How Does a Virtual Retreat Work?

Simply stated, like a residential retreat, there are several ‘virtual rooms’ using the Zoom program: one for the meditation hall, and one for each of the teachers. Retreatants are provided with a link and/or a telephone number to ‘enter’ each room at scheduled times, i.e. to meditate in the meditation hall or attend a teacher’s technique instruction session.

PLEASE NOTE: An email with a link to a ‘Retreat Dashboard’ giving connection links/telephone numbers will be sent a few days before the retreat so they can be easily accessed; therefore, please DO NOT email to ask for them unless you haven’t received that email by the day before. The ‘Retreat Dashboard’ will also include signup sheets for leading sits, helping to record, Interview Signups and signup sheets for Facilitators/Coaches/Mentors. Please access the ‘Retreat Dashboard’ to sign up for these needed tasks prior to the retreat start.

The Process:

  1. Typically most participants will use their desktop computer, laptop or a tablet, like an Ipad. This allows you to have sound and video (to be able to hear and talk, and actually see each other - just like a residential retreat). Using a computer, you join a ‘room’ by clicking on the link provided for each room. If you don’t have a computer, laptop or tablet, you can also ‘join a room’ by telephone. Depending on your phone, you may not have a video option, just sound - to listen and also speak if you’re attending one of the Teacher sessions. Telephone numbers for your country will be provided.

Advance Preparation

- If using a Computer/Laptop/Tablet

  1. Please check your computer equipment to ensure you have a microphone and camera that works. Not having either isn’t critical, just your experience will be very limited. You would see everyone participating, but they won’t be able to see you (only your name will appear in a black box on the screen) nor would you be able to ask questions in a technique instruction session.

  2. When you receive the links, click on one which will take you to the Zoom program.

  3. A Pre-Retreat Zoom Meeting (the day before the retreat begins) will be scheduled so you can ensure your camera and microphone are working. If you have never used Zoom before, we highly recommend you join this meeting. If you have audio or video issues, the Technical person will be there to help you set up properly. This check shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes.

- if using a Telephone

  1. If you’re unable to join the retreat with a computer, there is still the opportunity to do so via a telephone. An email sent a few days before the retreat begins will also give a few telephone numbers available for your country. Please call a number to check your ‘connectivity’. The Zoom program will ask you to enter the Meeting I.D. which you’ll get in the email. Once you’ve input that Meeting I.D., you should be now be in the ‘room’. If you are using a cell phone (especially a smart phone), you will have audio/video capacity. If you are using a landline, likely only your name will appear on screen, but you will have audio.

Your Environment

There can be some challenges doing a virtual retreat - from your home, a friend’s home, etc. - especially if you have a family or live with others. But advance preparation can go a long way to having an optimal experience. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Let your roommates or family know you want to or are going to participant in a virtual retreat.

  2. Tell them it is intended to be a silent retreat and ask if they could help by trying to provide that environment for you. Children/family might play/work in a room away from the space you use to join the retreat, but if this isn’t possible you may have to ‘mute’ when needed to not share the background sounds with other retreatants. This is especially true for single parents. Also keep in mind that very active video could be a distraction to other retreatants (especially in the zendo) and turn off your video if it your visual output becomes too busy.

    Roommates and other adults could work or function in another room, but if it’s still close to where you’ll be, especially when being on the phone/watching TV/listening to music, etc. using headphones or speaking as quietly as possible will help.

  3. Pets will still need to be cared for, i.e. fed, petted, cuddled so they are exempt from being in your space if you wish, putting yourself on ‘mute’ or turning the video off when necessary.

  4. Try to complete any business or personal transactions before the retreat, just as you would for a residential one. It’s more of a challenge when joining from home, but you want to give yourself an optimal experience, especially if you want to work deep and as uninterrupted as possible.

  5. This may mean doing advance meal planning, i.e. what food will you need each day and shop in advance. Try to make meal times a meditation. Techniques can be applied to food prep, cooking, eating, clean up and eventual return to the zendo or an optional nap. Premade meals such as frozen casseroles, salads, etc. will also help with lessening the time needed. The time given for meals/rest will go much quicker unless you have someone preparing meals for you (as in a residential retreat) so planning ahead will be very helpful.

  6. Turn off anything that may be a distraction, such as ringing telephones, watch alarms, etc. (See Noble Silence). We recognize that if you are sharing your living space with others, this again may be difficult but some advance planning will help. Please ensure the phone you signed up to do any Online sessions is unmuted at the specific day and time for the Teacher to reach you.

  7. Try not to read non-meditation books or listen to non-meditation recordings. These are distractions that take you away from the work of meditation. The same is applied to watching TV (i.e. catching up on your shows) during this intended retreat time.

  8. As a bonus when doing a virtual retreat (as opposed to a residential one), since this is your own personal space, you can make it as sacred as you wish, i.e. burning candles, incense, putting special objects or pictures near you or if you already have a spot where you meditate, using it for the retreat will make it feel more sacred going forward, like the sangha is with you. Please be attentive to burning candles/incense as sometimes we can become ‘spaced out’ when meditating long and deep. Also please be respective of other retreatants to keep the visual field in the zoom room to a minimum otherwise turn off your video if needed.


For more wonderful suggestions as presented by Stephen Villaescusa and Kara Braun, please go HERE

All times are in Pacific daylight savings time which is currently the same as Arizona.

Friday evening
6:30 - 8:00 - Guided Meditation and  Dharma Talk

Sat Schedule

10:00-10:30 am  Introductions, Refuges, and precepts
10:30-11:00 Guided meditation
11:00 -11:30 walking/movement
11:30-noon still meditation
noon-12:15   stretch
12:15-12:45 group sharing and inquiry
12:45 - 2:45 - Lunch
2:45-3:15 guided metta meditation
3:15-3:45   walking/movement
3:45-4:45   dharma talk
4:45 - 5:00 guided forgiveness meditation and sharing the merit


All prices include 3 vegetarian meals per day.

Casita Manzanita

A cozy comfortable eco-friendly straw bale 2 private bedrooms – (1 Queen, 1 Single) fully-equipped kitchen, sitting area, shared bath with cast iron bathtub/shower, sliding door to outside patio, wood burning stove and front porch.

 Sleeps 2. Cost per person is $595.  - 2 spots left

Dharmatory Yurt

Our 30 ft. Mongolian style yurt with pine flooring offers a more rustic lodging option and includes 4 fully partitioned single-bed rooms, a main sitting area, electric hot water kettle, and running hot/cold water sink. Two composting toilets are located nearby.
(Sleeps 4) - Cost per person is $440 - 1 spot left.

Airstream Camp Trailer

Private, well maintained classic vintage trailer.  Wide single bed, extra sitting room, electric, no kitchen or bath.
Sleeps 1Cost per person is $545 - 1 spot left

AlpenLite Camp Trailer

Large comfy fully furnished trailer - 1 double bed in separate room, 1 single bed (in main salon area shared with full kitchen), convenient desk/chair, and shared full bathroom.
(Sleeps 2 persons) - Cost per person is $580 - 2 spots left

Moon Palace (glamping)

We offer 3 private large size sturdy hexagon tents (Shift Pods) made with reflective material and synthetic down thermal insulation - ours are designated for single occupancy, or 2 cozy friends.  Each moon palace has one single bed with frame, (can include extra one futon or pad); with electricity option if needed.

Sleeps 1 - Cost per person is $395 - these spots are all filled.


There are 4 nice camping sites for tents or a camp trailer. 

Cost per person is $350 - the camping spots are all filled. If we end up with enough room in the meditation hall we may open additional camping spots. Please contact the registrar for details.


The Way of Contentment

This has been an extended and beautiful spring season. As I sit here this morning I am aware that the morning temperature was cool at 63 degrees, the air was refreshing, sweet, a gentle breeze stirred the tree leaves which were animated and dancing, the sky was a true sky blue, bright and clear. At times like this my heart swells and I feel so grateful to be living this life. I hope you are also filled with this deep contentment.

Experiencing a deep sense of satisfaction is something that many of us rarely experience and when we do it often is such a surprise because we are reaching ahead, looking for the next best thing to achieve or make happen. We have missed the moment rather than meeting the moment and this phenomenon of distractibility and striving to have a better moment leaves us with a sense of boredom, ennui, and disappointment. This longing for life to be more than it is, is a pernicious snake wrapped around our bodies suffocating us, stifling our breathing, emptying our life force and spirit.

In mindfulness practice we are encouraged to embrace the present and pay attention on purpose to this one and only life. We can perceive as an artist sees the intricate patterns of a butterfly’s wing, touching the smoothness of a river rock while experiencing its texture, hearing the subtle whirling of the hummingbird hovering over an orange hue flowering shrub or the winds of late, flapping the tree branches.

It is beneficial to be aware of both why and how we strive for more, what takes us away, and what brings us back to a sense of fulfillment. Knowing the causes and conditions are essential to this practice. This recognizing brings us to a place of inner insight and allows us the opportunity to work with the situation, however it is. We can choose. I would like to share this prose piece with you from David Whyte that speaks to this so simply: “Enough”

These few words are enough, if not these words, this breath...
If not this breath, this sitting
this opening to the life we have refused
again and again until now. Until now.

In this moment of epiphany
this opening to the life we have refused
again and again
until NOW.

One of the gifts of our practice is a teaching by the Buddha; a well-trodden path to walk that can lead us to this contentment. It is known as The Eightfold Path to Happiness, a road map providing all the steps to peace and freedom.

In Loving Kindness,


You may pay your final balance for the Arinna 2018 retreat by clicking the Buy Now button below.  After the PayPal screen appears  enter the balance due next to Item Price.  Then click the Update link which is below the item price.  The balance due  was on your email registration confirmation.  You may pay either by Paypal or with a credit card.  If you wish to pay by credit card, choose the "Don't have a Paypal account link on the PayPal screen, and you can enter your credit card information.