Woman looking at sunrise

“The purpose of life is to be happy.”

—Dalai Lama

Sometimes in Mindfulness or Buddhist practice, we get the impression that we shouldn’t enjoy “happiness” or “beauty.” Nothing could be further from the truth! Buddhist Insight Meditation practice is actually a path that cultivates genuine happiness.

At the “Awakening Joy” weekend retreat you will practice cultivating a deep acceptance of things as they are. This profound acceptance, by its nature, generates a deep current of peace and joy underlying your experience of the world. The retreat activities are designed to support you in discovering your “natural joy”—the joy that is your birthright.

Led by AIM founder and lead teacher Ronya Banks, “Awakening Joy” is a Vipassana (Insight Meditation) retreat and takes place over three days and two nights. Each day will consist of alternating periods of sitting and walking meditation, along with a daily dharma talk by Ronya. You’ll have the opportunity to meet with Ronya to discuss your meditation practice, and there will also be optional Mindful Movement sessions.

The retreat is appropriate both for those new to meditation as well as those with more experience. All are welcome.

The Teacher

Ronya Banks

Ronya Banks is the founding teacher at Asheville Insight Meditation, an Insight Meditation community in Asheville, North Carolina. Ronya has practiced daily meditation for over 33 years, and she has been a meditation teacher for over 11 years. She has attended over a year’s worth of meditation retreats with more than 30 internationally known Vipassana teachers.

Ronya is a graduate of the Spirit Rock/IMS Community Dharma Leader training program. She practiced renunciation for a period as a Theravada Buddhist monastic. Her eclectic, easy-going teaching style is informed by her love for intensive meditation practice as well as the vast body of Theravada Buddhist teachings.

Retreat Details

  • Dates: April 26 – 28, 2019
  • Location: Heartwood Refuge Retreat Center in Hendersonville, NC
  • Cost: $205 (does not include dana for the teacher


Register for the retreat at the Heartwood Refuge and Retreat Center website.


For more information or assistance, contact Heartwood staff at admin1@heartwoodrefuge.org.

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