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Young Adult Weekend in Tomales

Young Adult (YA) retreats are for people in their late teens, 20s and 30s who want to experience a weekend of spiritual depth, vibrant conversation, relaxation, and fun, in a group that’s open, friendly, and accepting. This weekend retreat is for both newcomers and returnees – there are no prerequisites, and everyone is welcome.

The YAs who attend these retreats are diverse in terms of lifestyle, occupation, and spiritual outlook. YA participants could be students, young parents, people who have found their direction, and those who are still exploring. Some people will have been following Easwaran’s program for years, and others will be trying meditation for the first time.

The retreat is a lively weekend where you can discuss how to practice meditation and apply spiritual ideals in your everyday life. You will take part in workshops that are tailored to your needs, joining newcomers who want to explore Easwaran’s program, or returnees who want to deepen their practice. You can form new friendships and enjoy spiritual community.

The retreat includes an optional mantram walk on Dillon Beach, and a visit to Ramagiri, the BMCM community, where you will meditate in the hall where Easwaran and his wife, Christine, have practiced for decades. It’s a full program, but you’ll also have open time where you can choose to relax on your own or with others, take some exercise, or rest. Our mealtimes are opportunities for warm spiritual fellowship over ample, home-cooked vegetarian food.

If you’re new, we hope you’ll be inspired to take up the practice, but in any case we know you’ll leave feeling refreshed and supported. If you’re returning, we hope you’ll find new depth, practical tips, and a stronger connection with the YA satsang community and with Easwaran’s teachings.

The retreat starts on Friday at 4:00 p.m. and ends on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. All meals and accommodations are provided and no prior experience of meditation is required.

What YAs have said about their YA weekend retreat:

“The balanced schedule shows how to integrate work, exercise, social time, and spiritual practice without feeling rushed. Folks are super sincere, authentic, and speak from the heart. They're not too cool, or too embarrassed, to genuinely express highest yearnings and connect with each other deeply.”

“It was such a wonderful experience to be surrounded by striving young people with a similar sense of purpose. I will cherish every moment and insight. Building the community of friends was awesome, and I came away with renewed enthusiasm and a personalized small practical goal to work on!”

Fees
Standard fee (includes program, meals, and accommodations) $150
Sliding scale (see explanation below) $75–$200
Commuter (includes program and meals only) $100
Tomales Extra Stay Fees
Single night fee (per night) $65
Sliding scale (see explanation below) $45–$65

Staying before or after your Tomales retreat

You are welcome to stay one night before and/or after your retreat. If you are traveling from outside North America, you can stay two days before the retreat to help you settle in.

We ask you to arrive after 3 p.m. and to leave by 10 a.m. Stays do not include meals, so you will need to provide all your own (vegetarian) food. If you are staying after a retreat, there are often leftovers for your dinner.



Explanation of Retreat Fees and Refunds

Recognizing the importance of retreats, we offer financial aid (see below) and a sliding scale, so that costs don’t stand in the way of anyone who wants to attend.


Sliding scale

Please choose the price that seems right for you:

  • Select the standard fee if possible, to cover the cost of the retreat.
  • Don’t hesitate to choose a lower fee if the standard fee is too much for you to afford.
  • Feel free to choose a higher fee if you’d like to make a donation (thank you!)

We depend on donations to cover over 10% of our retreats and programs costs, and over 40% of our operating costs in the BMCM. Each dollar paid over the standard fee is a tax-deductible contribution to the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. We keep all donations and fee payments confidential.


Financial Aid

The BMCM has a scholarship fund created out of donations from kind friends to help more people attend retreats. We offer financial aid with an open hand in the spirit of service. This means we don't ask for any information about your financial situation – we simply ask what you need to help you attend.

We offer two options:

  1. Payment plans: where you pay a regular fee or scholarship fee but in installments
  2. Scholarships: where you choose a reduced fee that works for you.

For a payment plan or scholarship, please write to financial.aid@easwaran.org or call us at 800 475 2369.


Refunds

If you can’t attend the retreat for any reason and at any time, we will refund your retreat fee without question and in full. Please let us know as soon as possible if you can’t attend so we can contact someone on our waiting list. We hope we’ll see you at a future event.

Retreat House

Our simple, comfortable retreat house is a former bed and breakfast in Tomales, a small town in rural Marin County, 1.5 hours north of San Francisco. The accommodations, workshop spaces, meditation room, and dining room are all in the same building. The house is quiet and surrounded by gardens and sweeping views of the countryside.

Our retreat house has limited accommodations on the first floor and a few small, single rooms on the second floor. We give the first floor and single rooms to people with medical needs on a first come, first served basis. The rest of our rooms are shared, and unless we hear you have particular needs or are coming with a friend or partner, we’ll place you in a room with another person of the same gender.

The parking lot and entrance to the retreat house are at 10 Church Street, Tomales, California 94971. When you register, we will send you detailed maps and information for travel by car, air, and public transit, together with information about our rideshare forum.

All meals and accommodation are included in the retreat fee.


Commuting

You may prefer staying at a local hotel and attending the retreat as a commuter. As a commuter, you can attend the full program including all meals. (We can provide you with a list of local accommodations.) Attending as a commuter is a good option if:

  • The retreat house is full for your chosen retreat
  • You live locally and prefer to stay at home
  • You have special needs which can’t be met in the retreat house
  • You prefer having more privacy and a guaranteed single room.

We recommend that your commuting time be a maximum of 30 minutes. Friends have found that commuting for more than 30 minutes detracts from the slowed-down schedule, and prevents them from taking part in all activities.

Please see our FAQs if you’d like more information about accommodations, and feel free to contact us if you’d like further information before you register – we’re always happy to answer questions.

What will we be doing on a typical retreat day?

  • Taking part in workshops with presentations and discussion
  • Reading Easwaran’s writings and watching his talks for inspiration
  • Practicing meditation and the eight-point program
  • Enjoying free time for personal study, exercise, fellowship, and rest
  • Sharing vegetarian meals together.

We teach Easwaran’s method of meditation and spiritual skills for daily living, so we don’t follow any rituals, teach any dogma, or offer classes on anything other than training the mind. Our meditation sessions and quiet study sessions are silent. We aim to provide a balanced program of inspiration and practicality, lively discussion and quiet reflection, private time and warm fellowship.

How much meditation will we do?

You can choose to take part in either two or three meditation sessions each day. Meditation sessions last for 30 minutes.

What are the workshops like?

Our workshops include:

  • Presentations on Easwaran’s method of meditation and his program for spiritual living
  • Reading studies from Easwaran’s books and videos of his talks
  • Group discussions, in which you can participate as much as you choose
  • Worksheets with questions for personal reflection
  • Opportunities to raise any questions you may have.

Our emphasis is on training the mind and learning practical skills for daily living, so we don’t share details of personal problems in our workshops. We discuss ways to calm our minds and find our own inner resources to deal with any challenge we may face.

What is the food like?

At our Tomales retreats, we serve home-cooked, healthy vegetarian meals. Many recipes come from our award-winning cookbook, Laurel’s Kitchen. We cater for all special diets – just let us know your needs when you register for the retreat. Fruit, healthy snacks, coffee and tea are available at all times.

At our regional retreats, the meals are vegetarian, and tea and coffee is provided. We don’t cater these ourselves, so unfortunately we can’t accommodate special diets. If in doubt, you are welcome to bring your own vegetarian supplemental food.

Who attends?

Our retreat groups are friendly and varied, with people of all ages, backgrounds, faith traditions, and life philosophies. This diversity reflects Easwaran’s method of meditation, which is universal and inclusive. All are welcome.

The size of our Tomales retreat groups ranges from 12–25 people. At our regional retreats there are separate groups for newcomers and returnees, and each group includes between 15–40 people.

Will I feel comfortable coming by myself?

The majority of people attending our retreats come by themselves. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming, so we think you will quickly feel at home. And because it’s a retreat, you are free at any time to engage in lively conversations or to sit back and reflect.

What if I decide this isn’t the right method of meditation for me?

There are many types of meditation, and every person has a unique spiritual path. We hope that attending one of our retreats will enable you to decide if this method of meditation is a good fit for you.

If you decide to continue with this practice, you will have received everything you need to start a successful meditation practice at home. Then you can see how it works in your own life, and explore our free resources for ongoing support.

If you decide not to take up the practice, we hope that the retreat gave you tips and inspiration that will help you take the next step on your path.

Can I try out different meditation methods at the retreat?

We ask you to focus solely on Easwaran’s method of meditation during our retreats so that you can explore how it works and enable others in your group to do the same.

You may decide after your retreat that another method of meditation meets your needs better. We will be happy if the retreat helps you decide whichever method works best for you.

After a retreat, what follow up can I expect?

We fully respect your privacy and will not send you any unwanted mailings. We send one standard follow-up email to everyone after the retreat with information about resources, and then it’s up to you to let us know if and how you would like to stay in touch with us.

If you choose, you can find support and inspiration from our free online resources, Easwaran’s books and talks, local fellowship groups, and other programs.

What is the organization like?

The Blue Mountain Center of Meditation (BMCM) is a registered non-profit which offers retreats on meditation and spiritual living and publishes Easwaran’s books, videos, and audio talks. In addition, the BMCM has always made Easwaran’s core teachings available free of charge via easwaran.org.

Everything you learn about in our programs is based on Easwaran’s books and talks, so if you’ve read one of his books or listened to a talk, you will already have a good idea of our values, our work, and the content of the retreat.

We aim to be transparent in our organization about everything, including what we teach, how we run our finances, and how we plan our future through our strategic planning. We are not aligned with any religion or cause, and we are always glad to answer any questions you may have at any time.

Who leads the retreats?

Our presenters have been practicing passage meditation daily for 10–40 years, and have completed a four-year training program. Through their deep commitment, experience, and training, they create a retreat setting in which you can explore your own direct connection with Easwaran’s teachings.

Is coming to a retreat really worth the time and money?

We appreciate that attending a retreat requires time and expense. You can go a long way with your spiritual practice simply by reading Easwaran’s books, watching his talks, and following his instructions. If you’re new to passage meditation, you may like to take part in one of our free, one-hour webinars before coming to a retreat.

But there comes a point where you may feel you need some in-person contact with long-time meditators so you can ask your questions, share your experiences, and get practical tips. Attending a retreat at our retreat house in Tomales is a very special experience ⎯ you step into a spiritual environment where everything is organized to support your practice.

Many people come to retreats year after year because of the benefits to themselves and to all around them. They tell us that the fellowship, inspiration, and instruction of a retreat enables them to make much more progress than they could have achieved on their own.

Recognizing the importance of retreats, we offer a sliding scale and financial aid. Please contact us at financial.aid@easwaran.org for a scholarship.

We are happy to answer any questions by phone or email (800 475 2369 or info@easwaran.org).

What should I bring?

A recommended packing list for retreats in Tomales includes:

  • Comfortable, casual clothes, and several layers including a warm sweater and jacket – Northern California can be chilly even in the summer. We regret that we can’t provide laundry facilities, so bring enough clothes for the duration of your retreat.
  • Appropriate shoes for an optional beach walk
  • Slippers or socks for inside the retreat house (we ask that you don’t wear outdoor shoes inside the retreat house)
  • Toiletries (we provide soap, linens, and towels)
  • Notebook and pen
  • Your copy of God Makes the Rivers to Flow, if you have it. There are plenty of copies in the library if you don’t.

What is your refund policy?

If you can’t attend the retreat for any reason and at any time, we will refund your retreat fee without question and in full. Please let us know as soon as possible if you can’t attend so we can contact someone on our waiting list. We hope we’ll see you at a future event.

If you have kindly chosen to make a donation above the standard retreat fee, we regret that we can’t refund the donation due to legal and administrative reasons. We will of course refund your retreat fee.

How does financial aid work?

The BMCM has a scholarship fund created out of donations from kind friends to help more people attend retreats.

Our financial aid is flexible, to suit different needs. We offer two options:

  1. Payment plans: where you pay a regular fee or scholarship fee but in instalments
  2. Scholarships: where you choose a reduced fee that works for you.

We offer financial aid with an open hand in the spirit of service. We don't ask for any information about your financial situation. Instead, we ask you to let us know what would work for you. We keep this information confidential within our office.

For a payment plan or scholarship, please write to financial.aid@easwaran.org or call us at 800 475 2369.

The retreat I want to attend is full. Is it worth putting my name on the waiting list?

Yes. We often have a cancellation, though it may be at short notice. Please call us to be put on the waiting list free of charge, and we’ll contact you if a space becomes available.

You may also be able to attend as a commuter. Please contact us and we’ll let you know if there’s space in the group.

What is a commuter?

You may prefer staying at a local hotel and attending the retreat as a commuter. As a commuter, you can attend the full program including all meals. (We can provide you with a list of local accommodations.) Attending as a commuter is a good option if:

  • The retreat facility is full for your chosen retreat
  • You live locally and prefer to stay at home
  • You have special needs which can’t be met in the retreat house
  • You prefer having more privacy and a guaranteed single room

We recommend that your commuting time be a maximum of 30 minutes. Friends have found that commuting for more than 30 minutes significantly detracts from the slowed-down schedule, and prevents them from taking part in all activities.

What is the retreat house like?

Our simple, comfortable retreat house is a former bed and breakfast in Tomales, a small town in rural Marin County, 1.5 hours north of San Francisco. The accommodations, workshop spaces, meditation room, and dining room are all in the same building. The house is quiet and surrounded by gardens and sweeping views of the countryside.

The meditation room is quiet, with rows of chairs and places for sitting on the floor, and we provide cushions and blankets.

What are the accommodations like?

The bedrooms in our retreat house in Tomales are clean, simple, and comfortable. Most rooms have two beds, a dresser, space to hang your clothes and coat hangers, a towel rack, and plenty of blankets. All rooms have windows overlooking the gardens and countryside.

Some rooms have a toilet in them, and others also have a shower or bath. If your room does not have a toilet or shower, there will be one just a few feet away down the hall.

Our retreat house has limited accommodations on the first floor and a few small, single rooms on the second floor. We give the first floor and single rooms to people with medical needs on a first come, first served basis. We allocate the remaining single rooms to people who have expressed a preference for one.

If you are coming to a retreat in Tomales together with a friend or partner, let us know on the registration form and we will give you a shared, private room together. If you come on your own, you will share a room with a person of the same gender.

Linens and towels are provided.

May I stay at the retreat house before or after a retreat?

You are welcome to stay one night before and/or after your retreat. If you are traveling from outside North America, you can stay two days before the retreat to help you settle in.

We ask you to arrive after 3 p.m. and to leave by 10 a.m. Stays do not include meals, so you will need to provide all your own (vegetarian) food. If you are staying after a retreat, there are often leftovers for your dinner.

When do I know that my registration has been confirmed?

If you register online, you will receive an automatic email receipt. Please wait until we send you a personal email confirmation to book your travel, which is usually within 24 hours Monday–Friday.