Calm and Contented Heart – a path of cultivating samadhi

Online retreat with Sari Markkanen


Saturday and Sunday, 22 and 23 January 2022


This retreat is open to all, including beginners and those with experience. Please join us.


Photo of teacher SARI MARKKANEN started to practise Insight meditation in 2005 after years of other meditative practices. Sari has practised meditation on long retreats at Gaia House, in Finland and in monasteries in Thailand. She completed an Insight Meditation teacher training in 2020 guided by her close teachers Rob Burbea, Martine Batchelor and Caroline Jones. Sari has been sharing Dharma for many years in Nirodha, the Finnish Insight Meditation community, earlier as a Community Dharma Leader trainee and graduate. Previously, Sari taught secular mindfulness (MBSR) and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) and she was a pioneer in teaching mindfulness in schools in Finland. She has written two books about mindfulness, kindness and compassion practices for children. Nowadays she is committed to serving Dharma.

Retreat description

Samadhi, the meditative calm, or collectedness of mind is a valuable skill that can be cultivated in meditation practice. Samadhi allows us to experience joy, happiness and calm that are not conditioned by outside sources but born out of meditation. These qualities nourish deeply the heart and mind and are important resources in life. Samadhi practice also supports insight in many ways and when followed wholeheartedly and with commitment can lead to jhanas, that are states of meditative absorption.


During this retreat we explore meditation practices that develop and encourage samadhi, and attitudes and ways of working in meditation that support the deepening of samadhi. Traditionally samadhi and jhanas have been practiced through diligent concentration. During this weekend we are following and honoring Rob Burbea’s beautiful approach to samadhi practice, which emphasizes sensitivity, responsiveness and turning toward wellbeing so that the whole path of cultivating samadhi can be nourishing, and teach us lots of meditative skills. We will learn a method that can be followed all the way to developing jhanas. We will also explore how the practice of samadhi can support wisdom, and teach experientially about emptiness and dependent origination, which is very much in the core of the Buddhist practice.

Daily schedule

All times shown are in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).  The schedule may change before the retreat starts.

09:30-11:00         Opening session: Guided meditation and introduction into samadhi practice
11:00-11:45         Walking meditation
11:45-12:30         Group sitting (with bell ringing)

Lunch break

14:00-15:00        Guided meditation and Q+A
15:00-15:45        Walking
15:45-16:30        Group sitting (with bell ringing)
17:00-18:30        Evening teaching period

Dinner break

19:30-20:15        Group sitting (with bell ringing)

Independent practice

On Sunday the last session of the retreat will be

17:00-19:00        Teaching and Closing

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 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.


None of your registration fee goes to the teachers. Gaia House teachers rely on the generosity of students for their livelihood. There will be an opportunity to make a dana offering to Sari at the end of the retreat.

Click here to read more about the practice of dana.

Dana can be offered to Sari via PayPal using

Dana can also be offered to Sari via the Gaia House website by clicking here. Please click on Teacher and then specify that your donation is for ‘Sari– Calm and contented heart’ in the notes section on the checkout page.

Dana can also be offered to Gaia House’s residential service team via our website here:  This team is responding to email and telephone enquiries for both our online and residential retreats, alongside supporting our retreatants during their stay at Gaia House.

With deep appreciation for your generosity.

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,


Registrations for this retreat are now closed.