Cultivating, serenity, insight and the heart qualities


Silent retreats are opportunities to focus on cultivating the heart-mind and awakening psychological freedom.   They provide the external circumstances conducive to inner transformation, peace and harmony with oneself and others.



This retreat will be based on Theravada Buddhist meditation practices. It will focus on training in the cultivation of stillness/serenity and insight meditation. Instruction in the four heart qualities (loving kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity) will also be provided.  There will be evening talks and workshop style morning instruction with Mal as well as morning yoga sessions with Lisa. Short individual interviews with Mal will be possible after Monday 18th.


Yarrawarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre

 69 Red Rock Road, Corindi Beach 2456

Yarrawarra, meaning “happy meeting place”, is an Aboriginal cultural, conference and accommodation centre and is proudly owned and operated on a not-for-profit basis by Aboriginal people, predominantly from the Gumbaynggirr language group.


15th November – 22nd November 2019


This is a 7 day silent retreat commencing at 4pm on Friday 15th November. There is a 3 day option from Friday 15th to Monday 18th 



Some prior meditation experience required

This silent residential retreat is for anyone who has had some prior experience with meditation and wishes to enhance and practise his or her skills. The retreat is suited to the general public as well as health care practitioners, therapists, educators, programme leaders and it will partially fulfil CPD requirements for some professionals.   For those with aspirations to teach, this silent retreat will also partially fulfil requirements for teacher training in programmes such as Mindful Self Compassion (MSC) and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).


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General Aims of the Retreat

General aims of the retreat:

  • To provide the opportunity to experience first hand the cultivation of insight, stillness,  serenity and the heart qualities (loving kindness, compassion,  appreciative joy and equanimity).
  • To free oneself and others from psychological suffering and cultivate wellbeing and genuine happiness.  
  • To enhance the skills and understanding of anyone wishing to develop these qualities as well as provide new ideas for therapists, programme leaders and other professionals who already use mindfulness, compassion, loving kindness and related skills as part of their therapeutic and coaching repertoire.

Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better, it’s about befriending who we are.

– Ani Pema Chodron

Mal Huxter

Mal Huxter is a teacher of Buddhist meditation and a clinical psychologist in private practice. He is the author of “Healing the Heart and Mind with Mindfulness.”  A practicing psychologist for 28 years, he has been teaching mindfulness and the four heart qualities since 1991.  He began training in Buddhist meditation practices in 1975, living in Thailand as a Buddhist monk for two years in the late 1970’s.   As well as Theravada he has trained in other Buddhist and spiritual traditions. For more info about Mal go to:

Lisa Brown

Lisa Brown is a  Psychologist, Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) facilitator and yoga teacher. She currently works in private practice in Bellingen and Coffs Harbour and facilitates Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction groups and Trauma Sensitive Yoga classes. For more info about Lisa go to:

Meditation Retreats

Meditation involves the cultivation of mindfulness and focused attention.  Insight and serenity are the two aspects of Buddhist meditation. The four heart qualities (benevolent or loving kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity) can be cultivated as meditation practices and ways of relating to oneself and others.


Mindfulness is considered as a meditation practice, a way of being, a cognitive style, a mental skill, a core therapeutic process and a coping skill. Mindfulness has become a powerful psychological strategy for an array of mental health presentations as well as a practices to  increase psychological wellbeing and enhance effectiveness in areas that include parenting, education, relationships, the workplace and more. Some of the core contemporary third wave approaches that use mindfulness include: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR),  Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).  


Developing focussed attention or concentration is a key component of most meditation practices as well as many psychotherapeutic interventions.   When cultivated systematically it can result in relaxation, a calm mind, a peaceful heart and profound transformations in consciousness.


The health and relationship benefits of compassion and loving kindness are becoming evident with current scientific research.  The development of therapeutic and educational approaches such as Compassion Focussed Therapy (CFT), Cultivating Emotional Balance (CEB), Mindful Self Compassion (MSC) and Rick Hanson’s Positive Neuroplasticity Training (PNT) are gaining popularity with therapists and educators because they work to reduce mental and emotional suffering, harmonise interpersonal relationships, increase wellbeing, peace, joy and generally enhance functional agility in our complex modern world.


Two and a half millennia ago the Buddha taught the meditative development of mindfulness . (satipatthana-Pali) and concentration (Samadhi) as well as the four heart qualities as part of the eight fold path to  awakening.  


According to Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, a one-line description of mindfulness is: “to remember to pay attention to what is occurring in one’s immediate experience with care and discernment”.   The Buddha named the four divine abodes in Pali (the language closest to what he spoke):  metta (warm friendliness or loving kindness),  karuna (compassion),  mudita (appreciative or empathetic joy) and upekkhā (deep peacefulness or equanimity).  


In the time of the Buddha mindfulness and samadhi supported by and including the four heart qualities were taught in order to gain psychological freedom. The heart qualities in particular were taught in ways that would provide antidotes for unhealthy, divisive and destructive relationships towards self and others. Like medicine for an illness, the different qualities and different ways to cultivate them were prescribed dependent on the nature of the afflictive relationship.