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Opening the Heart with Mindfulness and Compassion

Opening the Heart with Mindfulness and Compassion

This retreat will offer an opportunity to explore and practise how mindfulness and compassion can be cultivated together in a mutually supportive way.

Compassion prevents mindfulness from becoming a cool or indifferent awareness; equally, mindfulness deepens our ability to extend compassion toward the suffering of ourselves and others without being overwhelmed. Practised together, these beautiful qualities of the heart can open up the path to a more meaningful and awakened life.

The retreat will draw on traditional and contemporary approaches to mindfulness and compassion practice. In addition to the usual retreat format of dharma teachings, guided meditation, and silent practice, there will be some opportunity for contemplative dialogue to support our practice.


JENNY WILKS has practised in various Buddhist traditions since the late 1980s, and has an MA in Indian Religions. She has taught for several years at Gaia House, the Barn Retreat near Totnes in Devon UK, and local meditation classes. She trained in clinical psychology and works as an MBCT (Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy) therapist and trainer at Exeter University.

Listen to one of Jenny Wilks' Talks at Gaia House on 31.12.2016: The Five Recollections (Duration 52:50)


The teacher will be assisted by:

ALISON EVANS has practiced insight meditation since 2004. She regularly attends retreats, alongside individual mentoring to support her practice. She is the director of The Mindfulness Network, a MBSR/MBCT teacher, trainer and supervisor and trained to teach Mindfulness-based Compassionate Living. She is studying on the Bodhi College Teacher Training Programme from 2018-2021. She lives in North Devon. See www.mindfulness-network.org/alison-evans.


Retreat Code = 19152

A = suitable for all

Mental well-being guidelines - please click here to read before booking


Before you book, please read these guidelines about mental well-being and silent retreats:

Intensive silent meditation retreats can be very nourishing; however, as they require sustained meditation practice, they also need some stability of psychological health. If you have recently (within the past year or so) experienced significant trauma or psychiatric illness, or if you are currently experiencing acute emotional distress such as serious depression or anxiety, it may not be the best time for you to attend an intensive retreat in silence. The teachers might not be able to give you the kind of individual psychological care you need at this time. A setting with more opportunities for interpersonal engagement may be more appropriate.

  • If you are currently under the care of a mental health professional, please discuss your attendance with them. You should be in a relatively stable period of mental well-being and have adequate psychological resilience to attend an intensive silent retreat.
  • Please be prepared to offer your mental health professional's contact information to the teachers on the opening day if requested.
  • If you have any questions about this, please contact: retreatmanager@gaiahouse.co.uk


Sunday 7 July 2019 - Thursday 11 July 2019 (4 nights)

Standard Rate:    £236 - Please pay this rate if you can
Sponsor Rate:        £283 - A benefactor rate, which helps others to come here on the Supported Rate
Supported Rate:     £201 - Available if the Standard Rate is too high for you
FAB Fund Rate:       £118 - For more details please see the Financial Assistance page
Young Persons Rate: £71 - For more details please see the Financial Assistance page

Extending Your Retreat = £54 per night - Conditions apply - please see box

Arrival & Departure:
  • Arrive for registration between 2-5pm on the opening day.
  • Depart after 12.30pm on the final day (or 1.30pm if staying for lunch).
  • Please only make travel bookings to fit with these times.
  • These conditions apply even if you've been to Gaia House before.
Please only book if you are able to commit to the entire retreat:
  • The teachers and staff at Gaia House require this commitment in order to respect the retreat environment and minimise disruption to others.
  • We are not able to accept bookings from people who want to arrive and/or depart outside of these times.

Note: If you are booking for yourself and someone else -
you must make a separate booking for each person.

Spaces Available

Please make your selections below

Price: from £100.00

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