The World as your Monastery

A Weekend Silent Retreat with Francis Bennett

September 21-23, 2018, 3:00 pm Friday through 1:00 pm Sunday
Whispering Springs Retreat Center at the Highlands Nature Sanctuary
Cost: $250/person plus optional lodging –  $60.00/night private room, $30/shared

There is a new monasticism that has been set loose in the world. It is not confined to literal cloisters of wood and stone but has developed and returned to the inner cloister of the heart. The walls of this new monastery encompass the whole world. ~ Francis Bennett.

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A Weekend of Inward Contemplation. This meditation retreat  is a time for silence, solitude and prayer. This sacred environment is conducive to participants whose lives center on spiritual practice and conducive to the ever-evolving transformation of our hearts. The daily schedule includes periods of meditation and Satsang, a time of companionship where questions may be asked of Francis. Outside of the Satsang, the retreat will be held in silence. The atmosphere is informal. Most participants meditate in a standard chair, but you may meditate in a seated floor position if you prefer. Just be sure to bring your own mat.


The Ambiance of a Silent Retreat. Silent Retreat can be a powerful scared container for serious spiritual practice. Every aspect of our usually distracting life tasks will be attended to by others, or entirely removed. This allows you to soak experience of Presence and gain insights difficult to attain in everyday, ordinary life. This type of retreat does not have hot tubs, massages and facials to pamper you, but rather meditation, silence and solitude to ease and quiet your soul. Attendees are provided daily teachings on Oneness, compassion and loving-kindness.  You will also be given opportunities for discourse with Francis, and instruction and support on your own meditation practice. The resulting weekend is a sacred container so precious, so supportive and so complete, that nothing is left to dilute the focused exploration of mind and heart. You may be the recipient of insights so deep and transformative that you can devote the rest of one’s life to and integrating them.


Food, Travel and Accommodations This retreat will be held in the tranquility of the beautiful 2600-acre nature preserve known as the Highlands Nature Sanctuary. The weekend hub will be at Whispering Springs, in a beautiful dome house known as the Earthstar, a building with natural rounded contours, much light, and wooden interior. Maximum attendance is 35 people. Lodging locally in one of the Sanctuary’s beautiful overnight facilities is optional but highly encouraged so that you can fully enjoy the full benefits of an undisturbed retreat atmosphere. Prices are as shown, but if you wish to upgrade to the Zen or Eyrie Suites – private facilities for 1-2 people perched on the rim of the Rocky Fork Gorge, you can request an upgrade. All meals are provided from Friday supper through Sunday lunch. The fare will be hearty vegetarian guaranteed to please all palates. Gluten-free and vegan preferences can be accommodated. Participants may fly into either Cincinnati or Columbus. Both airports are 1 hour and forty minutes away from the Sanctuary. Shuttles are not available so participants may need to rent a car. If you wish to car-share from your home or airport, please let us know and we will get you in contact with other interested participants.


What to bring Very little needs to be packed with you. Wear comfortable clothes, some outdoor wear if you plan to take some short walks outside (the Sanctuary has many hiking trails), and your own accessories if you wish to meditate on the floor instead of the provided chair. Please note that the Sanctuary is in a rural location in the foothills of the Appalachians. Cell phone coverage is spotty and connectivity depends on your phone service company. However, wi-fi is available at the Museum headquarters  one mile from Whispering Springs, and a two mile drive to Highway 50 connects to nearly every provider.




Teacher, Francis Bennett

Photo by Tim Pohlar
Photo by Tim Pohlar