Online retreat with James Baraz, Jane Baraz, Kerstin Deibert and Juha Penttilä 29.6.-4.7.2021

Awakening Joy

“It is that gladness connected with the wholesome that I call an equipment of mind…for developing a mind that is without hostility and without ill will.”
~The Buddha

The Buddha was known as “The Happy One.” However, the teachings often seem to emphasize working with suffering. Joy and happiness can seem frivolous or unspiritual even though joy is one of the Seven Factors of Awakening. In this retreat we will practice with an emphasis on cultivating wholesome states to develop our natural capacity for well-being and happiness. Our own development of well-being and joy then becomes our gift to a troubled world.

The retreat includes silent sitting and walking periods with instructions and practice meetings with teachers, as well as some experiential exercises during the six days. This retreat is appropriate for both experienced as well as new/beginning students.

Practices will include:

– Inclining the mind toward wholesome states;
– The power of wholesome intention;
– Mindfulness as appreciation practice (wonder and gratitude);
– Embracing suffering as a path to joy;
– How letting go leads to true freedom;
– Integrity as a foundation for well-being;
– Metta (loving-kindness) for self and others;
– Mudita (sympathetic joy);
– Compassion—the expression of a wise heart; and
– The joy of simply being.

The teachings and meditation techniques we practice are mostly based on the Theravada Buddhist tradition and are over 2,500 years old. Taking part in the retreat does not, however, require an adherence to Buddhism or any adaptation of personal faith.

The retreat is suitable for both beginners and experienced practitioners. Beginners have a chance to become familiar with basic meditation techniques and to see their effects clearly in practice, so a retreat is a good way to begin a meditation practice. For experienced meditators, a retreat is a great opportunity to deepen and clarify their practice under the guidance of qualified teachers.

Teachings are offered in English.

Why take part in the retreat? What happens on a retreat?

The current conditions we are living in open up challenges as well as possibilities. We can turn to practice as an immediate resource, and as an opportunity to deepen our practice and understanding.

A home based retreat offers a chance to nourish our practice through support from teachers as well as the community of other practitioners. We will offer a daily structure of teachings, meditations and opportunities to connect in small groups and one to ones with the teachers.

We are aware that the conditions vary between us in terms of how much available time we have, whether we can immerse in silence or are living with others, and our responsibility towards those around us. We would like this retreat to support the whole range of conditions that participants find themselves in.

We will offer a full schedule, so that those who wish and are able to can engage in continuity of practice. This is balanced with flexibility, so that those who have responsibilities to others are able to do less. 

Who are the teachers?

James Baraz has been a meditation teacher since 1978. He leads retreats, workshops, and classes in the U.S and abroad. He is a co-founder of Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California and the co-author of the book Awakening Joy: Ten Steps to Happiness as well as Awakening Joy for Kids and has led a popular online course by that name since 2003 ( James is also an advisor to One Earth Sangha, a website devoted to Buddhist responses to Climate Change. You can listen to dharma talks by James here.

Jane Baraz, MA in Psychology, has been a mindfulness practitioner since 1976 when she began sitting vipassana retreats. She enjoys teaching Awakening Joy retreats and workshops with James at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California and internationally. Jane also teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at University of California San Francisco and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) at Spirit Rock.

Juha Penttilä has been practicing meditation since 2002. He has spent extended periods of time on retreats and in monasteries in Asia and Europe and he is one of the founding members of Nirodha, the Finnish Insight Meditation practice community. Juha has also completed the Gaia House teacher council Community Dharma Leader -programme. In addition to emptiness practices Juha’s meditation teaching is influenced by the current climate crisis and engaged perspectives into the Dharma.

Kerstin Deibert has been practicing meditation for 20 years, sitting intensive retreats in Europe, the US and Asia. She is a mentor for mindfulness practitioners and a trained MBSR teacher. Her greatest passion is applying the teachings of the Buddha towards creating a more just and peaceful planet, and she has worked as an activist, conflict mediator and trainer for nonviolence with NGOs and activist groups around the world.

How much does it cost? How can I sign up?

The base price of the retreat is 30€. More information about the price, registration and other details. 


Marianne (Nella) Kautiala (+358 50 531 8228, manager, registrations)

Patrick Vena (+358 50 530 9786, manager)