We host over 100 retreats each year with world-renowned teachers from diverse spiritual traditions and leading thinkers from a wide variety of disciplines.
Many of these retreats fall into distinct but complementary categories that reflect our commitment to effect positive social change in the world.
“The Garrison Institute nourished me physically and emotionally in a comfortable, safe environment where I discovered my own wise heart and awakened spirit.”
For over a decade, we have invested in building communities and networks around certain ideas and topics, sometimes creating new fields in the process. We have formed key partnerships with likeminded organizations and individuals, connecting the Institute to a wide network of leaders in various fields. During our retreats and gatherings, people with shared interests meet to explore ways to collaborate on potential projects and catalyze social change.
We believe that by focusing our efforts on the categories below — and by connecting them with a common thread of contemplation — we can uncover the wisdom that is urgently needed for humanity to understand, act, and flourish in the complex times in which we live.
Personal qualities, such as empathy and adaptability, are increasingly important for leadership and in the workplace. Typically referred to as “soft skills,” these qualities can increasingly be measured and cultivated through contemplation. Retreat leaders on this topic include Daniel Goleman and Janice Marturano.
“Our social relationships are one of the most important forms of experience that literally form who we are.”
Dan Siegel, garrison board member
With this in mind, we create programming that sheds light on the psychology and science of relationships, so that together we can each become more fully ourselves. Retreat leaders on this topic include Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach.
Climate change might be the greatest crisis that humanity has ever faced. We offer creative programming that helps participants both build the resilience needed for future catastrophes and the ingenuity to work towards preventing them. Retreat groups that have explored this topic at the Institute included Eileen Fisher’s sustainability committee and Green Faith, among others.
Our programs offer contemplative methods to caregivers, activists, teachers, and other professionals working for social justice. Retreats at the Institute that focus on social justice include our annual LGBTIQ retreat and the the retreats that we organize with Dharmapunx and iBme.
Our education programs extend well beyond CARE for Teachers. We offer a variety of different contemplative retreats for teachers, because neuroscience confirms that practicing mindfulness facilitates awareness and self-regulation and, in the process, develops the capacity for a calm and focused mind — all important qualities for teaching. Retreat groups that have explored this topic at the Institute include Princeton Religious Life Council, UC San Diego Mindfulness Training, Mindful Classroom, and Mindful Schools.
From mindfulness to dzogchen meditation to centering prayer to Sufi mysticism, we host retreats with some of leading teachers in wisdom traditions from around the world. Retreat teachers from various wisdom traditions include Gelek Rimpoche, Krishna Das, Kabir Helminsky, Rupert Spira, Sharon Salzberg, and many more.
One of the ironies of being a caregiver is that you often don’t receive the help and support you need for yourself. We care for the caregivers by offering programming that helps them build the resilience skills they need to do the work they love. Some examples of recent retreats in this category include our Contemplative-Based Resilience Training for Humanitarian Aid Workers and our “People Who Care For People” retreat with Sharon Salzberg, Ali Smith, Atman Smith, and Andres Gonzalez.
Many of our retreats focus on finding balance in our minds and bodies. Retreat groups that explore holistic disciplines at the Institute include the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute, the Focusing Institute, as well as various yoga groups.
We believe that the arts are an essential and natural expression of wisdom. Every year we host retreats for visual artists, poets, writers, and musicians. Retreat groups that have focused on the arts at the Institute include Asylum (a program for young Jewish artists), Buddhism and the Arts, and retreats with singer-songwriter Dar Williams.
Neuroscience research has demonstrated the effectiveness of meditation and mindfulness-based techniques in both patient healing and caregiver self-care. Mindfulness practices are increasingly being explored and used, particularly by palliative and end-of-life care teams. We explore these issues in our annual “Buddhist Contemplative Care” symposium that we co-host with the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care as well as in various retreats.