0 Items
Select Page

The Poetry of Self, The Poetry of Not Self

A Gaia House online retreat with Kirsten Kratz and Yuka Nakamura

Tuesday, 22 – Sunday, 27 September 2020

The teachers:

Photo of Teacher.

KIRSTEN KRATZ has practised Buddhist meditation in Asia and the West since 1993. She started teaching in 2006. One of her particular passions is exploring how wisdom teachings can foster appropriate responses to the challenges of our time; she supports those on personal retreat in Gaia House and is co-initiator of the Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement: DANCE.



Photo of Teacher.

YUKA NAKAMURA PH.D has been practicing in several Buddhist traditions (Vipassana, Dzogchen and Zen) since 1993 and has practiced for long periods in the US (IMS, Spirit Rock), in Burma and Japan. She was trained as a Dharmateacher by Fred von Allmen and has been teaching since 2014 in Europe and in the US. She is a trained psychologist and MBSR-teacher and trainer. She lives near Zurich in Switzerland. www.yuka-nakamura.ch.


Retreat description

The Buddhist teachings on not-self can be easily misunderstood. They invite us to explore how self is constructed. Looking closer, we discover that ‘self’ is not per se the problem. The Dharma unveils unexamined ways we perceive and construct self and then believe in these fabrications with their accompanying limiting narratives and patterns.

We will enquire into how we create self, other, world; seeing their creation as a spectrum from the dense to ever more refined and subtle levels, and aim to cultivate a liberating pliability that can celebrate the unique, personal expressions of self as well as its emptiness.

Experience required

We ask that participants have at least five days of retreat experience either through a single retreat or accrued through participation in a couple of short retreats.


This online retreat will include periods of instruction, guided meditation practice, silence, Dharma reflections, sharing together as sangha/community and optional smaller group meetings, as well as time for practicing independently in your home.

Please note you will not have to look at your screen for all the time we are together: at times you may only want to listen in.

The format will support all those wishing to practice formally in a sustained way throughout the days, but also allow participation to those who wish to attend the scheduled group sessions while continuing to be engaged with your ongoing life at home..

Joining this retreat will require your commitment to attending the first and final sessions, but we encourage you to participate as much as is possible: please see the schedule below. The main teachings will be recorded and made available to participants as we go along in case you have to miss a session or are joining from another time zone.



All times are British Summer Time (GMT +1)

Tuesday 22 September

3.45pm  Participants sign in

4.00 – 5.30pm  Opening session: landing together and orienting ourselves

7.00pm – 8.15pm  Evening practice

Wednesday 23 September

7.30am – 8.15am — Group sitting

10.30am – 12.00pm — Teaching and practice

2.30pm -3.15pm — Group sitting

7.00pm – 8.15pm  Dharma talk or reflection and closing of the day

Thursday, 24 – Saturday 26

7.30am – 8.15am — Group sitting

10.30am – 12.00pm — Teaching and practice

2.30pm -3.15pm — Group sitting

3.30pm – 4.30 pm — Optional Small Groups

7.00pm – 8.15pm  Dharma talk or reflection and closing of the day

Sunday 27 September

7.30am – 8.15am  Group sitting

10.00am – 12.00pm  Closing Session

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.


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:

Dana (the practice of generosity)

At the end of your retreat you will be invited to make a voluntary offering of dana / financial support, to support the livelihoods of the teachers who have guided your retreat and help sustain Gaia House into the future. Your registration fee contributes towards Gaia House’s management and support costs and maintenance of our building and grounds. The Dharma teachings of wisdom and compassion are considered priceless, thus the retreat teachers offer their understanding freely. Both Gaia House and the retreat teachers rely on your kindness and generosity, and are deeply grateful for your support.

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

Dana can be offered to the teachers or Gaia House through the Gaia House website:  If you are offering dana to the teachers please choose Teachers and then specify that your donation is for ‘Poetry of Self’, in the notes section on the checkout page: this will be shared between the teachers.

With deep appreciation for your generosity and support.

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 Susanne using the email address, retreatmanager@gaiahouse.co.uk

Thank you for your interest in this retreat.  Registrations for this retreat are now closed.