Developing Heart-fullness / Diminishing Stress-Fall Retreat With Jill Rayna

October 25 – November 1, 2019

Developing Heart-fullness/Diminishing Stress

Fall Retreat

This retreat is open to all, beginners as well as advanced practitioners.

Many Vipassana-inspired somatic practices will be offered, both on and off the meditation cushion, as well as in the meditation hall and out in the vastness of the Mojave Desert, in order to develop a compassionate, joyful, loving and non-judging heart-fullness that allows us to meet life's many challenges with less stress and mental suffering. As we break down the sense of separation between mind, heart, and body, and come into unity within ourselves, our hearts open to connection with all life, and wisdom and ease follows.

The course is modeled on the emerging field of NeuroDharma which recognizes the ways in which Vipassana-based mind-body practices positively benefit higher brain development, particularly when coupled with loving-kindness and compassion practices. These practices counteract the stress-based constricting mental habits of a lifetime (the Hindrances), so that we can fairly quickly re-condition our brains to stop habitually reacting from fear, anger, lack, or defensiveness. Our goal is to develop the resources to embrace life however it is showing up, with peace, interest, and open-hearted responsiveness.

Join us as we meditate, mindfully walk in Nature or around a labyrinth, develop a deep connection with the inner aliveness within our bodies, chant, sing, and mindfully move, as we consciously build up the neuronal networks for happiness, awakening to our Buddha Nature, while holding Noble Silence.

As this retreat will be a training, students who may not be able to attend for the full week are encouraged to come at the beginning, to get the most benefit from the program.

Costs & Fees

Residential sliding scale: $315 - $455 for full retreat

Non-residential sliding scale: $210 - $315 for full retreat

Including accommodation and three vegetarian meals daily

Housing is simple, most in double-occupancy rooms; all meals are vegetarian with vegan & gluten-free options.

Dhamma Dena is committed to building accessibility by supporting all those who want to come to the center, no matter what their economic status.

According to the ancient tradition of dana, those who carry on the teachings of the Buddha are supported through the generosity of the community; thus dana to support the teachers, manager and cook at Dhamma Dena may be offered at the conclusion of the retreat.

Work exchange & scholarships available according to need, upon request. Due to our current focus on overdue repair and maintenance we ask those who need financial assistance pay at least $10 per day to cover our food costs. A deposit is required to reserve your spot. If this is a hardship please contact us.

If you are able to pay more in order to cover the costs of someone who is not able to, this is very much appreciated. Payment can come in as many installments as is necessary.


  1. Fill out registration form (please click on the box to the right to take you to the registration form).
  2. Pay for the retreat using the link to the right or send a check to the address below. Please do not use our email address to pay through PayPal directly.

The registration form AND online donation (or check) must BOTH be filled out for your registration to be processed. If you have not done both then you are not registered.

Dhamma Dena, PO Box 183, Joshua Tree, CA 92252.

Your Registration is not confirmed until we receive your deposit. Your deposit is also non-refundable if you cancel within 2 weeks of the retreat except under extreme circumstances.

Within 2 weeks after the receipt of your deposit you will be sent a confirmation letter containing all the essential details about the retreat.

Refund, Waitlist and Transfer Policy




If you are applying for a scholarship, we also encourage you to apply for support from The Open Dharma Foundation. They have scholarships of $300 that can be used for tuition, dana for teachers, transportation costs, or anything else that would inhibit you from attending the retreat. Let us know if you are planning on applying, and we can write a letter of support for you. Scholarship applications are reviewed each month on the 15th so please plan accordingly.


Dāna (दान) is a Sanskrit and Pali word connoting the virtue of generosity, charity or giving of alms. The teachings, valuable beyond measure, are offered out of generosity.

Your registration cost covers food and lodging only. According to the ancient tradition of dana those who carry on the teachings of the Buddha are supported through the generosity of the community; thus dana to support the teachings may be offered at the conclusion of the retreat.

Dāna offerings to teachers and staff are gratefully received. They rely on these voluntary financial contributions given to them by participants.

About the Instructor

Jill Rayna

A longtime resident of the Sonoma coast wilderness, was formally intitiated by Ruth Denison as a lay teacher in her lineage in 1991, and was empowered by Ruth to keep Dhamma Dena going after her death, until retiring from leadership last year. For many years Jill taught Mindfulness in Nature courses in the redwood forest at DharmaCreek, which still form the basis for much of her NeuroDharma-based teaching today, as neuroscience came to validate what she had already directly experienced: the healing power of one-ness with Nature.