The Joshua Tree Retreat Center offers an intentional habitat for wellness-based programs, arts based cultural events, environmental education and deep spiritual inquiry.
What do we do Here?
The Joshua Tree Retreat Center, home of The Institute of Mentalphysics, is a unique 501(c)(3) spiritual center with many facets. Our mission is to be a retreat center for individuals and groups to create and experience new ways to approach spiritual living and personal well-being. Throughout the year we host retreat groups from 15 to 250 people.
As the Institute of Mentalphysics we house the archives of the founder Edwin Dingle aka Ding Le Mei, keep the world-wide student database, publish the teaching materials, and offer Mentalphysics breathwork classes weekly.
Edwin Dingle was a visionary and when it came time to build his teaching center in Joshua Tree, CA, he wanted the buildings to reflect the qualities of the desert that allow one to go deeper into their own practice. At the time Frank Lloyd Wright had established the Taliesin Fellowship in the Sonoran Desert, embodying the desert principles that inspired Dingle. He wanted to hire Frank Lloyd Wright to build his vision of the City of Mentalphysics, and although Wright respectively understood the project he turned it over to his son Lloyd Wright. Today we have the largest collection of Lloyd Wright buildings constructed and aligned with Organic Architecture. To oversee design choices and steward the organic architecture restoration projects we formed the Whole Arts Auxiliary.
On the property you will find a lot of triangles used in the design. Our focus is threefold:
Can I walk the grounds anytime I want?
Because we host retreat groups, many of whom retreat in silence, the grounds are not always available to explore. The Bookstore is open daily and you are welcome to stop in or call to see what is available.
Is the retreat center public property?
No, it is private property. We encourage community engagement and have weekly classes and several events open to the community, but as any organization we reserve the right to be autonomous and true to our mission.
Can I bring my pet?
We do not allow pets on the property, except for bona fide service animals.
Can I camp on the grounds?
We are not zoned for camping at this time.
Can I stay in one of the rooms if I am not part of a retreat?
Yes, if we have availability. Give us a call during business hours or email us with the dates you are interested in. We have ongoing yoga and breathwork sessions during the week and massage therapists available so you can design your own personal retreat. We prefer a 2 night minimum stay.
Do you offer work-exchange programs?
Only in certain circumstances, and there are currently no opportunities available.
Who owns the retreat center?
The Center is a long established nonprofit organization that is administered by a seven member board of trustees and managed by staff. The property is owned by the organization.
Is Mentalphysics a cult?
No. The teachings of Mentalphysics are meant to set one free to think on their own with more clarity, and with a strong leaning towards creating a healthy mind/body connection. It is more spiritual practice than religion. To put Mentalphysics into context you need to go back in time and imagine what is was like in the 1920’s-1930’s when Edwin Dingle established Mentalphysics. For one, there were not a lot of distractions by way of television so people read books that had more than 100 pages. The language is reflective of the period and also reflective of Dingle’s charismatic style of teaching. So it doesn’t always synch well with todays’ sound bites and fast paced need for information.
What happened to all the festivals?
Due to the recent popularity trend of Joshua Tree there are more people living full time in the desert and more attention focused on the area from all types of entities (for better or worse). In the past few years, several music festivals and large conferences were held at the retreat center and all of them grew in popularity to a point where the center was not able to handle the large amount of people attending the events. The sound and traffic was bothering our neighbors and the surrounding community was complaining to the county. After much contemplation, and communication with the county agencies, it seemed like a good time to change directions and take a break from events that require a Temporary Special Event Permit. With that said we are grateful to have had the opportunity to be the venue host for some amazing events that have found new homes.