Setu Half-Week Meditation Retreat

Find Meaning and Depth in Your Later Years

These retreats are based on the concept of setu (Sanskrit for “bridge”). The Setu Program is based on the understanding that death is not the end of life but the closing of a chapter, and that what comes next is shaped by how we think and live today. These retreats are for people who are 65 and older, or facing a life-threatening illness.

Senior
Retreat
Tomales, California, USA
5 days

Each year’s retreat has a different theme, for example “Forgiveness” or “Detachment”, drawn from the aspirations in our “Essence of Setu” worksheet.

The atmosphere at our Setu retreats is warm, respectful, accepting, and kind.

By the end of the retreat you’ll have

    • Absorbed yourself in Easwaran’s books and talks, finding answers and inspiration for facing life’s biggest challenges
    • Found ways to talk to your family and friends about Setu, so if you’re in the hospital or approaching death, they can help you spiritually
    • Developed a personal plan to work on the “Essence of Setu” aspirations through your practice of the eight points
    • Learned about resources to keep you supported and connected with others after the retreat.
    The workshops are interactive, and you can speak up as much or as little as you choose.

    Workshops include
        • Reading and video studies
        • Small group brainstorms
        • Individual reflection time using worksheets.

        Your retreat will be facilitated by four BMCM presenters who are longtime passage meditators, have completed a five-year training program, and have many years of experience with the Setu Program.


        A Setu retreat will be a good fit for you if you’ve been practicing Easwaran’s eight-point program for at least twelve months, and are still active and independent.

        Our retreat house is in a rural area and is not designed for assisted living. We can help you in small ways, such as carrying bags to your room, but you’ll need to be fully responsible for traveling here and taking care of your day-to-day basic needs.

        We only have two rooms on the first floor and we give those on a first come, first served basis. If you can’t climb stairs, we may need to put you on a waiting list before we can guarantee you a place.

        If you feel that you may not be able to manage independently, you can find inspiration right away from Easwaran's teachings by selecting the "Setu" filter, and join a Returnee Online Workshop for Passage Meditators.

        If you you don't meet the prerequisites below, you could first join an Introductory Weekend Retreat or Introductory Webinar. Please contact us if you have any questions.

        If you are aged 65 or over, we ask that

        • You have attended a BMCM Returnee Weekend retreat, Senior Retreat, or Weeklong Retreat within the past three years, and
        • You have been meditating daily using passage meditation for the past 12 months.

        If you have a life-threatening illness or progressively debilitating condition, at any age, we ask that you have been meditating daily using passage meditation for the past six months, and

        If you are retired, active, and younger than 65, please choose a Weeklong Retreat instead. A Weeklong Retreat is best for those who still have the interest, health, and energy to make an active contribution to the outside world. On the whole, we’ve found that people who are 65 and over are more aware of the challenges of old age and more focused on preparing for what lies ahead.

        If you are a passage meditator and a close relative of a senior retreat participant, you’re also welcome to attend with your close relative. You will then be better prepared to understand and support the spiritual practice of your relative back home. We ask that
        • You have attended a BMCM Returnee Weekend, Senior Retreat, or Weeklong Retreat within the past three years, and
        • You have been meditating daily using passage meditation for the past 12 months.

        Fee

        The standard fee is $400. The sliding scale is $325–$500.

        The commuter fee (for program and meals, without accommodation) is $250.

        Fee for Young Adults (late teens, 20s and 30s)

        The standard fee is $200. The sliding scale is $100–$300.

        The commuter fee (for program and meals, without accommodation) is $200.

        Explanation of Sliding Scale

        • Our sliding scale means that you can choose the price that's right for you. If you can pay the standard fee, that will cover the cost of your retreat.
        • Please choose a lower fee if the standard fee is too much for you to afford.
        • If you add a donation to the standard fee, that will help others to attend – thank you!

        The BMCM is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. All of our work is made possible by donations. While income from books and retreats covers a portion of our costs, everything we do depends on the generosity of those who benefit from Easwaran’s teachings.

        Each dollar paid over the standard fee is a tax-deductible contribution. We keep all donations and fee payments confidential.

        Financial Aid

        You're welcome to attend this program with a scholarship if you need to pay less than the lowest end of the sliding scale. Our scholarship fund is created out of donations from generous friends to help more people attend programs.

        We also offer payment plans, so you can pay your fee in installments.                                           

        For either a scholarship or payment plan, please don’t register online, and instead write to financial.aid@easwaran.org or call us at 800.475.2369. We’ll get back to you within three days.

        Refund

        If you need to cancel your retreat, please let us know as soon as possible and we’ll refund your full fee.

        The retreat starts on Friday at 4 p.m. and ends on Tuesday at 10 a.m.

        Check out a sample schedule.

        Accommodation

        We provide linens, towels, and soap.

        Our retreat house is a restored bed and breakfast, set in a peaceful garden with views of rural Marin County. 

        We have two bedrooms at ground level reserved for retreatants who can’t climb stairs. The other 11 bedrooms are accessed via a flight of stairs. Some bedrooms have en suite bathrooms, others have a bathroom next door.

        Two bedrooms on the second floor are single, and we give these to people with medical needs (to someone who uses a CPAP machine, for instance). The other bedrooms are shared with one other person. You can tell us in advance if you’d like to share a room with your friend or partner.

        The workshop room and dining room are on the ground level, and the meditation room is down a flight of stairs. You can also meditate in the workshop room if you can’t climb stairs.

        Meals

        Our meals are home-cooked and vegetarian. There's lots of food to choose from, plenty to eat, and we never skimp on dessert. If you have a dietary restriction, we’ll provide a special meal.

        Tea, coffee, snacks, and fresh fruit are available at all times.

        “This retreat moved my practice from my head to my heart, from rational discipline to a stirring of love that I had not felt before. It was a gift that I continue to nurture.”

        Thea, San Jose, California

        “As friends and family members begin to pass away, Setu retreats give me what I need for myself and others. Really appreciate unstructured afternoon time. This work is deep, difficult, and demanding, but where else can you go to get something like this?”

        Ermona, Wheaton, Maryland

        “I feel well equipped to prepare to support my family and friends who are nearing their last days in this life, and to help guide my family to support me when I need them. It was motivational, encouraging, inspirational, and emotional. Sri Easwaran has left us with a most beautiful gift. Thank you!”

        Carol, Nevada City, California

        I had a wonderful time at the Setu weekend retreat. I am at an advanced age (a senior citizen), and it is time to start thinking about, and preparing for, the end of my life. It eased my fear and anxiety for what may happen in the future.

        Bernard Zemble, Las Vegas, Nevada

        Our retreat house is located in the small town of Tomales in West Marin, 55 miles north of San Francisco.

        See the BMCM Retreat house in Google maps.

        For information about travel by car, air, and public transit, download our travel information PDF.