Compassion, Beauty and Imagination

Residential retreat

 

Friday, 14 October – Sunday, 16 October (2 nights)

With Catherine McGee and Yahel Avigur

 

Teachers

CATHERINE McGEE has been teaching Insight Meditation at Gaia House and internationally since 1997. Her teaching emphasises working with perceptions of the body on the path of awakening and in the healing of the individual and collective crises of our times. She is an advisor to One Earth Sangha. Between 2014 and 2020 Catherine collaborated with Rob Burbea in shaping and teaching a Soulmaking Dharma.

Here is a link to Catherine’s reflection on the third foundation of mindfulness - mindfulness of mind, on day five of a meditation retreat.

Third foundation of mindfulness – mindfulness of mind (Duration 51:21).

YAHEL AVIGUR is a devoted meditator and Dharma teacher. In 2013, After practicing in Theravada and Insight Meditation traditions, he met the Dharma teacher Rob Burbea and became his student. He was encouraged by Rob to teach the path of Emptiness to its depth; his unique approach to the Jhana practice; and to train in teaching Soulmaking Dharma. Yahel is also trained in the Hakomi approach of assisted self study.

 

Experience required

This retreat is intended for Dharma practitioners who:

  • are interested in working with imagination and in a creative cultivation of kindness and compassion.
  • can readily access a full body awareness in their meditation practice
  • recognize a desire for more of something they might term beauty or sacredness
  • have an open mind

Retreat description

Sometimes we might assume that our imaginations are a hindrance on the path of  Dharma practice. But what might become possible for us when we engage our imagination with wisdom, skill and sensitivity?

With our hearts and imaginations at the centre of this weekend retreat held within a context of silence.  We will offer meditations and inquiries that deepen our access to the beautiful qualities of heart and that can restore and open our senses of sacredness.

This retreat can serve as a stand alone retreat to support your path of practice whichever tradition(s) you are at home in. And it will also support those of you who know the frameworks and practices of Soulmaking Dharma as taught by Rob Burbea.

Rates

Please consider paying at the highest rate that you are able to. Your generosity is vital in supporting Gaia House to sustain its Dharma offerings for the benefit of all.

We are committed to ensuring that our programme is available to everyone who wishes to participate. If our rates are too high for you, we invite you to apply for support from our Financial Assistance and Bursaries Fund (FAB Fund).

Standard Rate:£186Includes a donation to the General Fund, which will help sustain Gaia House into the future
Basic Rate:£144Covers the very basic costs of running the retreat
Supported Rate:£118A subsidised rate to support practice
Young Persons Rate:£43For more details please see the Financial Assistance page
FAB Fund Rate:£72For more details please see the Financial Assistance page

 

Dana/generosity

None of your registration fee goes to the teachers. Gaia House teachers rely on the generosity of students for their livelihood.

At the end of the retreat, there is an opportunity to make a dana offering to Catherine and Yahel, the residential service team and Gaia House’s General and FAB Funds.

We are deeply grateful for your generosity.

Click here to read more about the practice of dana.

Gaia House and covid-19

We hope to make everyone's retreat at Gaia House as supportive as possible.

Many aspects of the retreat set-up and retreat environment will be familiar and well-known, and others may be new. As the conditions and guidelines are constantly changing, we are remaining flexible and will be reviewing what is needed at the time of each retreat. Prior to your retreat, we will send some more information about what to expect whilst at Gaia House.

From 22nd April 2022 onwards we plan to offer shared rooms again, the exact configuration of rooms will depend on the covid situation and the government guidelines at the time.

A limited number of single rooms will be available. Requests for single rooms must be made at the time of booking and cannot be guaranteed. Priority is given to those with specific medical needs and age considerations.

Please click here for more detailed information on how we are creating as supportive and safe a retreat environment as possible under the covid regulations that may still be in place.

Please note:
  • If you have covid-19 symptoms during your retreat you will be able to stay in isolation for a limited period. However, we need you to have a plan in place to enable you to continue your isolation away from Gaia House, if you have travelled by public transport you will need a friend or family member to collect you.

Arrival and departure times

  • Arrive for registration between 2.00pm-4.45pm on the opening day.
  • Depart after 4.00pm on the final day of the retreat.

Please only book if you are able to commit to the entire retreat:

  • We will need everyone to commit to the full duration of their retreat; early or late arrivals will not be possible at this time.  Extra nights will also not be possible.

Building work during 2022

To support more socially-distanced retreats in the short term and our development into the future, we are excited to have completed our new shower block, while work on our new Dartmoor Wing is progressing well. These two new buildings will double the number of single rooms and shower/toilet spaces we can offer to group retreatants, enabling our site to catch up with the vast numbers of people now visiting Gaia House each year, and help us increase accessibility. We will take all possible care to minimise disruption by scheduling noisier work to take place between retreats. However, there may be some noise at Gaia House during this time.

Cancellation terms & conditions

If you find it necessary to cancel your booking because of a positive covid-19 test, a full refund will be available. Please note this does not include any travel costs you may have incurred. In all other circumstances, our standard cancellation terms and conditions apply. If there is an outbreak of covid within the residential staff community, the retreat may be closed early, however, a refund will be offered for the remaining days of the retreat if this occurs.

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

If you wish to book on this retreat