Contemplative Retreats in Sydney

This exploratory project aims to identify and develop an understanding of the use of retreats by members of Sydney-based community groups which include contemplative practices as a core feature of their identity. Literature produced by groups who utilise contemplative retreat practices often includes claims regarding their function, such as helping to calm the mind, concentrate attention, and promote social connectedness. While a substantial amount of scientific research has been conducted on the effects of contemplative practices at the individual level, understanding of retreats as social contemplative phenomena is lacking. This project seeks to shed light on this gap in research and generate hypotheses for future studies by exploring how contemplative retreats are used and how both individuals and groups understand their function in the context of daily life.