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.