Why Do a Retreat?

To take the step of going on solo retreat, for a month or a week or even a few days, is not something done lightly. It’s a chance to engage, without the many distractions of modern life, with deepening your meditation practice or beginning a new one. A place to take care of basics, like making a fire, cooking a meal, removing a splinter. A time to confront being truly alone, to discover the difference between loneliness and solitude. Most importantly, a retreat is a chance to find space and spaciousness in the immensity of nature, to observe how all things interrelate, and therefore to understand that your motivation is not merely for your own well-being, but an aspiration for the well-being of others: a genuine compassion for all. A solo retreat is a challenge with a reward you might not expect.

Among the many Tibetan Buddhist traditions, the Kagyu lineage is known as the ‘practice’ lineage, emphasizing understanding and realization through meditation and mantra practice rather than scholarship or philosophy. One of the great forefathers in the Kagyu heritage of the Karmapas was the famous yogi and poet Milarepa, who spent most of his life in solitary retreat in the Himalayan mountains and achieved enlightenment in a single lifetime. Yet his aim was not for himself but always to benefit all sentient beings. His example has been followed by countless men and women in the nine hundred years since then.

Our retreat cabins are basic but comfortable, with running water, wood, propane and passive solar heat, solar-powered electricity and compost toilets. Each cabin is nestled among piñon and juniper forests, at an altitude of over 8500 feet under the peaks of the Sangre de Christo mountains, with spectacular views of the vast San Luis Valley by day, and at night a multitude of stars in the clear skies above.


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