What happens at a retreat


Retreats offer an opportunity to slow down, stop, step out of the push and pull life we all have. They can be weekends, 5- or 10-day periods that offer quiet, meditative practices, guided by skilled teachers of mindfulness. Some retreats are based on Buddhist teachings of mindfulness. Others are secular and grounded in our current understanding of mindfulness practices.

A typical retreat is silent. Some retreats keep silence during meals. Speaking is limited to any group interactions (not all retreats have group interactions) or interacting with the teachers in a group or individual sessions. Silent retreats also encourage “guarding the senses”. That means we set aside our typical habitual go-to activities that we use to distract ourselves: reading, writing, and using our technological devices. The intent is not to be oppressive; it is to open up the many opportunities to listen to our inner dialogue and how we experience that in our bodies.

Retreat schedules can vary depending on the length and intention of the retreat. Wake up bell is rung at 6 AM Most retreats tend to have “Noble Silence”: no talking etc. after 9 PM. This gives us a chance to settle into our rest period so we can sleep soundly and deeply. Lights out is usually at 10 PM. A sample timetable for a typical day is listed below.


Meals will be vegetarian with dairy and eggs. We will do our best to accommodate special needs for health reasons as you have indicated in your registration form. The kitchen at Galilee does its best to accommodate special diets; however, we do ask for compassion for the hardworking staff to make your requests based on health needs. There is a fridge in which you can store your personal food if that is necessary.

What to bring

Please bring your meditation cushion or bench (chairs are available at the centre), a blanket or mat for support under your knees, and anything else required for your comfort. The Galilee Centre provides bedding (sheets, blankets, pillows, pillowcases), towels, and soap. Bring your toiletries, necessary medicines, indoor shoes or slippers, and a flashlight.


Dress comfortably in clothing that is suitable for extended periods of sitting and walking meditation. It is suggested that you not wear “noisy” clothing, such as nylon, as this can become a source of distraction to yourself and others in a quiet environment.

What not to bring

The Galilee Centre is a scent-free environment. It is difficult to avoid scents even in “fragrance-free” products; we ask that strong scents contained in deodorants are avoided. You are asked not to bring or use any perfumes or scented toiletries, as some people are particularly sensitive to odors and chemicals. Candles and incense will not be used. To support noble silence, participants are encouraged not to read or take notes. We suggest, to avoid temptation, please do not bring books, magazines e-readers or other reading material.

If you have any questions or need further information in advance of the retreat, please contact us at 613-745 5366 ext. 200 or contact us.

Galilee Centre Directions

Directions From East (Ottawa): Take Highway 417 West and continue on the 417 until regional road 29.
Turn left onto Madawaska Blvd/Regional Road 117. Turn right onto John St N.
From South (Toronto/Carleton Place): Take Highway 7 (Trans-Canada Highway) to Highway 417 West.
Continue on the 417 until regional road 29. Turn left onto Madawaska Blvd/Regional Road 117. Turn right onto John St. N.

From West (Pembroke): Head East on Highway 17. Turn left onto Daniel Street/County Road 2. Turn left
onto Madawaska St. Turn right onto John St. N.

For information regarding airport or train station pickup please contact Ottawa Shuttle Service for pricing at 613-680-3313 or http://www.ottawashuttleservice.com/rates. – See more at http://www.galileecentre.com/contact/#sthash.KjPY4v61.dpuf



Sample Retreat Schedule

0630      07:00
07:00     08:00
08:00     09:00
09:00     09:30
09:30     10:30
10:45     11:45
11:45     12:00
12:00     01:00
01:00     02:00
01:30 – 2:15
02:15     03:15
03:15     04:00
04:00     05:00
05:00     05:30
05:30     06:30
06:30     07:00
07:00     08:00
08:00     08:30
08:30     09:00
Wake up
Meditation* – silent
Talk by Teacher
Outdoor walking meditation
Group Check-in
Talk by teacher
Talk by teacher
Noble Silence, candlelight walk or optional free sit
Lights out

*Meditation periods: 25 mins sitting, 10 minutes walking, 25 mins sitting