Retreats at the Samadhi Center

Deep meditation and Self Inquiry Retreats

About the Samadhi Center

The Samadhi Center, located about half way between Toronto and Ottawa, is a space dedicated to awakening, which is the direct knowing of your true nature. The Center has been a place for people to practice meditation and engage in deep self inquiry since 2017. Meditation retreats have been happening on the property since 2009. The Center is located in a beautiful pine forest setting near near Bancroft, Ontario.

If you are local (in the Bancroft area), drop in and join us in the Zendo for morning meditation 7:00AM-8:00AM. During some retreats the morning meditation may not be available for local attendance. Please email with any questions about specific dates or to confirm your attendance if it is your first time attending. We have daily/weekly offerings of yoga, self inquiry, breath work and other modalities which you can sign up for at this link.

Our retreats are for those truly interested in becoming free of their conditioning and the pathological thinking that we have inherited from the past.
Come to the Samadhi Center to “die before you die”.

The Samadhi Center is open to everyone regardless of experience, background and religion. At the Samadhi Center we teach both meditation and self inquiry, or you could say the long path (traditional meditation and clearing of sankaras or energy patterns) and the short path (realization of the ever-present awareness). Practicing meditation alone may reduce suffering in one’s life, but may never lead to realization of the immanent self (Atman or soul) beyond name and form. And self inquiry on it’s own may bring a recognition of one’s true self, but if the habit patterns of the mind have not been cleaned and purified, then one usually loses the experience and falls back into conditioned behaviors. Practising both simultaneously is a way to clean and purify the human vessel to house the awakened self permanently. The Samadhi that comes and goes is not the true Samadhi. For more detailed understanding of our approach, check out the article “Awakening and Enlightenment: Always Being Buddha, Always Becoming Buddha”

Samadhi is an ancient Sanskrit word for which there is no modern equivalent. It was chosen as the name for this center because it honors the spirit of the traditions which have helped connect people to their true nature for thousands of years. To realize Samadhi is to learn to die before you die. Within different traditions the word Samadhi has many different meanings, which can lead to much confusion. Rather than trying to define it, we guide participants towards a direct realization of it. It is not something to be understood with the mind, because it is ultimately a cessation of identification with the limited mind, and eventually a relaxing of the egoic mind’s control over one’s life. However it is extremely beneficial to study and shape the mind into a tool that will support Samadhi, as opposed to hindering it. To the limited mind Samadhi must must remain a mystery, while prajna or wisdom is the realization of our true nature. Samadhi is realized directly through pure forms of deep meditation, prayer and self-inquiry, as well as working with and merging with the inner world and inner energy. It flowers into its full expression as the wisdom attained in meditation is integrated into every day life, and as levels of self are realized, purified, and come into alignment with the immanent Self. 

Meditation Retreats

A meditation retreat is an opportunity to move out of the endless patterns of doing to experience simply being; to become a true human-being as opposed to a human-doing. It is not an escape from your life, nor is it a holiday or time for relaxation, but rather it can be likened to doing deep surgery on one’s entire being. Intensive meditation helps one to become free from the conditioned patterns that cause suffering. Rather than an escape from life, it is actually the way to engage more fully with life, to cultivate greater equanimity and presence in every facet of one’s existence. It is now becoming well-known that practicing meditation provides many benefits such as improved heath, stress reduction, improved productivity, improved mental focus, emotional stability and improvements in overall well-being. These are all valuable benefits to one’s life, yet the true gift of meditation is to realize Samadhi, which is immeasurably greater than anything that could be conveyed in mere words. Samadhi is the 8th and final part of the Buddha’s noble eightfold path, and the 8th limb of Patanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga, and is described as a “union” or collapse of duality which is unfathomable to the dualistic mind.

Rather than following one particular tradition, we borrow from many traditions freely. It is our understanding that there is one perennial truth or transcendent reality which is reflected in the many world spiritual traditions, and it is our intention to convey our unique expression of it using all available means. Those who are familiar with Vipassana retreats or the Zen Sesshin format will find a similar level of structure and opportunity for deep meditation practice. In our retreats we incorporate (but are not limited to) facets of the Zen sesshin, elements from the Vipassana traditions, as well as Christian mysticism, the yogic traditions, Vedanta, Samkhya, and non-dualism and others. All traditions and teachings are merely pointers to the unfathomable inner source which is beyond the limited egoic mind. The facilitators, provide instructions and teachings as needed throughout the retreats, as well as private consultation. .

The Zen term “sesshin” means something like “gathering the heart-mind”, and this phrase reflects the essence of our meditation retreats. The sesshin is a period of intensive practice, during which all efforts and energies are focused or “gathered” for the purpose of awakening out of one’s conditioned or unconscious patterns and recognizing a new level of consciousness; a consciousness in which the egoic mind becomes a servant to the heart. Likewise, Vipassana, one of the world’s oldest meditation techniques taught 2500 years ago by the Buddha, is a process of deep self inquiry and purification. In the same way the 8 limbs of yoga are aimed at purifying oneself through deep concentration and surrender in order to reach Samadhi. Regardless of which teachings one is familiar with, it is our intention to allow participants to explore the experiential truth that comes through single-pointed concentration and inner non-resistance. Through meditation practice we are able to observe and purify the self structure, which is the cause of all suffering, and to awaken the spiritual heart which is beyond name and form. The spiritual heart has gone by many names throughout history and is also known as the true self, the selfless self, Atman (soul), Anatta or “no self”, Buddha nature, and Christ Consciousness.

Meditation Techniques

At the Samadhi Center our team of experienced meditators offer and explore many effective techniques to assist you on your inner journey. As one moves toward inner stillness, one lets go of any technique or anything that is held in the mind. We simply allow reality to be as it is, which means a surrender, inner letting go and eventual cessation of the egoic mind structures, including techniques. At the beginning one uses techniques to cultivate the capacity for unwavering concentration on the meditation object. Like two wings of a bird the two aspects of duality, Shakti and Shiva, surrender and presence, yin and yang, carry one to Samadhi. Check out the core guided meditations here.


The self inquiry practice at the Samadhi Center has evolved over many years. It is in many ways similar to the Charles Berner technique, which combines the ancient self inquiry, ‘Who Am I,’ with a Western psychology technique developed by Ava Berner called the relating dyad. Working in partners, one person witnesses while the other engages in the inner investigation of who they are. The result is a quickening of the awakening of the primordial self or one’s true nature. Rather than spending years at a monastery, it is possible for some people to realize their true nature within a few days. After decades of refinement of this technique it has been observed that typically 20-30% of people at a self inquiry intensive will experience kensho or samadhi.


Based on the self inquiry of Ramana Maharshi, insights from the Zen tradition, the Charles Berner self inquiry method as well as the dyad techniques used in modern psychology, this self inquiry creates conditions of no escape for the ego structure. Working continuously from early morning to late at night, participants alternate roles in dyads (groups of two), where one person is a witness and the other engages in deep inner investigation to realize their true nature.


At our longer retreats retreat there is a breath work component. The system used is called “Elemental Breathing”, which is designed to facilitate a deep letting go and healing of past experiences. It is facilitated by John Cross who is trained in this system.

Other Tools and Modalities

Each day there is “group process” where participants check in with the facilitators, share experiences and ask questions. Techniques are offered to help participants move beyond the hindrances that come up in meditation, and it is generally a time to share what we have learned on the path of awakening.


Yaza is a Zen/Japanese Buddhist term which means “extra” meditation, and has also taken on the meaning of “night meditation”. At our retreats we offer participants the opportunity to meditate through the night. While yaza is optional, sitting at night can allow for a profound deepening of meditative states, and the possibility for exploration of the immaterial jhanas.


Participants will have the opportunity to stay connected to their inner energy and oriented inward towards awareness itself by maintaining silence throughout the retreat. Although there is no talking, gesturing or writing between participants, the silence is held in a way that can foster a deep connection to each other; a compassionate contribution to the group’s practice. There will be opportunities for questions and discussion during the daily group process, and in working with the facilitators. At times it may be necessary to communicate verbally in order to complete certain work, in which case speaking is allowed for that purpose only. We want to avoid chatting and activation of the mind so that we can come to a place of inner peace and stillness. “Be still and know.


The ancient spiritual teachers taught “nada Brahma”; the universe is vibration (emptiness dancing).

Sound has been used for healing and transformation for thousands of years in cultures around the world. Everything in the universe is vibrating in a cosmic symphony. At the Samadhi Center a variety of instruments may be used during sound meditations. In particular we feel that the gong is a special instrument that can be used as powerful meditation tool. We have 6 Paiste gongs, including an incredible custom 55″ gong which produces a unique sound experience. During sound meditation people can be sitting, lying down, or moving in response to the vibration. We encourage people to experience the transcendent effects of the gongs through their inner energy rather than through the mind, to realize aspects of the inner world which may otherwise be hidden.

Each day there is a sound journey using gongs, singing bowls and other instruments to connect you deeply to the inner worlds and to help move stuck energies. In addition the group will do a type of free vocalizing or sounding that allows the voice to be expressed unmediated by the conditioned mind. This process helps one to get themselves out of the way and to find their authentic voice.

Nahel Aouane
Nahel Aouane
Eye opening retreat, Jenn, Jerome and Daniel were part of that amazing experience, I would recommend this center to anyone in search of themselves, inner inquiry, and empty the mind. We will come back for sure, coming back to reality after spending time there is difficult. We wanted to stay !! Love & Light ❤️✨
Michael Piernitzki
Michael Piernitzki
My 10 Day Silent Retreat experience was powerful. The distinctions of the teachings were presented creatively with competency and compassion. Dan, Lilla ,Jenn, John and Jerome entered into relationship with us coming from a deep commitment to serve our evolution as practioners. There was abundant humour as well as a disciplined approach to practice. I had a very cosy little cabin that became home for the 10 days. The food was absolutely amazing, creatively prepared with Love. At the conclusion of the retreat all of us were in deep rapport and in deep appreciation of each other as well as having a deep appreciation of Dan, Lilla , Jenn, John and Jerome and, of course the cooks (-: A Magical, Mystical 10 days well spent. Michael Piernitzki
Annelene Sillet
Annelene Sillet
This is a place for transformation. I was held with love in a safe space to be able to just focus my attention on going within! I have been here twice and both experiences have been life changing! Food, staff, green areas, common areas are amazing! Bathrooms are clean. Gracias gracias gracias!
Sofia Cortina
Sofia Cortina
The 10 IAM retreat was beyond my expectations, what I expressed here will fall short of what it was for me. I'm in complete Awe and gratitude and it has been the best gift I have given to myself to experience the fullness of my being. The space has an amazing vibe, quiet, breath taking landscapes and beautiful sunrise and sunsets. The stay was very comfortable, every detail has been well thought out and harmoniously curated. Dan has been one of the most beautiful beings I have ever met, his practice, teaching and presence are impeccable, he has the perfect compendium to carry out the awakening to your experience. The team John, Lilla, Jerome, Jenn and Chad, each an expert in their area, it has been enriching to meet them and live so many moments together. I recommend it to all people, there is no particular profile, from opening yourself to the experience, the discomfort of the mind, learning to meet great people without the need to know who they are, going deeper into meditation, aha! moments, even the craziest things that comes to mind, what you cannot imagine because it goes beyond what you know or have been told. Thank you Dan for everything, defo will come back for more.
andrew crawford
andrew crawford
The Samadhi Centre is an amazing place to come & discover one’s true self. Warning… The effort that is dedicated to one’s own discoveries will help create experiences that are truly life altering & uplifting. Dan is a fantastic facilitator for the human spirit on this journey through life. Humbled & honoured to be apart of this amazing space & experiences that will carry well into the future. With all my heart: Thank you Dan for having the vision & personal experiences to create such a loving environment. May others come and explore the light within themselves. Namaste
Nick Laperle
Nick Laperle
The Samadhi Center 10-day retreat has been nothing short of the most impactful experience along my path. Being in the presence of such a teacher, is a gift, well beyond words..and what to say of the incredible team that surrounds Dan, and the safe environment they all co-create - such a blessing. Thank You.
Monica Soler
Monica Soler
10 Days I am retreat, is Perfectly designed. All activities, schedules, food, Self inquiry and rest times lead me to a state of stillness and freedom to awaken in a loving way. I have witnessed incredible awakenings during the retreat, in perfect synchronicity and harmony. No words to describe my gratitude and Love ! Blessings
Dianne Maltais
Dianne Maltais
The IAM retreat at this centre is perfect for serious meditation practice and inquiry about one's true nature. Every activity is aligned to provoke "spiritual awakening", and a shift in perception, to discern what is true... from what is not. Serious, beautiful, and loving people. Beautiful setting in a magnificent garden. One could not ask for more.
L Pan
L Pan
What a great journey! This 10 days IAM retreat is a gift from GOD , is life changing. I could not say enough of my gratitude. It is an express train bringing you directly to peace, to stillness, towards ultra truth. I enjoy every minutes of it. While the retreat day after day gradually unfolding, I had to exclaim how thoughtful and perfect the retreat was designed ! The schedule of each day, the activities from day 1 to day 10, step by step, bring you to deeper and deeper presence. I had never thought I could witness so many Awaken! Greatly encouraged me on this journey. The destiny of the journey is no longer out of reach. With Samadhi Center being here, holding my hands on the path, I see Awakening is just here. With Gratitude and Love ❤️
Michélè Heath
Michélè Heath
This retreat was a life changing experience for me with aha moments every single day. The staff are all so caring and attentive, the meals were phenomenal and the surrounding landscape was breathtaking. No detail is overlooked as you immerse yourself into deep meditation, inner development and self realization. This retreat is the best gift you can give yourself in this lifetime.