A Silent Retreat Center Near San Francisco
In our noisy, busy world, many people are hungry for simple peace and quiet, and Silent Stay Retreat Center is the perfect solution. Sitting on a mountain top with views in all directions, the retreat center is found on the Solano back roads to Lake Berryessa and the Napa Valley, only 1.5 hours from San Francisco. Surrounded by hundreds of acres of open space, the center offers daily meditation and meditative movement in a beautiful, calming environment.
SF Yoga: How did this retreat center come about? What is the passion behind it?
Silent Stay: In 1975, I was in graduate school and saw my psychology teachers were really not happy people. For my dissertation I wrote what has been called the first book on the inner child, The Magical Child Within You. Ever since, my partner Ruth and I have been committed to a path of joy. We have lived and offered retreats in many parts of Europe, India, and Bali. Recently, for twelve years, we lived in Assisi, Italy, where we directed the Assisi Retreat Center. It was named one of the top ten meditation retreats in the world by both CNN and Travel & Leisure Magazine. People from all over the world attended; in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi, they found simple joy in silence, nature, and most of all in their own hearts. We modeled Silent Stay after our Assisi Retreat Hermitage. We brought the flavor of the European Retreat home to California.
SFY: What are the benefits of staying silent?
SS: Outer silence supports us to find our own inner quiet. When we take time to be in the silence of our heart, our thoughts lessen. There is a presence inside of gentleness, peace and acceptance. Contemplatives of all traditions know this inner sanctuary. Taking the time for quiet of the heart is often a life-changing experience. Silence washes our mental worlds and meditation gives us an inner source of being-ness and joy. Click here to learn more about the effects of silence.
SFY: What does an average day at the retreat look like?
SS: At the beginning and ending of each day, we sit together for meditation. People who are new to meditation are given personal instruction. In the morning, meditative movement is offered. The afternoons are free time for people to rest, to be, to enjoy the pool, and simply to enjoy having time for themselves! Many guests take a much-needed nap. Guests prepare their own meals in a deluxe kitchen, having time and space to nurture themselves in lots of ways.
SFY: Who should attend this retreat?
SS: Silence calls all of us at some time or another. We all feel the need at one time or another to drop our daily program and visit silence, the special peace found in quiet. Meditation, nature, and the opportunity to let go, let be, and let our hearts have some well-deserved attention is for everyone. Silent Stay offers massage and private counseling for those who wish.
SFY: If someone is new to meditation - can they still attend?
SS: Yes, many of our guests are beginners. They look forward to having time in reflection and little program. It is an opportunity to learn effortless being. The meditation practice takes us to the quiet heart, which is a great gift when we just take the time to receive it.
SFY: How is your retreat center different from other retreats?
SS: Our focus is on supporting people to nurture themselves. Daily life already has enough stress. A retreat does not have to be more stressful to give us benefits. Silence is a gift. Retreat is an opportunity to slow down to the heart of life. In the quiet of our heart, our mental busy-ness literally goes away. We teach meditation mapping where many realms of the heart inside our heart are discovered.
We have guests for as little as two nights and some stay for as long as a month. Normally it takes a few days to let go of our daily patterns and be in retreat. This is where the many gifts of the retreat begin. In addition to year-round personal retreats, we offer silent yoga retreats with guest teacher Nicole Becker, owner of Ojas Yoga Center in El Cerrito. For many years, we have taken groups to Bali to experience their sacred spirituality. Did you know in Bali, the entire island goes completely silent one day each year? Silence offers us a whole inner and outer world to explore and be in.
For more information about Silent Stay, personal meditation retreats, silent yoga retreats, and an adventure in Bali with Silent Stay visit: www.SilentStay.com.