Concentration, Metta and Jhana Factors: 10-night Retreat in Georgia

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NOTE. New requirement added May 14, 2021: Vaccination against COVID-19 is required to attend this retreat. 

This will be a very special retreat—a rare opportunity to practice with seclusion and intimacy. We will  limit attendance, wear masks indoors, practice social distancing, have daily temperature checks and self-scheduled practice periods, and thoroughly disinfect the property with daily disinfectant fogging. We believe the site of Ignatius House offers a responsible place for a small group retreat. There are private rooms with ensuite private baths, outdoor seating along the river, and a diligent staff. Even with our precautions, any gathering will involve some degree of risk, so we leave it to your good judgement to determine if this opportunity is appropriate for you.

Please review the preventative measures taken by the center, our new guidelines for reducing the spread of the coronavirus, and comments from students who attended a previous retreat in Georgia in September 2020.


Cultivating Concentration, Mettā, and the Jhana Factors

a 10-day retreat led by Shaila Catherine

Monday, June 28, 2021 – Thursday, July 8, 2021.

The retreat begins with registration from 2:30 – 4:30 pm on Monday, June 28. The retreat ends with lunch on Thursday, July 8.

Partial attendance is possible in some cases, but it must begin on the first day of the retreat and priority will be given to those registering for the full retreat. A limited number of commuter spaces may be available. To facilitate travel arrangements, early arrivals on the prior day, Sunday, June 27 can be arranged with an additional fee.

This ten-day residential retreat will provide instructions in loving-kindness (metta) to cultivate concentration. The instructions will emphasize developing five factors that intensify focused attention and characterize the blissful states of meditative absorption known as jhana. The five factors are applied attention, sustained attention, joy, happiness, and one-pointedness of mind. Although these are called the Five Jhana Factors, they are not exclusive to jhana states. The teachings on this retreat will provide practical instructions for developing and balancing these factors; distinguishing between the jhana factors and the states of jhana absorption; and examining the powerful role that concentration plays on the path of awakening.

Daily group instructions will emphasize loving-kindness (metta), however, students are welcome to practice mindfulness with breathing or satipatthana practices if they prefer. Group and one-to-one guidance will tailor the practices to meet the needs and interests of individual students.

This silent retreat is structured with alternating periods of sitting and walking meditation, dhamma teachings, and teacher consultations. It will provide an ideal occasion for nurturing serenity and calmness, and introducing the basics of jhana practice. No previous jhana experience is required, however, this retreat is intended for meditators who already have an established mindfulness based practice, and have previously attended at least one multi-day silent residential retreat.

Prior to the retreat, please read the first 11 chapters of Focused and Fearless by Shaila Catherine.

REQUIREMENTS: The 10-night retreat is designed for experienced students who are fully vaccinated. Previous retreat experience in the insight meditation tradition is required, with a minimum of at least one week-long silent residential retreat. If you have less than one week-long silent retreat experience, your attendance requires approval from the teacher.

ABOUT THE SITE, ACCOMMODATIONS, AND MEALS: Ignatius House has been described as a hidden jewel in the Atlanta area. It is situated on 20 acres of lush secluded woodland overlooking the Chattahoochee River. Situated in a quiet rural area just outside of Atlanta, this Jesuit retreat center offers convenience and comfort to support deep meditative experience. The site boasts 1.5 miles of trail winding up and down through tall pines, along the river, over quaint bridges, and has many places to sit and soak in the serenity of this environment as it nourishes the heart. Seclusion and quietude permeate the environment, while it is conveniently accessible from the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International airport.

All accommodations are in comfortable modest single rooms; each room has a private ensuite bathroom. Three meals a day will be prepared by the center’s acclaimed chef and professional culinary team. The meals will include omnivore and vegetarian options, plentiful salads, and daily desserts. Snacks, coffee, tea and soda will be available throughout the day. With advanced notice, the culinary team will be happy to work with allergies and most special food needs, or prepare simple plain plates for those with digestive issues.

The retreat facility is handicapped accessible. If you have mobility limitations, please contact the registrar for details.

Please note that this will be a non-smoking retreat.

Register early! Space is limited. We keep this retreat very small to enable in-depth guidance from Shaila and social distancing to reduce the risk of illness.

TO REGISTER: Please use the online form at the link below to submit your registration and waiver forms.

This form will take approximately 20 minutes to fill out. Upon completion of the form you will receive an email with details for completing your payment. You have the option of paying the non-refundable deposit of $250 or the full retreat payment either by mailing a check to the registrar or by making a Zelle bank transfer. The address and account information for making this payment will be included in the registration confirmation email.

If we must cancel the retreat for any reason (such as if we are under shelter-in-place orders at the time of the retreat), we will return your deposit and fees, however, the $250 deposit remains non-refundable if you cancel your reservation. Details of our cancellation policy are on the registration form.

COST: 10 nights (includes accommodation and meals) is $2800 – $1850 sliding scale, plus a donation to the teachers at the end of retreat.

The estimated actual per-person cost for this retreat (if we used a fixed rate) is $2300. This represents the amount that we would have charged to cover the cost of accommodations, food, and basic administrative expenses if we had used a fixed rate instead of a sliding scale.

Selecting an amount above the estimated actual cost will support the retreat and enable those who need to select a lower rate to attend the retreat. Selecting an amount below the estimated actual cost self-selects a supported scholarship rate This sliding scale will allow most scholarship needs to be managed by self-selecting an amount lower than $2300. Inquire with the registrar if you need additional scholarship support to attend.


  • Commuter option (no sleeping accommodations or breakfast) for full retreat including lunch and dinner is $2300 ­– $1600 sliding scale.
  • Commuter option (no sleeping accommodations) for full retreat including breakfast, lunch and dinner is $2300 ­– $1700 sliding scale.

PARTIAL RETREAT OPTIONS: Registration options for partial retreat attendance are below. Priority will be given to students who are registering for the full 10-nights course. We do not encourage partial attendance, but offer these options for cases when full attendance is not possible, and only if we have space available. Applicants for partial attendance will be placed on a wait list which will be reviewed approximately 2 months prior to the retreat.

  • 3 nights (Monday–Thursday) is $1050 – $750 sliding scale
  • 4 nights (Monday–Friday) is $1,400 – $950 sliding scale
  • 5 nights (Monday–Saturday) is $1,700 – $1200 sliding scale
  • 6 nights (Monday–Sunday) is $2,000 – $1450 sliding scale
  • 7 nights (Monday–Monday is the same rate as full retreat $2800 – $1850 sliding scale

DANA: Compensation for the teacher is not included in the registration price. There will be an opportunity to offer donations to the teachers at the end of the retreat.

Questions?: retreatsAddress_at_imsb

Co-sponsored by Bodhi Retreats and Insight Meditation South Bay

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