I went to my first silent retreat at Silent Stay in Montecito, and it became one of the most heart-awakening experiences I’ve ever had. Our days in the retreat consist of 3 parts - meditation hour, non-doing period, and sitting period. We do everything in silence, and it’s the most extended time I went without talking. Here are my 3 key takeaways from the silent retreat and why everyone should do one: ✨Learn to quiet your mind so you can hear your heart: We live in a world that is addicted to busyness, and our awareness gets buried by daily life. To access our ocean of awareness, we must constantly practice recycling our thoughts. Bath yourself in silence to move away from your head so you can hear your heart speaks. ✨Find and hold your inner child often: Do you remember what made the little you happy? Find her, hold her, talk to her, care for her, have fun with her, and do anything that makes the both of you happy. ✨The importance of “non-doing” and “just-being”: 無為. This is the hardest for me, but I find stillness and contentment when I stop thinking about what’s next and genuinely be in the moment with my surroundings. I’m not a religious person, but I believe in energy work 🌸 I sometimes think there’s a very old wise soul living in my body 😆 And for the first time, I could connect with her. Believe it or not, the moment I accessed the stillness and peace within me, I cried with joy! I realized that after becoming an adult, I’ve let my mind constantly take over most of my decision-making in life. I became too serious with everything I did. In the retreat, I was easily lightened up every day by something I did not discover the day before ☺️ I bathe myself in silence and listen to nature speak. The rest is the practice of balancing the mind and the heart in the most beautiful setting of Montecito. For almost everything in life, when you simply unplug it for a little bit, everything will start working again. So are humans :) And I just went in for a factory reset, you can too.“Don’t let the world bury your awareness. May the silence carry you closer to who you are.” ❤️ @silentstayretreat
Dear Ruth, I cant THANK YOU and BRUCE enough! I TRULY had a LIFE EXPANDING experience during my 4 days and 3 nights at the Silent Stay Retreat. I left feeling, as if I made a new best friend….ME❤️ To everyone that wants a deep experience of the silence: No words (ironically) can properly describe my incredible experience. Bruce and Ruth are such LOVELY and easy going people. The grounds, ALL 35 acres, are just breathtaking, the food delicious and the people who: Meet and greet Cook Clean Maintain Inform are accommodating, friendly and helpful. My 4 days/3 nights of silence with Ruth and Bruce left me wanting MORE! I look forward to returning- THANK YOU, THANK YOU🙏✨📣
During my retreat I found myself in unfamiliar territory. Turning inward was both a bit unsettling and at the same time a blessing. The removal of electronic devices and reading a spiritual themed book was key for me. Walking on the beautiful property, laying on the grass in the sunshine, daily yoga in the sanctuary and quietness..... Taking a silent retreat was something unfamiliar as I'd never done anything like this before, but I would certainly do this again and maybe even longer !! Unexpected happiness. Dave
Being on retreat with Silent Stay gave me such a sense of peace that I am carrying into my daily life. When I first arrived on Friday, I fretted about the time going too fast, what if 2 days wasn't enough? My mind was immediately judging my experience and thinking about future experiences. Ruth's advice to "turn down the effort" and get in touch with my "pre-installed software" that first night helped me start to unwind. As a mother of two kids (8,10) and looking after my mom with Alzheimer's, the days never feel like there's enough for everyone. In the coming weeks and months, I am going to prioritize making time for my meditation practice/connecting with stillness each morning, and throughout the day. Thank you Ruth and Bruce so much for the gift of retreat. The delicious food and copious amounts of tea available made it such a warm experience. I appreciated that it was a nurturing space, not like the negative stories I've heard from others about silent retreats that felt harsher by design, i.e., retreat attendees fighting over the only bagel! The abundance and comfort felt supportive. I hope to return on a regular basis.
The magical and healing grounds of the Pacifica Graduate Institute were perfect. It is located in the hills of Montecito on 36+acres overlooking the Ocean and just a stone's throw from the Vedanta Temple of Santa Barbara.The campus hosts all lodging and meals. We met 3 times a day for meditation, guidance and reflection. There are big chunks of "non-doing" periods in between. For my ADHD/OCD brain, it was really nice to have everything organized for me. All i had to do was to show up. There is so much outdoor space and I spent a large chunk of my days outdoors and it totally rebalanced my circadian rhythms. Food was delicious with lots of options and flexibility for dietary requirements. There are also fridges and kitchenettes on campus if people need to bring their own food, medicine, etc. Staff is very friendly and accommodating. Most importantly, the campus used to be a Jesuit monastery so it really feels like you are on Holy grounds. That history coupled with Ruth and Bruce's heartfulness centered meditation practices and presence made it a very safe place spiritually, emotionally, and physically. As a woman travelling alone, I felt extremely safe. I could have benefited from an extra 4 days and in that case there are options to work with Ruth and Bruce to informally extend your retreat. This is a perfect retreat for anyone feeling completely overwhelmed by the idea of planning a retreat (me! you first suggested i take 4 days of silence about 6 months until I finally did it) and those who are extremely hard on themselves (also me!) because there is a lot of guidance and support throughout the whole retreat experience. I now want to make this a regular part of supporting myself. Thank you Ruth and Bruce for all your kindness and support
It's been a very long time since I have been in such a peace with myself. My heart is beating differently and I feel the light flowing in... Being silent in such a beautiful place (I call it a corner of heaven) does wonders to your heart. Thank you Universe, Ruth and Bruce for such an opportunity. Love, Peace & Blessings.
I arrived at Silent Stay (now in Santa Barbara, yeah !!!) feeling as if I had been hauled onto an island oasis, finally finding land after weeks of being at sea. It has been a refuge for me with all the abundant physical spaces and beautiful nature. I have felt nourished, healed and accepted. I visited Silent Stay the first time in Vacaville years ago and came away with the precious gift of honoring and being more aware of the sacred space inside me. This time with Ruth’s gentle guidance, I have the gift of feeling, sensing, knowing that this sacred space inside me is my truth, my identity, my being - it is all that matters, it is all of me. Some of my emotions have melted in the presence of this loving, accepting, receptive space. I have become more aware of my conditioned patterns and what is not me. I know this is probably just the tip of the iceberg ! I look forward to remembering what else I am. It has been a huge relief and release !!! Meditation has begun to become a time for me to come home to myself - to keep revisiting, feeling and experiencing this sacred space, my heart, my soul. A better reason than I could have ever have thought of to meditate !! I hope to be with you again soon and will join you on Sundays to go deeper into my spiritual journey… Everything good for you both, Lisa
I am so deeply grateful for the silent retreat in Montecito. The opportunity to sit in silence with like-minded seekers and explore the beauty of the campus with a curious mind and an open heart was just what I needed to tune up and tune into my practice. Ruth and Bruce are so knowledgeable and loving and held space for participants with extraordinary grace and magnificent presence.
I attended the Vacaville retreat and it changed my life. This was during an incredible transitional phase of my life, and I needed to center myself. I'd never done anything like this before, but Ruth and Bruce we so supportive throughout the whole process, and I felt at ease from start to finish. This also happened to be the week before COVID lockdown started in March 2020. This was my last adventure/experience before we went into lockdown, and helped me enter the global pandemic with internal peace.
About six years ago I was going through an inner spiritual shift and found Silent Stay. I feel truly blessed to have met Bruce and Ruth. They provided me with everything I didn't even realize that I needed -- warmth, love, an understanding of the spiritual process and opened up their heart and home to me. I've been a deep Vipassana meditator for many years having gone into the realms of the eternal, and yet I found deep solace in the meditation that Bruce and Ruth teach. A simple heart centered meditation that allows you to quickly tap into the deepest realms of your own soul. Their message is simple--- live your life from the deep beingness that already exists within. Simplicity is the most profound thing, and what Bruce and Ruth teach is stunning not just in its simplicity but also in its effectiveness. I always feel I am 'home' with Bruce and Ruth and they have become my family. Can you imagine?! The eternal that is 'home' is what I found in my heart and in them. It is stunning and immensely beautiful! They say that adversity shows our true colors. The news of the fire tore through my heart-- this sacred place I consider my spiritual home, gone. Their home, gone. And yet, despite it all, they have arisen, centered in the testament of their teaching. Centered in their authenticity. Centered in the belief that everything is gone, and yet everything remains. There is no greater testament to a person's essence. Dear Bruce and Ruth-- I salute you! May the new Silent Stay give us all our eternal silence and more... A cosmic shift, a new beginning... May you remain blessed and safe, always. Much love!
Dear Ruth and Bruce, Each day in meditation you come into my awareness. About a week ago I saw a white bird soaring over the hilltop of Silent Stay, as if showering love and blessings. It was a beautiful vision. A reminder of the silence underneath everything, the simple peace and grace. Spirit is very much alive and continues on amidst the ashes. My heart grieves with you during this time of loss. Just a few weeks after my daughter and I stayed with you earlier this year, a dear friend of ours took her life at 29 years old. I had never experienced grief to that degree before. The backdrop of joy I was riding became a backdrop of sadness. Yet, the awareness of love underneath the pain and sadness was so palpable I could touch it. No longer a sense of joy really but a reassuring eternal heart connection with my friend, with everyone and everything. It is the most beautiful gift to be able to touch the silence and receive the peace. It is always, always there. I am eternally grateful for Silent Stay and my sessions with you Ruth that provided a space for an "awakening" to occur. I continue to enjoy meditations with Bruce's words now and then. I recorded several sessions on my phone as I was often unable to make the 9AM time. This way I was able to connect at a time that worked for me. I appreciate these guided meditations much more these days! I look forward to whatever is next. I share with you words that arose from my experience at SilentStay. I returned to silence and met you in grace. Divine loving Presence! An endless beam of light flows in and out from the very center of my heart Arms stretched wide breath flows ever so gently in and out It is an ocean of peace here filled with graciousness and love A returning home to my birthplace of love Original Heart, Divine Presence lives on and on and on for eternity and all time In the silence we meet again. I was just about to send this when I saw your email-- Like a Phoenix Rising from the Ashes. My heart is dancing - overflowing with joy. I cannot wait. I'm moved by how you are being with the loss and allowing yourselves to be carried - it must not be easy. And Yes! A Phoenix is Rising from the Ashes! See you at your new location in Santa Barbara! Much love.
My time spent at Silent Stay has been transcendent and profound. I felt completely supported and welcomed. While the precious and beautiful physical container is gone, the love, acceptance, and peace persists. Thank you Ruth, Bruce and Brenda. Surrounding you with love and support always.
I had been attending various Silent Retreats for over 10 years before I finally found the magic that is Silent Stay. That very first retreat was such a profoundly transformative and life-changing experience, and with every retreat thereafter my inner peace, my healing, my spiritual practice, my growth, my self-love and compassion has deepened, and my light and my heart continue to expand. Ruth and Bruce teach us how to take these practices home with us...our world NEEDS Silent Stay. Please refer to my video testimonial for more... Thank you, eternally, Ruth, Bruce and Silent Stay.
My last experience at your/our beloved retreat was just in July...I took away a confirmation of being anchored which has carried so much meaning for me in my current season. Since leaving, I think often of my next trip back; treating myself to a cherished place of retreat; the cherished place for the introvert in me...but as I watched the fire on the news, I thought, no not the retreat. Then came your email. My heart is with you and Bruce. I pray the anchor of your spirit is planted deep in a peace no storm of fire or devastation can really move you from your inner strength. As you shared your experience love and peace with us, We experience your loss with you...and In silence we are united anchored in divine peace. May we celebrate together one day what will arise from the ashes. Love and peace always to you
In 2018 I stayed at Silentstay for over two weeks, with Brenda leading the meditations each morning and evening. It was exactly what I was looking for. I reconnecting with my childlike wonder and I remembered how we are all connected. The love and peace of this land is so present and it is a gift to all who come.
Dear Ruth and Bruce, You have been in my mind and heart over the past days. This news hit me in such a profound way; such heavy sadness for the loss of the extraordinary place you created together. I wouldn’t feel this way if not for the deeply meaningful experience I had staying with you this past February. I am forever grateful for that opportunity. No fire can destroy the energy and love you created at the center and I know that in time you will be able to create a refuge for peace and stillness as, if not more, powerful than what has been taken away. I want to help in any way I can. Please let me know how I can be of service to you in this challenging time. Brad
Oh dear Ruth and Bruce, I was there only once a few years ago, and it was exquisite for me - the land, the vibration, your temple space, the trees, the hills, the intention, the practices you shared, truly magnificent. I’ve always intended to come back. I ask God why must these beautiful sacred places burn rather than the mundane or harmful. The answer I feel within is so that the powerful uplifting peaceful love consciousness generated there can be freed and expanded even more far-reaching, like when a Guru leaves physical body and is experienced even more vastly. May you be safe and blessed wherever you go and whatever you do. I hope to spend time with you again. Love Kari
Dear Ruth & Bruce, My heart broke when I read the subject line ("Silent Stay Destroyed by fire" and saw the photos of the destruction... I am so deeply sorry to learn about the loss of your home, your hermitage, your memories, your possessions, and your community gathering space that was truly so sacred. All the years I came to be with you in the Silence were life changing for me - every time and cumulatively. (And I know hundreds of others through the years had such life changing experiences in your presence and on your blessed property). You two are bright lights and sacred beings. Thank you for sharing your grace, your home, and your hearts. Thank you for all you have given and contributed to all of us and in our journeys. I am so deeply sorry for your unimaginable loss and the hard days ahead. I have just made a small donation online (I wish it could be more!) to your rebuilding fund that I found on your website. Hopefully every little bit helps. Please know I am holding you in my heart and sending much love during this painful time of destruction and reconstruction (G_d willing soon!). I hope you raise all the funds needed to complete rebuilding. I am so looking forward to visiting the re-birthed heritimate (whenever that day comes). With love & gratitude for all you've done (and will do) for us all, Rebecca
Attached to nothing, connected to everything… this is the journey of the soul inside the human body. Sometimes I feel trapped in liminal space, neither enlightened nor completely engaged in suffering. This is the dance of spiritual growth I suppose. Some days I have my shit together and some days it’s as if my world is falling apart. Meditation is the path to enlightenment, but for me, a smooth road it is not. Sometimes it feels more like a treacherous climb. Connecting with my true self, which can also be referred to as divine self or buddha nature is to connect with my pure essence and source of all light and life within. I’ve found that it is easiest for me to feel connected to my true self when I am away from daily routines, responsibilities and challenges. I was having a conversation about this recently with my meditation teacher. I was explaining that it is hard for me to maintain a state of openness and to “still the waters of my turbulent mind” when I am off the cushion and going about my daily life. I told her I often turn to a retreat or a vacation to allow myself to just be and I would like to learn to be in a more open and meditative state always. Three days ago I reached out to Ruth Davis, who with her husband Bruce, own and run Silent Stay Retreat Center. I was planning to book another stay there. Silent Stay promotes connecting to our spirituality, truth and wisdom through what they call “the great silence”. Precious days free from our daily story. Nothing to do, nothing to say, just opening to the simple peace that is within our hearts. This morning Ruth emailed me that Silent Stay completely burned to the ground last night. What struck me more than this terrible news was Ruth’s beautiful response. She wrote: “Dear Jennifer, we lost everything… the great God of Fire took Silent Stay to a higher realm… but the deep silence, the deep love in our hearts remain. Stay in touch dear… we will regroup and offer the daily 9am meditations online wherever we are. Love, Ruth”. I am so moved by the strength and hopefulness she exhibits. Another reminder that nothing is certain, everything is impermanent, except the great silence and love in our hearts. So much gratitude to Ruth and Bruce for the gift of their beautiful spirits and energy and the gift of Silent Stay. Silent Stay will live forever in my heart and I am thankful for the lesson in living with grace. So, until I can retreat again I will practice living with the gift of the great silence in my daily life and will join Silent Stay in meditation and prayer in the meantime. Many blessings and stay safe, Jennifer
It was a bright, new day. The hermitage lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts. The first was an indomitable quiet that came from nature. This silence lay in the valleys, climbed the hillsides and covered the serene landscape. It was a silence that absorbed the birdsong flitting through the air. It sat unperturbed by the gusts of wind who created a slow, rhythmic ocean sound as it blew around the trees and the hermitage. These sounds paid reverence to the silence and strengthened the knowledge of it. In this way the birds and the wind contributed to this vast and first silence. The second silence was from things that were lacking. If there were people chatting on phones, cars bustling up and down the road or the click-click of key strokes as people did their work then the silence may have been chased away, scared off by the busy-ness of the modern world. Of course there were none of these things, and so the silence remained. The third silence was not an easy thing to notice. It lay in the hands of the occupants as meals were prepared and dishes were cleaned. It was in the careful and meandering steps as the paths were tread. And it rested deep in the hearts of the people of the hermitage. The third silence was a vast emptiness - vastly filled. It was this silence, above all other silences, that was being recognized and cultivated at the hermitage. It was this silence that contained the boundless joy, and love and wisdom of the people here - it was the greatest silence of the three. Thank you Bruce, Ruth, and Brenda for helping me find silence. I am truly grateful.
I did not come for Silence, but I found the Quiet. I did not come for Solitude, but I did find silent companionship. I came to do Nothing. And nothing was something I ended up Doing. I didn't expect anything, but I found almost everything
Bruce and Ruth have created a true sanctuary for healing, meditation, contemplation and self-care. The environment supports your focus on what most needs your attention. The silence was a profound experience - I want to return for more. This place is a treasure.
I came here for a vacation and ended up deepening my meditation practice. This place is great if you would like to do a solo practice on your own schedule, surrounded by natural beauty. And with all the conveniences of home with a full kitchen, as well as the hot tub and pool. I enjoyed the sense of spaciousness, peace, and community that is here
My wife and I had a short weekend at Silent Stay; the natural beauty and kindness is palpable. We will return.
In a world of constant noise and distraction, I came here to find the silence I needed to open my mind to face important changes and decisions in my life. I found that silence that I needed, but I also found more than silence. I found myself and understood awareness. Those learnings will be with me forever and will help me to understand the world beyond intellect and emotions. I think this will help me, but will also help me to help others. I want to come back with my beloved ones, especially my daughter. Thank you so very much... Luis
My time was magical. I fell in love with taking time to nourish myself, preparing my meals and having free time in my week for being rather than doing. Although I had meditated on my own for years, my time with Ruth and Bruce allowed me to deeply understand my ability to receive and offer in my own stillness. After four days, I gained more rest and clarity in my mind and heart than I had felt in years. This is a sanctuary I will hold dear and look forward to returning “ home” here soon
I had the most peaceful pressure-free time at silent retreat. Ruth and Bruce are lovely easy going people. The meditations, particularly the one on one with Ruth, are incredibly profound. Everything you need to relax is there. I was taken aback by the incredible surroundings and peacefulness of the property itself. I will be back as soon as possible and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a safe place to just relax and to have the permission not to talk and just enjoy yourself.
Ruth and Bruce introduced me to my heart! I am relatively new to meditation and in just a few short days, I learned to mediate with their guidance, released my 'inner child' with the help of their books and one-on-one session, and discovered self-healing in my energy healing session. My stay was truly a life changing experience and I will be making this a regular routine for myself to maintain the sense of connection, lightness, joy, and fulfillment I had leaving Silent Stay. I am infinitely grateful for these two wonderful souls!
I visited Silent Stay back in November for a couple of nights. When I had my session with Ruth, I had mentioned that I was upset about what is happening in our world, with the state of US and global politics, the great divisiveness in our country, etc. In response, Ruth talked about a monk meditating an a cave and how he is putting higher vibration out into the world and suggested that by me being kind, loving, etc, that I could do good by putting that into the world. She used the metaphor of dropping a pebble in water and the ripples spreading outward. Fast forward to January when I was at a yoga retreat, hosted by San Francisco musician Michael Franti. The first night, Michael asked each one of us why we were there. I talked about about our conversation and that I want to learn how to be a bigger pebble to ripple good out into the world. He came back to that metaphor at the end of the week and is now using it as part of his music !!! I wanted to let you know so you know how you are creating positive ripples in the world. :)
I loved the quiet, calm and peaceful environment Silent stay provides. The meditation led by Bruce is a reminder to incorporate that in my life, the one on one with Ruth was definitely one of my favorite experiences. The property was quiet and clean and not crowded. I can’t wait to return again. You can bring in your books but their library is pretty rich. They also have books written by them. And some merchandise we purchased as well. Bring some cash for the merch and donations. There is a shared kitchen that’s fully equipped. You can bring in groceries so you can cook or you can bring already prepared food. The view from any angle of the property was amazing! There is a swimming pool and hiking trails. One of my fav activity was to lay on a hammock and watch the sunset. Taking guilt free naps, practicing mindfulness and spending ME time. Bruce and Ruth were warm and welcoming. Serena welcomed us and answered all our questions. She gave us an orientation upon our arrival. We enjoyed our stay. Definitely will be back and highly recommend to others :)
I'm so glad I took the time to go on this retreat. It was a great opportunity to reset and level up on my meditation (I meditated several times throughout the day in addition to the morning and evening sessions with Ruth and Bruce). Through the silence, I was able to really take a deep look into my own thinking patterns and get to know myself on a deeper level. I'd love to go back!
I didn’t realize just how much the experience meant until I left. I am very grateful for the retreat and the hospitality provided by Ruth and Bruce. The 1:1 meditation that Ruth leads with each guest was especially interesting and eye opening. I've been to a few different retreats, and I particularly enjoyed Silent Stay better than others for it's intimate setting. I look forward to returning!
Silent Stay Retreat Center with Ruth and Bruce was the perfect place to deepen my meditation practice. I have meditated for a long time but I had hit something of a block. Ruth's wise words my very first evening were just what I needed to hear! Walking on the land and gazing at the stars do much to restore spirit. I hope to go back again soon!
This is the place to find the quiet within yourself, and to get the peace you can't really find anywhere else. Ruth and Bruce were amazing hosts and guides, and helped me to find the silent path to some answers within myself -- and I will be forever grateful for it. Thank you!
Thank you Ruth and Bruce for reconnecting me to my heart centered meditation practice. The space you've both created is nothing less than sacred. My experience at Silent Stay is always restorative. Peace be with you both.
Dear Ruth and Bruce, Thank you for a wonderful quiet stay and meditation guidance. Your retreat is absolutely lovely and I'm grateful for the opportunity to be here. You both have a wonderful presence. I look forward to coming back soon !! Love, Cristy
Dear Ruth and Bruce, "Thank you" are insufficient words to offer for the gifts I received from my experience with you over teh past 3 days. My gratitude is as deep as the silence I have had the opportunity to begin to explore. A most special time in my life.
Thank you so much for this experience. I can now hear the silence of my heart and embrace the inner peace. I have been truly moved by my time here. This is heaven on earth.