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  • Rainforest Retreat: 7-days in the Costa Rican Rainforest

Rainforest Retreat: 7-days in the Costa Rican Rainforest

  • 26 May 2018
  • 8:00 PM (UTC-06:00)
  • 2 Jun 2018
  • 9:00 AM (UTC-06:00)
  • Selva Verde Lodge, Chilamate, Sarapiquí, Costa Rica, Central America
  • 12


(depends on selected options)

Base fee:

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Breathing in Indra's Net:
Immersion in the Web of Life

Saturday May 26th to Saturday June 2nd, 2018
May 13th update: the shuttle times to and from the airport have been changed to allow more flights to connect gracefully.

Join us for a full week-long silent retreat of ecological immersion with mindfulness and compassion practices, nature exploration, and the Buddhist roots of these practices in the Costa Rican rainforest. 

Our hosts at Selva Verde Lodge have created a deeply peaceful eco-tourist inn interwoven into a 500 hectare primary forest reserve in central Costa Rica.

Course details

This residential retreat will be held mostly in silence and will include a series of gently guided mindfulness practices including sitting meditation, walking meditation, gentle yoga, and the body scan as well as immersive sitting, walking, and exploring in the rainforest. To explore the rainforest we will be working with local skilled naturalists to provide us with a deep immersion into the local ecosystem - including a night walk!

Daily talks will be given by lead teacher Tim Burnett on both Buddhism and ecology. (Tim is a fully authorized mindfulness and Buddhist teacher AND holds degrees in biology and environmental studies. Tim formerly worked as a field botanist and environmental educator.)

Buddhist Roots of Mindfulness Practice and Ecological Awareness

The daily prepared talks in this retreat will focus on the wonderful metaphor of Indra's Net from the Mahayana Buddhist Huayen School. A powerful teaching on interconnectedness and ecology, the metaphor of Indra's Net is described by Buddhist scholar Stephen Mitchell, in his book The Enlightened Mind, as:

"The Net of Indra is a profound and subtle metaphor for the structure of reality. Imagine a vast net; at each crossing point there is a jewel; each jewel is perfectly clear and reflects all the other jewels in the net, the way two mirrors placed opposite each other will reflect an image ad infinitum. The jewel in this metaphor stands for an individual being, or an individual consciousness, or a cell or an atom. Every jewel is intimately connected with all other jewels in the universe, and a change in one jewel means a change, however slight, in every other jewel."

This central metaphor will be reflected in discussions of ecology as exemplified by the surrounding Central American rainforest and how we can apply these understandings to our own lives to in a happier, more resilient, and more compassionate way.

Who is this Retreat For?

This retreat will be highly relevant both to mindfulness and compassion students interested in deepening their practice and to naturalists and those who love the natural world who are interested in the benefits of meditation and how mindfulness and ecological thinking can be supported by Buddhist teachings. 

Please note: although there will be discussions of Buddhism in the daily prepared talks, this is not a Buddhist retreat. The practices and format is in the universal ("secular" for want of a better term) language of the mindfulness and compassion development classes such as MBSR and MSC. 

What is Selva Verde Lodge like?

Raised walkways and lovely rooms in a rainforest garden adjacent to a primary (old growth) rainforest. Double occupancy accommodations and all meals will be included (single occupancy accommodations available with supplementary charge). The buffet style Costa Rican cuisine is varied and accommodating of a variety of dietary preferences and needs.

Also included is transportation by coach from the San Jose, Costa Rica airport.

Details on what to bring will be sent upon registration.

Logistics and Itinerary

Saturday May 26th at 8pm - Saturday June 2nd at 9am.

We're offering a free shuttle to and from the retreat location (Selva Verde Lodge) and San Jose Airport, Costa Rica (note: the airport is actually in the town of Alajuela).

The retreat bus will pick you up at San Jose Airport at 5pm on Saturday May 26th (flights arriving up to 3pm should be able to connect with our shuttle easily). We'll stop for dinner at a local restaurant en route and arrive at Selva Verde Lodge on the Sarapiquí River in north-central Costa Rica at about 8pm. You may also travel independently to Selva Verde Lodge.

If you fly in on May 25th we recommend the Hotel Country Inn in Alajuela - a 10 minute taxi ride from the airport. The Inn can help you arrange a taxi back to the airport to meet the shuttle on Saturday.

Note: the shuttle was originally listed as leaving at 3pm. It has been changed to 5pm to allow more flights to connect gracefully.

After a brief check-in when we arrive at Selva Verde Lodge we'll meet each other and go to bed. We'll have optional meditation on Sunday morning, informal breakfast, and then get oriented to silent retreat. Silence will begin mid-morning on Sunday.

Then we'll enjoy a silent mindfulness retreat through Saturday morning June 2nd. 

Our days will include silent meditation, mindful walking, guided nature walks, talks on ecology and Buddhism, silent meals, and break times for rest and individual exploration.

On Saturday June 2nd our final retreat event will be breakfast, and the bus back to the San Jose Airport will leave at 9am and arrive at the airport about 11am. Book your flight home for 1pm or later.

Note: the shuttle was originally listed as leaving Selva Verde Lodge for San Jose Airport at 11am; it has been changed to leave at 9am to allow you to connect to more outgoing flights if you are leaving immediately after the retreat.

Airport Shuttle Info (revised)
Let us know when registering (or by writing to office@mindfulnessnorthwest.com) if you would like to be on the outgoing or return shuttle to and from San Jose Airport and Selva Verde Lodge. Please also include your flight details.

Outgoing Shuttle: leaves San Jose Airport at 5pm on Saturday March 26th, stopping for dinner en route, arriving at Selva Verde Lodge at approximately 8pm. Flights landing at San Jose up to 3pm should be able to connect with our shuttle easily. 

Return Shuttle: leaves Selva Verde Lodge at 9am on Saturday June 2nd, arriving at San Jose Airport at approximately 11am. Flights for home leaving at 1pm or later should be able to connect.

Finding the shuttle: simply exit the airport with everyone and look for the "Mindfulness La Selva Verde" sign - further details will be sent. Lead teacher Tim Burnett will also be on hand to help and will ride with you to Selva Verde Lodge.

Extend your stay... Costa Rica Travel Suggestions

Interested in further explorations? Selva Verde Lodge is itself an excellent area for birding and ecotourism and is near several other excellent areas. Come early or stay after the retreat at Selva Verde Lodge (please arrange directly with them) and book a birding tour at La Selva Biological Station (15 minutes drive from the lodge). You could also do additional birding tours at the Lodge.

Interested in regular Costa Rican culture and/or Spanish language studies? The town of Heredia is 30 minutes from the airport and also has a stop on the commuter train into San Jose itself (note that the airport is in Alajuela, not San Jose proper). We recommend Hotel Hojarascas in Heredia - a delightful and affordable family run hotel. There are highly recommended Spanish language schools in Heredia as well.

Interested in nature and seeing more of Costa Rica? Travel to one or more of these nearby nature hotspots:

1) The Carribean coastal area of Tortuguero: see coastal bird and amphibian species, a flooded rainforest, sea turtles and many other species in a warm laid-back environment. About 3 hours drive plus a 1 hour boat ride from Selva Verde Lodge.

2) The Arenal Volcano. The Volcano itself is impressive and many forest bird species can be seen. Nearby hot springs at La Fortuna are a delight as well. About 2 hours drive from Selva Verde Lodge.

3) The Monte Verde Cloud forest, one of the most impressive cloud forest regions in the Americas. 3 hour drive on from Arenal Volcano. 

Travel independently or arrange with an outfitter. For an outfitter we recommend Aratinga Tours. Please tell them you're part of the Mindfulness Northwest group.

Before practicing for a full week we recommend that you have experience with mindfulness or related contemplative practices. You will want to have tasted mindfulness or meditation in teacher-led classes, retreats, or meditation centers. Contact us if you have questions about whether this retreat will be appropriate for you.

Teacher Training and Development
This course meets the prerequisites for those in the the Center for Mindfulness' Oasis training pathway. See the CFM website for more information. It meets CFM's requirement to attend an annual, silent, teacher-led retreat of at least 7 days for ongoing development and one of the 4 required retreats before certification as an MBSR teacher. This retreat also meets requirements for training as a Mindful Self-Compassion teacher which requires a 5-day silent retreat before beginning Teacher Training (see the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion website for details).


  • Rev. Tim Burnett, Teacher: Executive Director and Guiding Instructor at Mindfulness Northwest (and former botanist and environmental educator!)

$1600- $2600 sliding scale fee  (paying on the higher end makes the lower end possible, our usual built-in "scholarship" system). Includes double occupancy room and all meals. Single occupancy rooms are available for an additional surcharge ($400).

Payment plans are available during registration (4 equal monthly payments; no financing fee).

Financial Assistance: Scholarship assistance may be available for those unable to pay at the low end of the sliding fee scale. Please APPLY FOR A SCHOLARSHIP.

   REGISTER ONLINE or register by phone at 360-830-6439 ext 0.

Cancellation Policy
A special cancellation policy (below) applies to this retreat. This policy supersedes our regular policy.

  • Before April 1st: full refunds (less a $30 non-refundable registration fee) are available
  • April 1st to April 20th: receive back 75% of your registration fee
  • April 21st to May 5th: receive back 50% of your registration fee
  • After May 5th: sorry, no refunds are possible
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