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6 Day Enlightenment Intensive Silent Retreat in Italy

Mandali Retreat Center, Via Belvedere, 2, Quarna Sopra, Province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Italy

Meditation Retreat in Italy

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

Have you ever wondered who you are without all your stories? What is your essential nature? And what is your authentic purpose? This six-day intensive retreat facilitates the reconnection to your authentic self, free from social masks and conditionings. It is a combination of ancient Zen practice with modern inquiry techniques including a physical, emotional and spiritual detox and 3 day social silence. What remains is your authentic self, a direct knowing of who you are.

Meet the instructors

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  • 10 dyads (self enquiry) per day
  • Active or still meditation sessions
  • 3 day social silence (out of enquiry sessions)
  • Integration movement and contemplation sessions
  • 5 meal breaks, fruits, teas, and filtered water
  • Relaxation and spa time available
  • 5 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced


6 days with instruction
The maximum participants in the group is 18
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  • Hot tub / Jacuzzi
  • Sauna
  • Spa
  • Steam room
  • Swimming pool (indoor)
  • Dining area
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Fireplace
  • Garden
  • Lounge
  • Meditation garden
  • Multilingual staff
  • Terrace
  • Free parking
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Internet access
  • Ironing / ironing board
  • Laundry
  • Library

Shared rooms

The shared room is designed in a simple but comfortable dormitory-style with two sets of bunk beds. An en suite bathroom is provided, and there are additional toilets and showers in the hallway.

Twin rooms

The twin rooms are spacious shared rooms. Two single beds with a view and a quiet veranda looking out onto the garden and temple. A great place to relax between sessions.

Hairdryers, fresh towels, and housekeeping included.


What is Enlightenment Intensive?

Enlightenment, also known as "Satori" or "Awakening", is a direct knowing, the self-realization of "who you are" and understanding your true purpose. Enlightenment Intensive is a residential group retreat that takes a total of five days. The Intensive process itself is three days followed by two days of integration and relaxation techniques.

This highly efficient self-discovery process was created by Charles Berner in the 1960s. It uses a specific technique to accelerate spiritual development and personal growth to arrive directly to the Essential Self, free from conditioning and self-image structures.

It is the combination of the ancient self-inquiry meditation "Who am I" with Western communication techniques.

Participants are placed in a completely secure environment with no distractions. The retreat is held in silence with the exception of the Dyads and Sharings. There are 10 to 12 Dyads a day. During the day, there are five meal breaks, sessions for movement, rest, walking contemplations and meditation.

What is a dyad?

Dyads are inquiry sessions that are held with two people. One listening in stillness the other communicating their direct experience of this moment in response to the question "Who am I?" After five minutes the roles change. This is repeated for 30 or 40 minutes and is followed by a break. It is encouraged to start the next Dyad with a new partner.

The effect is stunning. Each Dyad clears the mind of the day-to-day chitchat and gives space to authentic self to be. "To know the answer directly" in the traditional practice of Zen this is known as a Satori. A glimpse of enlightenment or more simply: to realize your self.

"I have tested this technique and I have compared it to other methods of enlightenment. This technique is about 50-100 times more rapid in producing enlightenment experiences than the classical techniques," Charles Berner

Sample itinerary

Arrival day

Guests are welcome to arrive from 2 p.m. on the first day. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. and there will be an introduction session from 8:30 p.m.

Intensive process

Day 2-4

Morning (starts circa at 6:15 a.m.)

About 8 sessions comprising of:

  • 4-5 Dyads
  • Working and walking contemplations
  • Afternoon (starts circa at 13:00hrs)
  • About 4 sessions comprising of:
  • 2 Dyads
  • Sharing group
  • Meditation
  • Resting time

Evening (starts circa at 6 p.m.)

About 3-4 sessions comprising of:

  • 3 Dyads
  • Walking contemplation

Integration process

Day 5-6

Holistic exercise, sharing circle, movement/active meditation, rest. A precious time to enjoy the sweet flowing moments.

Departure on the sixth day after lunch.

One session takes approximately 30 - 45 minutes.


Please read the following carefully to fully understand the commitment required to participate in this amazing and powerful process.


There will be five meal breaks each day. The food is vegetarian and specially prepared to support a natural detox of your physical body. An important part of the journey.

There will be no coffee, black tea, sugar, alcohol, meat or fish. If you drink a lot of coffee it is highly recommended that you stop for two or three days before the Intensive starts. Otherwise, you may find that you have a caffeine withdrawal headache during the group.


It is recommended that you stop smoking during the process. If you do smoke, cutting down to three a day would make it easier to spend a few days without tobacco. If you feel that you cannot manage this, then The Drunken Monk can find a balance that you are comfortable with.

Mobile phones

You will be asked to surrender your mobile phone for the three days of the Intensive. In case of emergency then please leave the Mandali office number which you can also pass on to leave messages. During the process, unless in an emergency, there will be no contact with the outside world so please make sure your affairs are in order before you start.


On arrival day there will be the opportunity to rest and relax. After dinner, there will be a welcome meeting to explain the technique. Day one and two start bright and early and end around 10:45 p.m. The third day will finish around 9:15 p.m. The fourth day will be an open integration day where you will be free to do your own thing and bask in the afterglow of the Intensive. Additionally, there will be events and sessions to join should you so choose.


The three-day Intensive will be held in social silence. You will be talking a lot during the program but will be in silence when outside the group space. Being in silence also means you will not have access to the Internet, phones, TV, radio or any distractions that take you away from your contemplation.

Open heart and mind

This process is intense and has been carefully structured to work deeply and with lasting changes. It is challenging yet the rewards are reflected in the changes that may occur with a deeper understanding of yourself and the world around you. I encourage you to be open and have a clear intention as to what it is you wish to reveal in yourself. Energy follows intention, it really does!


Peter Harper


Mandali Retreat Center is situated above the clouds, nearly one kilometer overlooking the crystal clear Lake Orta in the majestic Pre Alps of Northern Italy. It's been called the most beautiful center in Europe and has been created to support the awakening process of Humanity yet in style. Surrounded by nature, beautiful clear air, fresh mountain water, serving the best food, spa and with amazing facilities Mandali is a conspiracy for awakening.


Meals include breakfast, lunch, and dinner with tea and snacks breaks between sessions. From day 2 until day 4, you will enjoy detox food plates. On day 1 (dinner), 5 and 6 (breakfast, lunch), there will be vegetarian buffet.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Tea

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

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

What's included

  • Teaching sessions
  • 5 nights accommodation
  • Full board - vegetarian meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner + tea and snacks breaks between sessions)
  • Fruits, teas and filtered water
  • Free use of Body Care Center facilities: sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, indoor heated swimming pool, except during the three-day Intensive period.

What's not included

  • Flights to / from Malpensa International Airport
  • Transfers to / from Mandali Retreat Centre
  • Massage at the Body Care Center

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Milan–Malpensa Airport (MXP). From Malpensa Airport, you can continue your journey to Mandali Retreat Center by taxi or shuttle and taxi, or train and taxi.

Arrival by taxi

The cost for a taxi from Malpensa Airport to the center is 130 EUR for a car (one to three passengers) or 160 EUR for a minivan (four to seven people). Cost can be shared. For more info and booking in advance, please send The Drunken Monk an inquiry.

Arrival by shuttle

The Comazzi shuttle bus needs to be reserved 48 hours in advance and costs 12 EUR each way. A taxi from Gravellona Toce to Mandali costs approximately 40 EUR. For more info and booking in advance, please send The Drunken Monk an inquiry.

Arrival by train

Take a train from Malpensa to Omegna or Verbania. Then, a taxi from Omegna (approximately 35 EUR or Verbania) approximately 50 EUR to Mandali. For more info and booking in advance, please send The Drunken Monk an inquiry.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 100% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
6 days / 5 nights
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Arrival: Sunday April 19, 2020
Departure: Friday April 24, 2020

Retreat information

This retreat requires a minimum of six participants to run.

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