0 Items
Select Page

Insight Dialogue and Spiritual Friendship Online Retreat

With Phyllis Hicks and Janet Surrey, assisted by Rosalie Dores and Jane Cutler

Tuesday 28 – Friday 31 July 2020

For those who were registered for this retreat, and anybody who feels a connection to Gaia House and/or the Insight Meditation tradition and/or Insight Dialogue practices, with an established silent practice and some experience of Insight Dialogue and/or familiarity with the Insight Dialogue guidelines. Some experiential orientation to the guidelines is available on the Insight Dialogue website here: www.insightdialogue.org/teachings/category/audio/

The teachers:

PHYLLIS HICKS has been practicing meditation since 1984. She trained with Gregory Kramer and offers Insight Dialogue retreats internationally. A psychotherapist for 32 years, she also teaches MBSR and is a guiding teacher for Triangle Insight. She is co-author and designer of the Interpersonal Mindfulness Program. Phyllis lives in North Carolina, USA.


Photo of Teacher.JANET SURREY is an Insight Dialogue Teacher. She teaches Insight Dialogue retreats worldwide and leads a monthly practice group in the Boston area. Her primary meditation teacher was Vimala Thakar, and she has studied with many Vipassana teachers for over 25 years and has trained with Gregory Kramer since 2008. She is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leader training at Spirit Rock. Jan is a practicing clinical psychologist and founding scholar of the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute at the Wellesley Centers for Women. She is on the faculty and board of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. She is the author of recently published book, The Buddha’s Wife: The Path of Awakening Together.

The assistants:

Rosalie Dores has practised meditation in the Vipassana and Insight Meditation traditions since 1992. She has been an Insight Dialogue Retreat teacher in training since 2007. She has a MA in Teaching Mindfulness Based Approaches as well as being a trained Scaravelli Yoga teacher.

Jane Cutler has been facilitating Insight Dialogue since 2008 and has worked as a psychotherapist with individuals and groups since 1991. She co-leads a group in Bristol, UK, offers on-line practice, and day long and weekend retreats. Jane has been co-abbot of a zen community in Bristol since 2003. Her special interest is an ongoing enquiry into how we can truly meet one another and stay in openhearted relationship. She sees the current climate emergency as the koan of our time. Supporting resilience in these troubled times through Insight Dialogue and other skillful means is increasingly at the heart of offering practice.


Attendance is encouraged for all sessions but not obligatory for the early morning or evening practice.

*Please note: Places are limited on this retreat. Please register only if you know that you can commit to attending the retreat*

Retreat description

This retreat will illuminate the power of spiritual friendship (kalyāṇa-mitta) as a path for deeply understanding and ‘living’ the Dhamma. We will gather together, via Zoom, which offers the unique opportunity to explore the teachings within the context of our daily lives.

As the Buddha’s teachings come to life in our hearts and minds we can have the direct experience of participating in a community of awakening. A community that exists both within the retreat and beyond, in our immediate and wider world. We will delve into each of the four noble truths and investigate how to fully receive and be with the challenges of our lives and times. Together we will touch the synergy and complementarity of silent and relational meditation practices for integration and freedom.

The three bases of Insight Dialogue practice – meditation, wisdom, and relationship – form the foundation and a path of unbinding. We discover the power of solitude and communion in our lives.

For info on Insight Dialogue, see https://insightdialogue.org/relational-practices/insight-dialogue/

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:

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 participate in a retreat. 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.
  • If you have any questions about this, please contact Janet by clicking here.


The practice sessions will include silent practice, Dharma talks and interpersonal mediation in the form of Insight Dialogue. Insight Dialogue (ID) will be in break out rooms in dyads, triads or small groups and coming together for whole group ID practice.


All times shown are in BST (GMT+1)

(*Indicates a Zoom session)
(Early morning and evening session attendance is encouraged but is left to the wisdom of participants)

Tuesday (28 July)

3-5pm: Orientation by Gaia House and Insight Dialogue teachers – Using Zoom and introduction to Insight Dialogue*


Wednesday & Thursday (29-30 July)

6:45 -7:30:   Morning silent meditation*

7:30 –9:00:  Breakfast and home-based practice

9:00 – 10:30:  Morning practice*

10:30 – 11:00: Integration and body care off-line

11:00 – 12:00: Dialogue*

12:00 – 2:15: Home-based practice

2:15 – 3:45: Afternoon practice*

3:45 – 4:15: Integration and body care off-line

4:15 – 5:15: Group practice and reflection*

5:15 – 7:15: Dinner and home-based practice

7:30 – 8:15: Evening practice*

Friday (31 July)

6:45 -7:30:   Morning silent meditation*

7:30 –9:00:  Breakfast and home-based practice

9:00 – 10:30:  Morning practice*

10:30 – 11:00: Integration and body care off-line

11:00 – 12:00: Dialogue*

12:00 – 2:15: Home-based practice

2:15 – 3:45: Afternoon practice*

3:45 – 4:15: Integration and body care off-line

4:15 – 5:15: Closing session*

Each practice period will include thirty minutes of self-care away from the screen. The morning and evening sit can be optional to allow for personal need and to take care of duties.

Using Zoom

This online retreat will use the Zoom platform. For support with learning how to use Zoom, please click here to read the guidance we’ve put together on our website. Please read the first section, ‘Using Zoom’, before registering.


To register for this retreat, please scroll down to the bottom of the page and complete the registration form.  Please note that places are limited on this retreat and please only register if you are able to commit your attendance to the times shown on the schedule.

Dana (the practice of generosity)

This online retreat is offered without charge, as an offering to support your wellbeing. We would like to invite you to join in that spirit of generosity by making a voluntary offering of dana/financial support at the end of the retreat, to help Gaia House with its ongoing expenses, and contribute to the teacher’s livelihoods. Both Gaia House and the retreat teachers rely on your kindness and generosity to continue offering retreats in this way and are deeply grateful for your support.

You can find out more about the practice of dana here.

You can offer dana to Gaia House through the Gaia House website.

Dana can be offered to the teachers through the Insight Dialogue community website https://insightdialogue.org/dana-for-metta/

Please indicate/type in “For the Gaia House retreat” in the notes section.

Or, Dana can be offered to the teachers through Transferwise to the Insight Dialogue Community account. Click here for details.
Bank Details to receive EUR

TW account holder: Insight Dialogue Community


IBAN: BE87 9670 6509 9894

Please write in the notes: “Dana for Gaia House Retreat


TransferWise Europe SA
Avenue Marnix 13-17

Bank Details to receive GBP (British Pound)

TW account holder: Insight Dialogue Community

Account: 42439008

UK Sort Code: 23-14-70

IBAN (to receive GBP from UK only)

GB19 TRWI 2314 7042 4390 08

Please write in the notes: “Dana for Gaia House Retreat”


Dana can also be offered to the teachers through the Gaia House website.
If offering dana to the teachers here, please make sure you include ‘For Insight Dialogue retreat’ on the notes section at check out.

With deep appreciation for your generosity and support.


If you have any questions regarding the retreat, you can send an email to info@gaiahouse.co.uk  we will respond as quickly as possible, but we have a reduced team during this time so we apologise if you have to wait longer than usual.

Registration form

This retreat is now full.  If you wish to be added to the waiting list please contact us by email info@gaiahouse.co.uk