be offered. Additionally, metta meditation (loving-kindness) will be taught, with compassion woven into the texture of the retreat. This retreat will be held in silence, as a support to people quieting their minds and settling their attention in the present. The instructor will provide opportunity for questions, and for individual support.

     Vipassana meditation is the simple direct practice of moment-to-moment observation of the mind/body process with relaxed, open and careful attention. Awareness infused with clear seeing reveals that whatever arises in our experience, is simply the natural display of impersonal conditions. As we learn to observe our experience from a place of stillness and balance, supported by wise view, reality is accurately seen and liberating insight arises as a natural result. Loving-kindness or Metta meditation develops the heart’s capacity for patience, acceptance, and forgiveness as we connect with and care for ourselves and others.

     This retreat is conducted largely in silence, with all electronic and digital devices turned off. In the quiet, the heart-mind is able to more easily settle down, and learn. For many people, this 'Noble Silence' is one of the most potent and valuable parts of the process. Even as retreatants practice in silence, a feeling of community and mutual support emerges among those attending.

     Meditation instruction will be given each day by the retreat leader, and there will be opportunity to ask questions related to the practice. Small group practice meetings will also permit individualized attention as the retreat unfolds.

     More detailed information, including answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) are on the registration page, below DESCRIPTION (scroll down).

Information about the teacher:


     This retreat is suitable for new and renewing meditators, and includes meditation instruction, dharma talks, daily Lovingkindness (metta) meditation, individual and group meetings with the teachers, and the direct experience of Insight Meditation practice. This is a silent retreat that will foster a sense of solitude and help to provide a safe space and atmosphere that supports the deepening of meditation and the unfolding of insight.

This retreat is suitable for all MBSR/MBCT professionals


Retreat fee includes full room and board (vegetarian options), including supper on Friday, June 12th up to and including lunch on Friday, June 19th, 2020.

EARLY BIRD Rate: prior to March 15    $1,150.

Regular Rate: March 16 - May 10         $1,200.

Late Rate from May 11 - May 24          $1,250.

(Note: You must register by May 24, or we may not be able to guarantee a place for you.)

Cancellation Policy:
Please contact us as soon as possible if you need to cancel so people on the waiting list will have a chance to attend.

Cancellations up to May 11: $75. non-refundable, balance returned
Cancellations from May 12 to May 24: $75. non-refundable, 50% of balance returned.
Cancellations after May 24: no refund.

Important note re Donations (Dana) to Teachers: Following a 2500-year-old Buddhist tradition, teachers offer retreats free of charge. Instead, they are supported by voluntary donations from their students.

You will have the opportunity to make a completely voluntary donation at the end of the retreat for the support and well-being of the teachers.

(All funds paid at registration go to the expense of holding the retreat.)