Maitri in its simplest form is most commonly interpreted as loving-kindness, compassion, friendliness, benevolence, and goodwill towards self and others.
Yoga Retreats (1)
Drawn to meditation in the 1990’s, Hamid encountered Japanese Zen Master Ryotan Tokuda in 1998, was ordained as a monk at Ei Tai-Ji Monastery in the South of France in 2000 and, in 2011, was authorized by his master to pass on these ancient teachings. Hamid is also a qualified psychotherapist and has continued his personal and professional development by sharing his experience conducting lectures, meditation retreats, and personal therapy sessions. Hamid firmly believes that giving unconditional support and guidance is fundamental to a joyful existence.
from United Kingdom, July 2021
"Eye opening experience"
As soon as I arrived at the Karuna Centre, in the beautiful rolling hills of Monchique, I felt an overwhelming sense of welcome and belonging.
I'd sought out a silent meditation retreat after a tiring and emotional year. Everything about the journey and experience felt as though it was 'meant to be'.
Hamid was an excellent teacher and council. I felt that he led the group in both a structured yet 'open-to-interpretation' way. I felt that he provided guidance through suggestions and examples which could be applied when wanted and necessary.
I booked the retreat with very little prior experience in meditation and spirituality. I found it difficult at times but very eye opening. My difficulties were mainly with the physical implications of being seated for many hours throughout the day whilst meditating. The aches and pains in knees and shoulders were, for me, completely worth it.
The schedule felt well prepared and practiced. It allowed for some time to rest and digest your meditations without leaving you with too much time to over analyse. I'd recommend taking a journal and a couple of books - one which helps with escapism, and one which aids focus. (It was nice to have the option) I'd recommend Puma Chödrön 'The wisdom of no escape' for its humour and accuracy.
Hamid's daily Dharma talks were insightful and engaging. It didn't matter that I had little knowledge or prior experience with Buddhism as he incorporated many cultural references that were...
from United Kingdom, June 2021
"Peaceful and amazing experience "
I loved the retreat I wish I could of stayed more days! The yoga was great, the food was great, hamid was great in the meditation and talks that he did. The location was just beautiful!!! The view of the mountains, the lake and the sea was just something else! I really learned a lot about life and myself in this week!! It was intense at times but so worth it! I have taken meditation and some silence home with me and do it everyday now which keeps me a lot more present. I’m already looking at other retreats for the future with Hamid in Bali. I really highly recommend this retreat. It’s very special.
from Portugal, April 2021
"Intensely challengingly and wonderfully worthwhile."
At its heart the retreat offers you the opportunity to sit in stillness and silence for seven days. This means that for more than seven hours each day you will be practicing sitting or walking meditation, focusing your awareness on each in and out breath. The body/mind is not used to resting in awareness at this still point, and it will protest. Aching muscles, sinews, tendons and joints complain and try to draw your attention away from this focus. Thoughts and emotions rise from deep within to toss you around like a small boat on a stormy sea, and threaten to swamp you. Your anchor is your breath, to which you return every time your attention is diverted.
Inhaling and exhaling deeply and comfortably will afford you about 12 breaths per minute. Each session, and there are four per day, consists of 75 minutes sitting and 20 minutes walking meditation, so approximately 1150 complete breaths, or the same number of opportunities to focus your attention fully on the in-and-out of air through your nostrils and the rise and fall of your belly.
Whenever the aching muscles and anguished thoughts subside, and awareness deepens, the still point is there, where it has always been, hidden behind all the delusional nonsense your body/mind produces. Vast and deep, there is nothing to like or dislike, hold on to or reject, gain or lose. It is a space without attributes but which remains completely compassionate and totally undisturbed.
from Netherlands, November 2020
"i still cant beleive how insightful this week has been"
I almost didnt come because of being silent felt a bit daunting to me. As usual, stepping out of your comfort zone is way more rewarding in the end than choosing the well known (in my case a week of surfing) this week has proven this again.
It really works, being silent and not distracted by social talks and internet and all that, touches the deeper layers of thoughts and emotions you never fully reach in daily life. I also learned that you still can feel connected with others without talking; its the little things that makes that happen: you can still laugh about things, you hold the door, you fill each others cups, you sit next to each other eating breakfast in the sun, the smiles when passing, helping people getting unstuck from killer bushes ;) but most of all, you are all in it together. No matter what, everyone is here to improve their life some how...
Karuna itself is a beautiful place located high in the mountains and under the humble, calm and experienced guidance of 'ordinary', but really not ordinary Hamid this has been a unforgettable week of so many learned lessons i cant describe all.
in short: dont be afraid of the silence, dont be afraid of the early hours getting up, dont be afraid of the hours sitting per day and dont be afraid of missing your iphone.
i was worrying about all that but in hindsight that was just stupid...that was not hard at all. the difficult part is how you integrate your new insight in your life to make it better.
from United States, November 2019
"Mind, Body & Soul Essentials "
Such a wonderful experience to sit in silence for 7.5 days at Karuna in the beautiful Monchique mountains. The combination of Zazen meditation, Yin Yoga and hiking was perfect. Hamid is a wonderful teacher with years of experience and infinite knowledge. He is a beautiful story teller who speaks so eloquently. His dharma talks were very well received by all. He is the real thing! The Yin Yoga was a great way to stay aligned after sitting for many hours a da and the massages were a real plus.
Karuna is a beautiful and serene piece of property in of itself. The rooms, meditation and yoga studio and dining areas are all very comfortable. The outdoor areas are even more exquisite; however, it is the hospitality and love of Ana and her staff that brings the experience to another level. She truly puts her heart and soul in her delicious vegetarian and vegan farm to table meals.
My entire experience exceeded my expectations. It is the perfect combination to sit in silence, reflect and connect with nature, self and others. So much gratitude.
from United Kingdom, November 2019
"Silent Meditation Review "
A life affirming and enriching experiences. The Karuna centre was the most amazing place, with views stretching over the lower mountains and out to sea.. But what strikes one even more is the sense of peace and tranquillity that pervades the whole space. Our host Ana was incredible, she and her team looked after our every need, providing the most amazing food prepared with love. The accommodation was comfortable and warm, and each room had amazing views over the Serra de Monchique.
The retreat itself was led by Hamid, an ordained Buddhist monk, philosopher and psychotherapist. Hamid instructed and guided us through each and every meditation, but more than that, I was personally grateful for his selfless care and compassion when supporting us through the emotions that sometimes surface during and after meditation. In addition; we were privileged to receive a Dharma talk from Hamid on 6 of the 7 full days. The talks were utterly amazing, his wisdom was awe inspiring and he delivered each talk with eloquence and humility. Each talk was a fascinating insight into an aspect of life, and whilst many of the messages were simple his delivery allowed them to resonate at a deep level. Hamid is a truly compassionate person, and his teachings profound.The most important lesson was to understand how the ordinary is itself truly ‘extraordinary’ and that meditation does not turn us into a different person but rather it loosens the grip of the ego, freeing us to be more of the person we are
from Brazil, October 2019
An amazing exoerience
from Switzerland, July 2019
I was lucky to join Hamid for two wonderful retreats. One of them in beautiful Karuna retreat center, Portugal. I loved staying in Karuna, it is a very peaceful place in the middle of a beautiful nature, quiet, amazing healthy food cooked by the wonderful host. For me it was the ideal place for my getaway to re-connect to myself and, as Hamid says to "just sit".
But anyway, the location was only secondary, the retreat lives from Hamid, he was the soul of it. He is not only a wise man and humble person but also a great story teller. Even now, a year after my retreat I can still gain from what I have learned there.
Of course, there were hard times during the retreats. Speaking of long hours of meditation, alone with my wild thoughts accompanied by pain in my knees and back the early getting up and freezing cold nights. But at the end, I feel like it was all necessary to discover the real me and a long-lost peace, lightness and happiness.
So, getting to the point, I can only recommend to join Hamid’s retreats. It is not an easy holiday, you will have to work hard on yourself, maybe even suffer for some moments but at the end you will learn a lot about yourself, life and go home stronger and hopefully happy.