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9 Day Cultivating Emotional Balance and Meditation Retreat in São Miguel Island, Azores
This listing has no upcoming availability. Check out these similar experiences

This listing has no upcoming availability. Check out these similar experiences

Wellness Retreat in the Azores

This listing has one of the 10 most popular offers available in Portugal

How to manage the everyday obstacles of our destructive emotions and cultivate a wholesome way of being? These were the questions that sparked the meeting between H.H. the Dalai Lama with behavioral scientists, psychologists, neuroscientists, and sociologists, as well as Buddhist monks and scholars, at the VII Mind & Life Dialogue. One of the outcomes of these rich and fruitful discussions was the development of this program.

Meet the instructors

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  • 12 3.5-hour sessions
  • Learn Cultivating Emotional Balance to improve wellness
  • Develop a calmer mind with refined awareness through meditation
  • Recognize and work with emotional triggers
  • 8 nights accommodation
  • Vegetarian meals
  • Airport transfers

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced


6 days with instruction in English
The organizer also speaks: Portuguese
Group size: 8-12 participants
Airport transfer included: João Paulo II Airport
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Set in an acre of traditional fruit orchards, Quinta Minuvida is the perfect spot for intimate small groups, offering ample space for meditation and seclusion.

Amenities include five thoughtful suites, an outdoor pool, a yoga studio, a guest kitchen, living room with fireplace, outdoor grill, firepit, observatory, organic vegetable garden, and one acre of orchards; a fully equipped studio, a large lawn, a banana grove and terrace space with stunning views. Near beaches, walking trails, hot springs.

Quinta Minuvida offers intentional, sustainable accommodation. Lovingly restored in 2017, the property preserves its vintage Azorean character dating from the orange era. Quinta Minuvida is only 20 minutes from the airport and capital Ponta Delgada, but a world apart, transporting you to a bucolic lifestyle of early bedtimes and wild canaries announcing a new day.

Quinta Minuvida offers five suites with private baths that can accommodate 10 - 12 guests in private or shared accommodation. The style can be classic Azorean or more contemporary. It features vintage furniture or large beds made from reclaimed pallets.

If necessary, Center for Human Flourishing can accommodate extra people in the neighbor partner farm.

The accommodation types available are:

  • 2 suites with 1 single room, 1 double room, and a private bathroom
  • 4 rooms with a double bed and private bathroom
  • 2 rooms with 2 single beds and a private bathroom


Cultivating Emotional Balance is a training program designed to increase happiness and well-being within yourself, as well as in relationships with others and the world around you. In particular, it focuses on how your emotions can often become problematic and an obstacle to your own and others’ well-being, and what you can do to transform them into a wellspring of genuine joy and growth.

This course aims at helping you:

  • Have your emotions work for you, not against you
  • Have your experience of emotions be constructive, and not destructive
  • Have you and those who know you intimately sense, by end of the course, that you have changed.

Awareness brings choice

Your emotions can either greatly help you and be a source of joy, or make you feel and behave in regrettable ways and create profound misery. The problem is, for most of you, emotions are beyond your conscious control – you don’t have a choice, they just happen to you.

The first step towards choice is becoming more aware of and familiar with your emotional experiences. Cultivating Emotional Balance training puts emotional awareness at its core to help participants move closer to a life of choice.

By becoming able to recognize the spark before the flame, you create a distance between stimulus and response, where you can choose if and how you want to emotionally engage.

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

~ Viktor Frankl

Emotional balance is just the tip of the iceberg

What’s behind emotional balance? What turns an emotion constructive or destructive? Your emotions are based on the state and characteristics of your mind. A balanced mind will lead to balanced emotions, while an unbalanced mind will lead to unbalanced emotions.

CEB training aims at cultivating and sustaining emotional balance from a solid ground of mental balance, grounded on:


A tranquil mind and stable attention are key to emotional regulation, self-discovery, and well-being in general.


Your views shape experience and emotions. The right ones bring you peace and growth, but delusion brings pain and unsatisfaction.


Meaningful aspirations such as love and compassion are what constitute the ground of genuine happiness.

The key components of CEB are:

  • Understanding how emotions work, and how they can work for and not against you
  • Recognizing and working with emotional triggers
  • Deepening awareness and stabilizing attention
  • Increasing compassion for the self and others
  • Cultivating happiness of being and mental balance

The curriculum

Cultivating Emotional Balance is an evidence-based curriculum that draws from empirical research on emotion, coupled with contemplative practices that are rooted in Buddhist traditions.

CEB training integrates wisdom traditions, contemplative sciences, modern psychology, and scientific emotion research into a secular platform for human transformation. The CEB curriculum features useful and profound theory and practices from both the modern scientific method and knowledge, including psychology, neuroscience, and medicine, as well as from the time-tested contemplative tradition with millennia of experience and refinement of Buddhism.

Cultivating Emotional Balance only takes the core wisdom and practices from these traditions and is not associated with any religion, being a completely secular program open to everyone from any background.

The training will focus on learning the theories and practices of psychology regarding emotional balance, based on Dr. Paul Ekman’s work, and the relevant theories and practices of Buddhism, based on Dr. Alan Wallace’s teachings, particularly focused on the cultivation of attention, insight through the practice of mindfulness, and the qualities of loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity (the Four Immeasurables). This deeply experiential course features the complete 42-hour Cultivating Emotional Balance program, detailed below.

I. Setting an aspiration

  • 1. Introduction to genuine happiness
  • 2. The path of genuine happiness: attention, wisdom, and values

II. Understanding emotions

  • 1. What are emotions?
  • 2. What is their function?
  • 3. How do they work?
  • 4. Trigger, experience, and behavior: building a model for the emotional episode
  • 5. Recognizing emotions and facial expressions

III. Transforming emotions

  • 1. How can emotions become destructive?
  • 2. How can we make them more constructive?
  • 3. Before the emotion: cultivating mental balance and working with hot triggers
  • 4. During the emotion: recognizing (emotional awareness), regaining choice, and transforming
  • 5. After the emotion: healing and using destructive emotional episodes for growth and improvement
  • 6. Dealing with and helping improve others’ emotional episodes

IV. The 7 universal emotions

  • 1. Anger
  • 2. Fear & Surprise
  • 3. Disgust & Contempt
  • 4. Sadness
  • 5. Joy
  • 6. Other important emotions (guilt and shame, envy and jealously, …)

V. Cultivating attentional balance

  • 1. Introduction to attentional balance
  • 2. Mindfulness of the present, body, and breath
  • 3. Settling the mind in its natural state
  • 4. Achieving mental quiescence and tranquility

VI. Cultivating cognitive balance

  • 1. Introduction to cognitive balance
  • 2. The importance of balanced attention for the cultivation of wisdom
  • 3. The four applications of mindfulness: body, feelings, mind, and phenomena
  • 4. The three marks of existence and the nature of reality: impermanence, emptiness (interdependence), and dissatisfaction

VII. Cultivating conative balance

  • 1. Identifying the true causes of happiness and suffering
  • 2. Hedonia and Eudaimonia
  • 3. The four immeasurables: loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic-joy, and equanimity
  • 4. Bringing genuine happiness to daily life and out into the world

Core practices:

  • Shamatha (attention training & mental serenity)
  • Mindfulness of breathing
  • Settling the mind in its natural state (mindfulness of the mind)
  • Awareness of awareness (optional)
  • Vipashyana (insight into reality & self)

The 4 applications of mindfulness (satipatthana):

  • Mindfulness of the body
  • Mindfulness of feelings
  • Mindfulness of the mind
  • Mindfulness of phenomena

The 4 immeasurables (Brahmaviharas)

  • Loving-kindness (metta)
  • Compassion (karuna)
  • Empathetic joy (mudita)
  • Equanimity (upekkha)


  • Increased emotional awareness (both yours and others') - recognize the spark before the flame
  • Increased freedom of choice in emotional experience: choose whether you want to emotionally engage or not and if yes, how
  • Turn your emotions (both your experience of them and their results) more constructive and less destructive
  • Recognize and work with emotional triggers
  • Change and transform old-established emotional patterns in you which may be dysfunctional
  • Become better able to help transform others' emotional episodes into more constructive ones
  • Learn to recognize facial expressions and emotional micro-expressions
  • Understand why you (and others) feel, think and behave in certain ways
  • Learn about emotions and deeply understand what they are and how they work
  • Explore in detail each of the 7 universal emotions: anger, fear, surprise, disgust, contempt, sadness, and joy, along with others such as guilt and shame, envy, and jealousy
  • Realize what are the true causes of happiness and suffering, as well as how you can cultivate the first and eliminate the latter
  • Develop a calmer mind with refined awareness and attention through meditation
  • Cultivate wisdom and attain insight through the careful investigation of experience, and release limiting beliefs and world-views
  • Cultivate good human qualities which are key to intra and interpersonal happiness and well-being
  • All of this immersed in the beauty and peacefulness of the land and nature of the Azores

Typical day schedule

  • 07:30 - 08:30 Breakfast
  • 08:30 - 12:30 Session (including break)
  • 13:00 - 14:00 Lunch
  • 14:30 - 18:30 Session (including break)
  • 18:30 - 19:30 Free time / optional activities
  • 19:30 - 20:30 Dinner
  • 23:00 - 07:00 Silence

Fourth day is free (trail included).

Center for Human Flourishing highly recommends that you arrive earlier or leave later to explore and experience all the beauty and adventure of São Miguel and the Azores. If you wish to stay at Quinta Minuvida before or after the retreat, please contact the property directly.


All those who successfully complete the course will receive participation and completion certificate from the teacher and Center for Human Flourishing. Presence in 85% of the sessions is necessary.

Included excursions

1 guided trail in the lushing green vulcanic beauty of the Azores led by our hosts Rimi and João, certified guides.


Filipe Rocha


The Azores

The Azores are the perfect off-the-beaten-path destination, bursting with natural beauty and endless outdoor possibilities. Dark sandy beaches or craggy volcanic cliffs ascend to mountains as tall as 7,700 feet. It's a lush, dramatic volcanic landscape.

While original laurel subtropical forest once covered most of the islands, today everything seems to grow here. The capricious Azorean landscape is dotted with white-washed Mediterranean villages, full of color and vibrancy. Locals drive fast, live slow, and eat fresh.

Complement your retreat experience with soaks in natural springs, hikes in volcano rims, and runs on deserted beaches. Try surfing, canyoning, or mountain biking.


Center for Human Flourishing serves three delicious and nutritious vegetarian meals, composed of regional and seasonal products. Tea, coffee, biscuits, and fruit are always available. Vegan and gluten / lactose free options available.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Tea

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Gluten Free
  • Lactose Free
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

Dolphin & whale watching



Horse riding

Scuba diving



Thermal waters


Windsurf, kayaking, paddle, etc. in the lagoons

Much more!

What's included

  • Teachings of the full 42-hour CEB program
  • Accommodation for 8 nights
  • Bed linen, towels, hygiene products, Wi-Fi
  • Daily room cleaning
  • 3 daily delicious and nutritious vegetarian meals
  • Unlimited tea, coffee, and biscuits
  • Use of the common spaces, studio, kitchen and barbecue, gardens, and pool
  • Exclusive use of the center for the group
  • Dedicated coordinator
  • Organization of activities / excursions / trails
  • 1 trail in the lushing green vulcanic beauty of the Azores led by our hosts Rimi and João, certified guides
  • 1 complimentary yoga class by your host Rimi, certified yoga teacher
  • Airport transfer
  • Course manual
  • Guided meditation recordings
  • Certificate
  • Support (plus 25% discount in any individual sessions for 1 year)
  • Emotions, growth, friendship, and a good time

What's not included

  • Travel and insurance
  • Accommodation before and after the retreat
  • Extra activities (excursions, yoga classes, massages, etc.)
  • Lunch and dinner for the free day (you may want to travel somewhere around the island and eat there, or choose to eat at the center)

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at João Paulo II Airport (PDL). From there, Center for Human Flourishing will pick you up and take you to the retreat center. If you prefer to go on your own, or can't join the organized airport transfer, you can either rent a car or take a taxi (20 min travel).

Azores Airlines and TAP Portugal offer regular flights from Boston and Center for Human Flourishing recommend online booking. From Europe, Ryanair offers low-cost fares from London and Lisbon. Many other charter companies operate from Germany and other destinations, as does Azores Airlines.

Airport: João Paulo II Airport Airport transfer included: João Paulo II Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 25.41% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
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