Enlightenment retreat

21 Day Enlightenment Retreat in Ireland

Start Date: 23rd September 2024 (up to 21 days)
Location: Beara Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland.
Price: (Subject to change) €100 for 1 day, €300 for 7 days, €500 for 14 days, €650 for 21 days.
Activities: 21 days with me, including meditations in various locations on the peninsula (details will be given nearer the time for locations and times to attend)
Optional: the number of days you want to stay; hiking; camping; and any other activities.
Not included: Flights; Accommodation; Food; Transfers and Taxis.

Let us go and put ourselves in the way of enlightenment.

When I first heard about enlightenment, it was the stuff of myth and legend, far away and magical. The more I learned about it, the closer it got. I discovered it was a real thing, there were real people alive today who were enlightened. You could learn from them. It was possible. Then I met someone who was enlightened and I spent as much time around them as I could, hoping it would rub off on me. Then in 1996, I met another enlightened person and it did.

That was 28 years ago. I have been living with it ever since. Quietly to myself for the first 15 years, then talking openly about it since 2011 when I wrote Maya Noise.

When and for how long?

Starting on Monday the 23rd of September for 21 days. You don’t have to come for the full 21 days but we all start on the same day then people leave as they need to.


As I looked into what the retreat would look and feel like, I had an image of Elmer Fudd dressed in hunting clothes holding his finger to his lips saying, “Shush. . . I’m going wabbit hunting.”  This was followed by Mrs Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, encouraging her daughters to put themselves in the way of eligible young men, so that they might find themselves husbands.

So we are going to put ourselves in the way of enlightenment. We are going to stalk it around the peninsula. 


When I looked into how the retreat would go I was very clear there would be no stage. I had seen firsthand how counterproductive it was to step in front of people to, “teach,” them anything. It is much more efficient to stand beside them and explore and learn together. 

I know that answering questions is an important part of helping the mind to ease its grip and allow some space for enlightenment to occur. I also know how much I got from simply being around someone who I recognised as being enlightened. To be up close and personal with them had a powerful effect on the parts of me that were stopping me from being enlightened too.

While meditation and presence are vital, the idea of sitting in the same place for 21 days didn’t feel like the way to go. Retreats are great for becoming familiar with the silence within but for enlightenment, a more robust and integrated approach is needed. Your enlightenment needs to be integrated with ordinary life, distracting life, annoying life. It needs to stand up to distraction and frustration. 

Also the idea of breaking up old structures and not allowing new ones to form made it very important to keep moving meditation locations.


There will be a list of meditation locations for the 21 days. These meditation locations will be where the meditation and questions and answers happen, where the enlightenment focus happens. The rest is freestyle. These are not accommodation venues. Food will not be provided. In fact nothing will be provided except the focus on enlightenment, presence and meditation. 

How you get from one meditation location to another is up to you. You can walk with me, or others, or alone, or you can cycle or drive if that is what you prefer. Meditation locations will be everything from Scout halls to five-star ballrooms.


For the majority of people, enlightenment stays in the realm of myth and fairytale, something that other people did at other times.

For the remaining minority, enlightenment is something they may be drawn to discover more about and they learn about it as an academic subject.

Some may even go to study with someone who they recognise as enlightened.

Then there is an even smaller group who have the audacity to entertain the possibility that enlightenment is something they could achieve for themselves. It calls to them.

If you recognise what I have written here and enlightenment calls to you, then this retreat is for you.

Getting Started

This is the first process for getting clearer about enlightenment and what it means to you. Jump into the process whether you will be at the retreats in person in September or not.

What is it about enlightenment that attracts you? Of all the things you could be interested in, why are you interested in enlightenment?
Why do you want to get enlightened? What will it look like when you get enlightened? What problem will getting enlightened solve for you? What problem will getting enlightened solve in you?


When did you first hear about enlightenment? What was it about enlightenment that attracted you?

Make a list of all the attributes of enlightened people you have heard or read about.

Then make a second list of what attributes you will have when you get enlightened. Not someone else, you. Review this second list, eliminating any attributes that are not essential to you being enlightened.

For example, there are many stories of enlightened people being able to do remarkable feats like levitating or bi-locating. You might have such feats on your list initially. Are they essential?

Ask yourself, “If I cannot do this, or be this, will I still be enlightened?” If the answers is, “Yes – if I cannot do this, or be this, I will still be enlightened.” Then take it off the list.

Keep eliminating attributes until your list only has attributes that if missing would mean you are not enlightened.

Send this final list to me in the form below.
Feel free to include any other reflections on the questions above.







Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash


2 responses to “21 Day Enlightenment Retreat in Ireland”

  1. Hi John,

    You feel like a good friend, I do talk to you in my head frequently. I discovered you through your Gently Does It podcast. I’m an artist and art educator and just love that podcast. Thanks for all your great work there.

    Then I found this part of your stuff and it slowly reeled me in. I’ve bought a couple of your books from Amazon. Terrific stuff.

    I am interested in enlightenment and have been since I was 10 years old. I’m now 71. I won’t be going to Madeira, but I’m sure you will all have a lovely time.

    I just listened to your most recent installation on Getting Enlightened and just felt it was time to actually say hi in the real world so to speak. You are so interesting and comforting all at the same time.

    I wish we could actually have a cup of tea together.
    Looking forward to your next instalment,

    1. Thank you for your kind words Lori.

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