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First Timer Retreat
for new or newish meditators
Friday, Aug 30 - Monday, Sep 2, 2024
Sea to Sky Retreat Centre, Whistler, BC
Lead by James Lowe and 
Wayne Myers Taylor

“I don’t really know what happens on a retreat, but I kinda want to try it. I have so many questions and feel intimidated because I’m new.”


“I don’t think I can meditate for that long, especially with more experienced meditators.”


“I know someone who wants to try a retreat, but they're intimidated to start.”

A First Timer Retreat


BCIMS is happy to offer a First Timer Retreat. This shorter residential retreat is a sample of a more extended retreat. It is designed for new - or newer - meditators to learn what a retreat is and how to live and practice in silence.


We’ll help you develop the stamina to meditate longer, and we’ll introduce and explain the etiquette and practices of meditation retreats. Best of all, you’ll be with new or newer meditators, so you can relax and enjoy the environment.


Only an hour and 20 minutes from Vancouver, the Sea to Sky Retreat Centre is nestled beside Daisy Lake near Whistler. We’ll offer kindness and appreciation meditations focusing on the forest, lakes, and mountains. These practices will ground and energize your meditation while you learn how to sustain longer and longer meditations.

What's different about this retreat

If you are new, this is a short retreat. Also, meditations are shorter than usual at the start and will gradually become longer as your stamina grows. You'll learn how to be comfortable and thrive in a retreat environment. During the four days, Wayne and James will explain retreat practices and etiquette. For example:

  • How to manage your thoughts and emotions, like boredom or the wild mind.

  • How to live in silence with other people.

  • How to be comfortable in the meditation hall.

  • How to reach out for help if you need it.

  • How to feel the support of other meditators because you are not alone.

If you're in or around Vancouver, it's easy to access, and you can be home within 90 minutes. From Vancouver you can drive a regular car to the retreat. 

A get-together before the retreat via Zoom

We will be hosting a Zoom get-to-know-others a month before the retreat. You'll meet Wayne and James and learn how they can support you. We will also cover some of the basics of retreat living and answer all your questions a month before we practice together.

  • Can I talk to someone while on retreat?

  • Do I bring books and journals?

  • Can I do yoga?

  • Is there hiking?

  • How much spare time do I have?

  • Is there a lounge?

  • What's the schedule like?

  • How much do I donate?

  • Is there coffee?

  • What's the food like?

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Here's how the retreat will unfold. This is a resource for you pre and post retreat.
Sea to Sky Retreat Centre

Jeanne and I look forward to sitting and talking with each of you. Our sincerest wish is for you to sense the dharma and the forest at the end of this retreat.

Guided meditations

I've attached a few guided meditations that are loosely based on Lovingkindness. If you wish, feel free to practice these before the retreat, and bring your questions if you have any.

A bell will ring at 20 and 30 minutes if you only want to sit for that long.

The first 20 minutes guides you through a grounding, anchoring or concentration practice. At the 30 minute mark the guided meditations take on a different direction. 

View of Meditation Garden
GroundingJames Lowe
00:00 / 30:25
Concentration: grounding in the body

This is a guided concentration practice. The aim is to strengthen your concentration and focus. Like a baseball and glove, the intention is to "catch" and "hold" the ball, or rather catch and hold onto your anchor in order to be grounded. A bell will ring at 20, but try for 30 minutes.

MindfulnessJames Lowe
00:00 / 45:40
Classical mindfulness

This is a basic mindfulness meditation. After grounding you'll practice bare attention or the practice of noting sensations without embellishing or adding to them. The purpose is to understand how we are always changing, and to release whatever thoughts and feelings are being held.

Lovingkindness: inner safetyJames Lowe
00:00 / 45:30
Inner safety


This is a Lovingkindness (metta) meditation. The aim is to cultivate a sense of natural warmth and tenderness. A subset of this is the feeling of inner mental and emotional safety. This meditation uses guided imagery to lead one to a sense of inner safety.

Lovingkindness: being healthy and strongJames Lowe
00:00 / 45:31
Inner health

This is a Lovingkindness (metta) meditation. The aim is to cultivate a sense of natural warmth and tenderness. A subset of this practice is developing an internal feeling of health that supports our mental and emotional life. As of April 2020, this might be very appropriate at the moment. It is helpful to be grounded in our body's natural health, and the body's natural ability to take care of itself.

Lovingkindness: inner easeJames Lowe
00:00 / 45:28
Inner ease

This is a Lovingkindness (metta) meditation. The aim is to cultivate a sense of natural warmth and tenderness. A subset of this practice is developing an internal feeling of ease. This meditation uses guided imagery to lead you to a sense of personal ease.

Sense doors and opening to natureJames Lowe
00:00 / 45:02
Sense doors and the beauty of nature

Opening to the sense doors and the beauty of nature. This guided meditation was used on a July 2021 Online Nature Retreat. The intention was to take your ear buds and phone to your favourite outdoor place (patio, park, trail) and practice this meditation.


Opening to the sense doors and the beauty of nature (July 2021 Retreat)

Opening to the Whole Body and Sense DoorsJames Lowe
00:00 / 45:02
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