New Year Meditation Retreat with John Bruna and Laura Bartels, Jan 1-4, 2021


Start Your Year Mindfully

Join us on a 3-day retreat in Auburn, CA

January 1-4, 2021

John Bruna and Laura Bartels will return to the wonderful Mercy Retreat Center in Auburn, CA to guide a three-day meditation retreat. This retreat is dedicated to establishing and cultivating the foundational meditation practice of shamatha (calm abiding) meditation and taking time to reflect, and clarify intentions for the new year. Shamatha is the practice of developing single-pointed concentration, helping you develop a calm, clear and focused mind. It helps you establish the ability to consciously attend to what you choose to attend to instead of being a prisoner of every thought, impulse, worry, or emotion that arises in your mind. 

Shamatha is a universal practice that can be applied to any spiritual or religious practice or simply used to become more mindful and present in your life. It improves any other meditation practice and is foundational to establishing mental and emotional balance. This retreat is beginner friendly and also beneficial for seasoned meditators. We will focus on developing the building blocks of shamatha, relaxation, stability, and clarity,  as well as developing habits that are conducive to establishing and sustaining a meditation practice. This is a silent retreat with multiple short meditation sessions and plenty of breaks, quiet reflection time and guidance in the group teachings.

About the Facilitators
John Bruna

John Bruna


John Bruna is a former Buddhist monk, an author, and a mindfulness teacher and trainer. John is also the co-founder of the Mindful Life Program™ and of Mindfulness in Recovery®. Drawing from his extensive training and rich personal experiences over three decades, John has lead retreats and facilitated trainings throughout the country, becoming a leading voice in the field of mindfulness. He is the author of The Wisdom of a Meaningful Life: The Essence of Mindfulness and The Essential Guidebook to Mindfulness in Recovery and has presented at TEDx and other conferences throughout the country. John is known for his warmth, humor, and ability to make teachings practical and accessible. 




Laura Bartels

Laura Bartels helped to create the Mindful Life Program and regularly teaches mindfulness courses, facilitates mindfulness groups and gives public talks on living mindfully. She is one of the instructors for the year-long MLP Teacher Training and Personal Development program. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Mindful Life Program. Laura’s professional path of 20 years brought her to be a leader in the field of sustainable building and community development. This provided a unique and valuable perspective on the need for “inner sustainability.” As Laura’s path has been one of navigating what it means to live consciously and meaningfully, it’s been a natural transition to move from outer sustainability to inner sustainability; when we are not in balance, we cannot be of benefit to ourselves or others.

Dates: January 1-4, 2021. 
Location: Mercy Retreat Center, Auburn, California, USA

Cost: $350 Retreat fee includes lodging, meals, and use of retreat facility. Teaching is offered on a free-will donation basis. Donations for the teachings can be made at the retreat or using the donation button on our home page. 

Commuter Rate: $250. Please use coupon code “Mercycommuter” (all one word) at check out for the correct price during registration. 

About the retreat at Mercy Retreat Center:

The retreat will be both beginner-friendly and provide ample support for those with a meditation practice to deepen it. We will guide everyone on the basics of establishing a sound and beneficial meditation practice. The meditation sessions will not exceed 24 minutes in length and we will have multiple sessions with short breaks. There will be plenty of time to take walks, reflect, journal, and some structured time for setting intentions for the new year. 

Everyone has their own room at Mercy and the bathrooms are shared. There are a couple of bathrooms with showers on each floor. 

With the exception of our gathering times, the retreat is silent. The time inbetween sessions are personal time for reflection, study, and practice. Regarding the schedule, it is not finalized yet but here is a sample from a previous retreat to give you an idea:

7:00 am Morning Meditation

7:30 am Breakfast

9:00 – 10:30 am  Morning Gathering – meditation sessions, guidance, and discussion.

12:00 pm  Lunch

2:30 – 4:00 pm Afternoon Gathering – meditation sessions, guidance, and discussion. 

5:15 pm Dinner

7 pm Evening Gathering – meditation sessions, guidance, and discussion.

If you have any other questions or if we can be of help in any way, please let us know. 


Men’s Recovery Retreat at Graymoor

8th Spiritual Life Retreat for Men in Recovery at Graymoor in Garrison, NY

John Bruna

*Due to COVID-19 this retreat is on hold. We may offer a virtual retreat instead. We will update this page as soon as we know. 

“It is said that for meditation to be of value, the results must show in our daily lives.” (Pg 47, NA Basic Text)

“Emotional balance is one of the first results of meditation, and our experience bears this out.” (Pg 47, NA Basic Text)

“There is a direct linkage among self-examination, meditation, and prayer. Taken separately these practices can bring much relief and benefit. But when they are logically related and interwoven, the result is an unshakable foundation for life.”  (Pg 98, 12 &12)

“The doors that open and close in our lives are not nearly as important as the person we are when we walk through them.”  John Bruna

Join us for our 8th retreat at Graymoor with John Bruna. This is a precious opportunity to step out of the busyness of life, reconnect to your deepest values, and develop the tools of meditation and prayer to support you in living a life of recovery you find truly meaningful. It is open to all men in recovery and all spiritual traditions and backgrounds.

The retreat is facilitated by John Bruna and will include meetings, meditation, talks, discussion, and reflection to deepen one’s personal spiritual practice in recovery.

This retreat is not run by John or an organization. It is organized each year by a dedicated group of men that value recovery and work selflessly to give men the opportunity to experience the healing setting of a retreat.

The retreat will be at the Retreat House of the Sister’s of Atonement at the bottom of the hill at Graymoor and is limited to 40 participants.

John Bruna has been in continuous recovery since 1984, had successful careers in addiction treatment and as an educator prior to spending over six years as an ordained Buddhist monastic. Grateful to have found recovery in the 12-steps and for all those that have carried the message helping him and countless others, John has dedicated his life helping others do the same.  He is known for his warmth, humor, and ability to make teachings practical and accessible. John is the author of The Wisdom of a Meaningful Life: The Essence of Mindfulness and The Essential Guidebook to Mindfulness in Recovery, and has presented at TEDx and conferences throughout the country. 

Dates: September 25 – 27, 2020 – Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.

Location: Graymoor Spiritual Life Center, 1350 Route 9, Garrison, NY, 10524

More information: Call Bruce Massaro (516) 965-9928. Join us for our next men’s retreat at Graymoor, in Garrision, NY

Online Mindfulness in Recovery® Integration Training

This is a 14-hour training offered over a two-week period with direct supervision and interaction with our co-founder, John Bruna.

There is not a specific class time. There is a daily lesson and assignment that can be done each day at a time that is convenient for you from wherever you are. John Bruna reviews each assignment and provides feedback. 

The MIR Implementation Training outcomes:

  • Practical and effective strategies to integrate the Mindfulness in Recovery® methods and practices into the therapeutic process for the treatment of addiction, co-occurring disorders, and family support strategies
  • Identify evidenced-based therapeutic modalities that link effectively to an
    integrated, individualized mindfulness program for clients
  • Knowledge of the diverse perspectives and definitions of mindfulness
  • Clarify the difference between mindfulness meditation and the practice of
  • Understand the role of meditation in the practice of mindfulness

Participant Benefits:

  • Certificate of 14 hours of professional development training in MIR. We are a NAADAC approved education provider.
  • Training fulfills a prerequisite for entry into Mindfulness in Recovery® facilitator certification program
  • Membership in the MIR Clinical Community
  • The Essential Guidebook to Mindfulness in Recovery® 
  • Enrollment in a 28-day online meditation training course
  • One month of Mindfulness in Recovery® Community membership
  • Discount on MIR materials 

*This training fulfills the prerequisite for entry into the Mindfulness in Recovery® Facilitator Certification Program

More Information: Read the full description for the course on the Program Page. For specific questions about the training, contact us at

Dates: August 10 – 23rd, 2020

Facilitator: John Bruna

Cost: $199