March 11, 2021

Metta: Lovingkindness Retreat | May 19-24 | 21SS0

Metta: Lovingkindness Retreat

Sharon Salzberg, Winnie Nazarko, Greg Scharf and Oren Jay Sofer

Wednesday, May 19 – Monday, May 24

Both Webinar and Meeting Format (Some program sessions allow you to see and hear only the teacher, while other program sessions will allow you to see and hear the teacher as well as other program participants).

Metta is the Pali word for friendship or lovingkindness. It is taught as a meditation that cultivates our natural capacity for an open and loving heart. With its roots in practices said to have been taught by the Buddha himself, metta is traditionally offered along with meditations that enrich compassion, joy in the happiness of others, and equanimity. These practices lead to the development of concentration, fearlessness, happiness, and a greater ability to love.
Open to both new and experienced meditators, this retreat includes instructions for sitting and walking meditation practice, Q&A, and talks about the teachings. Mindful movement is offered by Calia Marshall. All are welcome!

For this course, sliding scale fees are $200, $325, or $500. We also offer a scholarship fee of $100, and no-fee enrollment for those who request a fee-waiver. Our “Pay What You Can Afford” system supports the cultivation of a dynamic and inclusive community and contributes to the health and vibrancy of the sangha. Email for more information or to request a scholarship or no-fee enrollment.

Teacher Support
Most IMS teachers—like insight teachers around the world—rely on the generosity of students for their livelihood, and receive no compensation from course fees. (Click here to learn more about the dana practice.) There will be an opportunity to offer a contribution to your teachers at the end of your program, or you may donate now.



Daily Schedule – times listed in Eastern Standard Time (EST)
Note: all sessions (except movement) will be recorded and posted so you can view it later if you missed one. (Note: evening chanting and the two Q&R sessions will have the audio only recorded and made available on Dharma Seed)
Wednesday, May 19
7 – 8:30 pm – Opening Session – Sharon, Oren, Greg, Winnie, Calia
9 – 9:30 pm – Sitting Meditation & Chanting – Winnie
Thursday, May 20
10 – 11 am – Meditation Instructions – Oren
1:30 – 2:30 pm – Mindful Movement with Calia
4 – 5 pm – Guided Meditation & Q&A – with Sharon
7 – 8 pm – Dharma Talk – Greg
8:45 – 9:30 pm – Sitting Meditation & Chanting – Oren
Friday, May 21
10 – 11 am – Meditation Instructions – Greg
11:30 – 12:15 pm – Q&R – Winnie
1:30 – 2:30 pm – Mindful Movement with Calia
4 – 5 pm – Guided Meditation & Q&A – with Sharon
7 – 8 pm – Dharma Talk – Oren
8:45 – 9:30 pm – Sitting Meditation & Chanting – Oren
Saturday, May 22
10 – 11 am – Meditation Instructions – Oren
1:30 – 2:30 pm – Mindful Movement with Calia
4 – 5 pm – Guided Meditation & Q&A – with Sharon
7 – 8 pm – Dharma Talk – Winnie
8:45 – 9:30 pm – Sitting Meditation & Chanting – Greg
Sunday, May 23
10 – 11 am – Meditation Instructions – Winnie
11:30 – 12:15 pm – Q&R – Greg
1:30 – 2:30 pm – Mindful Movement with Calia
4 – 5 pm – Guided Meditation & Q&A – with Sharon
7 – 8 pm – Dharma Talk – Winnie, Greg, Oren
8:45 – 9:30 pm – Sitting Meditation & Chanting – Greg
Monday, May 24
10 – 11:30 am – Closing Session – Winnie, Greg, Oren, Calia
Sample schedule for home practice listed in Eastern Time ET (please adjust for your time)
Opening Session: 7:00 – 8:30 pm ET

Walking or movement: 8:30 – 9:00 pm
Sitting meditation: 9:00 – 9:30 pm
Thursday – Sunday
7:00  – 7:45 am Sitting meditation
7:45  –  10 am Breakfast  (Personal practice / Attend to daily life)
10:00 – 11:00 am Group Session 1: Meditation Instructions
11:00 – 11:30 am Walking meditation
11:30 – 12:00 pm Sitting meditation
12:00 – 1:30 pm Lunch (Personal practice / Attend to daily life)
1:30  – 2:30 pm Group Session 2: Mindful Movement
2:30  – 4:00 pm Personal Practice (sitting, walking, daily life)
4:00  – 5:00 pm Group Session 3: Guided Meditation & Q&A with Sharon
5:00  – 5:30 pm Walking or sitting meditation?
5:30  – 7:00 pm Dinner (Personal practice / Attend to daily life)
7:00  – 8:00 pm Group Session 4: Dharma Talk
8:00  – 8:45 pm Walking meditation
8:45  – 9:30 pm Group Session 5: Sitting meditation with Chanting
9:30 pm Further practice or rest
Monday, May 24:
7:00  – 7:45 am Sitting meditation
7:45  –  10 am Breakfast  (Personal practice / Attend to daily life)
10:00 – 11:30 am Closing Session


Teacher Bios

Sharon Salzberg is a meditation pioneer and industry leader, a world-renowned teacher and New York Times bestselling author. As one of the first to bring meditation and mindfulness into mainstream American culture over 45 years ago, her relatable, demystifying approach has inspired generations of meditation teachers and wellness influencers. Sharon is co-founder of The Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA, and the author of eleven books, including the New York Times bestseller, Real Happiness, now in its second edition, her seminal work, Lovingkindness and her newest book, Real Change: Mindfulness To Heal Ourselves and the World, coming in September of 2020 from Flatiron Books. Sharon’s secular, modern approach to Buddhist teachings is sought after at schools, conferences and retreat centers around the world. Sharon is the host of her own podcast, The Metta Hour, featuring 100+ interviews with the top leaders and voices in the meditation and mindfulness movement, and her writing can be found on Medium, On Being, the Maria Shriver blog, and Huffington Post.  Learn more at

Winnie Nazarko attended her first meditation retreat in 1981, after a co-worker convinced her that it would be interesting. And it was interesting, just not in the way she expected. After that long weekend with Stephen and Andrea Levine, she knew she had touched something deeply truthful, although she couldn’t quite describe it. It did, however, seem to do with transparency of being, equanimity, and lack of fear.

This was the beginning of a period of intensive dharma search and practice, bringing her into connection with many outstanding teachers. Among these have been Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, Steve Armstrong, Kamala Masters, and Jack Kornfield. From their diversity of teaching styles, she came to appreciate the very individual ways the Dharma is expressed through the prism of specific personalities and life experiences. While the truth is universal, the expression of that truth is personal and uses the language of direct experience.

Winnie’s own orientation to practice is rooted in a background of human service work and the desire to relieve human suffering. After years of work with issues of violence, and hunger, it became apparent that the largest single impediment to collective human progress is the level of development of the average human mind.

In 1998, she was asked to teach the Dharma by Joseph Goldstein. She does so to help people open their full potential, in the interest of their own happiness and well-being and for the benefit of others who their lives affect.

Winnie’s teachings are rooted in the Eight Fold Path taught by the Buddha, with particular emphasis on aligning motivation with the student’s highest and wisest aspiration. Letting go (renunciation) and self-compassion are taught as essential, foundational attitudes supporting practice. Meditation instructions draw on a variety of approaches, and emphasize grounding, embodiment, and equanimity which can be carried into daily life. When appropriate, students are given customized instructions which work with the actual experiences they are having, rather than insisting one method of practice works in all cases. The emphasis is on “skillful means”, understanding that students come to meditation from many different circumstances and experiences.

Greg Scharf began meditating in 1992 at retreats taught by senior teachers from the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Drawn to practice and travel in Asia, he developed a long-term relationship with practice and service in Burma (Myanmar), and discovered a deep heart connection with Indian devotional traditions, both of which continue to this day. In the Fall of 1998 Greg ordained as a Buddhist monk and continued his training in robes through 1999.

Greg began teaching residential meditation retreats in 2007 and currently teaches both in the US and abroad. He is particularly interested in teaching longer, intensive retreats and has been teaching the Three-Month Retreat at Insight Meditation Society, and the month-long retreats at Spirit Rock Meditation Center for many years. In addition, Greg currently serves as a Guiding Teacher at IMS.

Greg’s teaching emphasizes the understanding that the meditative process is fundamentally an exploration of Nature and natural processes. In his teaching, he stresses the critical importance of bringing the qualities of kindness, compassion, and a sense of humor to meditation practice.

Oren Jay Sofer has practiced Buddhist meditation since 1997 and teaches meditation and communication nationally. He holds a degree in Comparative Religion from Columbia University, is a member of the Spirit Rock Teacher’s Council, a Certified Trainer of Nonviolent Communication, and a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner for healing trauma. Oren is also author of Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communicationand the founder of Next Step Dharma, an online course focused on living the path of awakening in our daily lives. Learn more at:

Information you might find helpful:
Guidelines For Your Home Retreat
IMS Online Program Etiquette
IMS Online FAQ’s