Volunteer Retreats

Each and every one of Tovana's courses is only made possible through the generosity of our practitioners. If you have been in a Tovana course and felt that you gained something from the experience, you can help give that gift to others.

A Volunteer Retreat is a golden opportunity to combine giving, doing, and practicing, and helps us bridge the gap between what we experience on the meditation cushion and our everyday lives. It enables us to apply what we learn and gain from practice to our interactions with others and daily activities. In addition, our volunteer work in the retreat frees another group of practitioners to fully focus on their meditation without distraction, just as others made that possible for us when we were in a course.

The volunteers in a retreat help answer the everyday needs of the participants and cook together the meals for the course. The work is accompanied by participation in meditation sittings, Dharma talks, and personal meetings with the teachers. Volunteers experience the joy of generosity and strengthen their focus by practicing mindfulness during work together with the rest of the staff, in an atmosphere of concentration, love, sharing, and respect. Meditation together with mindfulness through doing is an incredibly powerful combination that enriches our personal practice and brings it a step closer to our everyday lives.

A Zen story tells of a student who asked his teacher, "What is the highest form of practice?"

"Sitting in meditation," answered the teacher.

"But I never see you meditating," said the student. "You are always active, working in the garden, taking care of the accounts, meeting with visitors, and so on."

"Yes," answered the teacher, "it is true that I am busy all day with the accounts, the gardens, the monastery, the kitchens, the visitors... but I never stop meditating!"

The kitchen and course staff are all volunteers who have participated in at least one Tovana course in the past, felt that they gained something from it, and decided to come back as volunteers. If you have participated in a Tovana course and are interested in trying a Volunteer Retreat, please fill out the Volunteer Retreat Registration Form, and one of our volunteer coordinators will get in touch with you.

Any questions? Please contact us at mitnadvim@tovana.co.il.