The Convergence of Awareness and Love

Wisdom practices are commonly distinguished from practices of kindness and compassion. Often, meditation practitioners feel drawn to either the wisdom aspect or the heart aspect. However, Buddhist psychology suggests a powerful connection between awareness and love. In insight meditation, we practice resting, looking deeply, knowing moment-by-moment what it’s like to be human. Initially, some of us are hesitant to look because we’re concerned what we’ll find. But our practice shows us that the more deeply we look into experience, the more reason we have to love.

As the attention stabilizes, we begin to sense the poignancy of our wish to be happy. Seeing this, we care about our struggles and cherish our joy in a new way. In turn, this love informs how we engage with the world. The face of emptiness is love. 

The retreat will include sitting and walking meditation, practice instructions, and dharma talks. The retreat is appropriate for new or experienced meditators. All are welcome.

Matthew Brensilver, PhD, is a member of the Teachers Council and Guiding Teachers Committee at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He previously served as Program Director for Mindful Schools and, for more than a decade, was a core teacher at Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society. He lectures at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center about the intersections between mindfulness and mental health. Before committing to teach meditation full-time, he spent years doing research on addiction pharmacotherapy at the UCLA Center for Behavioral and Addiction Medicine and is interested in the unfolding dialogue between dharma and science. Matthew is the co-author of two forthcoming books on meditation in adolescence.


November 8, 2019 - November 10, 2019. 3 pm check-in on the 8th. Retreat ends after lunch on the 10th.


San Luis Rey Retreat Center

4050 Mission Avenue, Oceanside CA 92057

Parking is free

Registration Info:

Advance registration required. The cost to attend is $150 (commuter), $265 (double/shared room), or $350 (single room). Scholarship funds are available should finances be an obstacle (see registration page).


Your generous support is needed! You may or may not be aware that the dharma teacher is solely supported by the generosity of the students. Registration fees for retreats cover expenses including food, facilities, and scholarships. None of these fees go directly to the teacher.

At the end of the retreat, you will be given the opportunity to offer dana so the teacher may continue their dharma work. We cannot recommend an amount to donate as the teachings are considered priceless--your offering should be given from the heart.

Retreat Center:

Located next to the Mission San Luis Rey, the retreat center offers 56 acres of property with beautiful gardens and walkways. There is a swimming pool available at no charge to Retreat Center guests.

Rooms and Dining:

Each room typically has two twin beds, a sink, and a desk. European-style restrooms in the hallways have private showers and toilets. Linens and towels are provided. Each room has individual controls for heat; air conditioning is not provided.

Single, double, and commuter options are available during registration.

Vegetarian meals will be served buffet style in the dining room, and outdoor and patio seating is also available.