Designer and Developers Retreat Changes the World

These past few years have witnessed a significant interest in mindfulness practice from companies all across the landscape, and from technology companies in particular. Our monastic community visited Google and Facebook in recent years and offered a day of practice with a group of technology CEOs in 2013. But has there been too much hype? Are you already succumbing to the “Trough of Disillusionment” outlined in the hype cycle or are you living in the “Slope of Enlightenment” phase? Mindfulness is a type of technology that offers a collection of techniques and methods (meditation) in the accomplishment of objectives (freedom from our suffering). As Thich Nhat Hanh said,

“The practice of mindfulness helps us generate the energy of joy and happiness just by breathing or walking or sitting we can generate a feeling of joy, a feeling of happiness whenever we want. The practice of mindfulness also helps us to go back to ourselves and also to take care of the suffering inside.”

I don’t see any hype in mindfulness practice because it is transformative for our outlook on life, our happiness and well-being, and for our work environments.

Mindfulness is a Source of Happiness - Designer and Developers Retreat

Software Development

I am not a developer, but I feel the impact of your work in my life everyday. In today’s world, the software developer or designer has a significant impact on our culture and our society. Technology is so ubiquitous and developers/designers have a direct impact on the daily lives of millions of people. What kind of energy are you putting into the technology? No matter the application you are developing, there may be an opportunity to reduce the suffering in the world through your mindfulness practice. As a developer or designer, what kind of energy are you putting into the applications? Can you concentrate on developing apps and other devices that can help bring people back into balance? Apps that can calm our anger?

Again, Thich Nhat Hanh shared in the The Guardian, “We need to have an awakening and when I talk to Google and the other companies, I will tell them to use their intelligence and goodwill to help us create the kind of instruments to come back to ourselves, heal ourselves,” he says. “We do not have to reject or throw away all these devices but can make good use of them.”

A happy developer or designer can change the world.

A Unique Opportunity

We are building a community of developers and designers who wish to transform the work they do, to learn how to incorporate mindfulness into the daily work environment, and to create applications that support the well-being of others. Building upon on our visits to Google, Facebook, and the friendships with many technology CEOs, we are offering a unique retreat this fall in the Bay Area. In an intimate setting, 5-minutes from the San Francisco Airport, seven monastics will practice alongside 40-50 software developers and designers on a 5-day residential developers retreat.

The daily retreat schedule will include sitting meditation, walking meditation, silent meals, a talk from a dharma teacher, and an opportunity to share together in small groups. At some point in the retreat, we will experiment with working together – perhaps identifying and discussing a software project, writing some code, or mapping out design ideas – so, for this retreat, we invite you to bring a laptop for some mindful computing. We have no specific software objective; we want you to come practice with us, learn techniques for your own happiness, and experiment with mindful work. Real life experience.

The dates of the retreat are Sunday, October 11 at 3pm through Friday, October 16 at noon at the Mercy Center in Burlingame. Registration includes tuition plus lodging in a basic, single occupancy room, and vegetarian meals. App developers, designers, project managers, and experienced practitioners welcome.  Registration is now open through September 9. 

We hope you will join us.

The post was written by Kenley Neufeld, a member of the 2015 US Tour organizing team with the monks and nuns of Blue Cliff Monastery, Deer Park Monastery, Magnolia Grove Monastery, European Institute of Applied Buddhism, and Plum Village Practice Center. The tour takes place this fall in New York, Mississippi, and California.

More information at


One thought on “Designer and Developers Retreat Changes the World

  1. I am also a software developer and I know how important it is to be mindful in this kind of job. I really appreciate your effort of bringing this practice in this field, it is so much necessary 🙂 Thank you !

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