What does Gaia House offer?
Gaia House offers silent meditation retreats from various Buddhist traditions led by experienced Dharma teachers from all over the world.
There are several types of silent meditation retreat at Gaia House:Group retreats and meditation courses
- About group retreats: Teacher led retreats with a daily schedule of meditation, talks and teacher-led discussions or interviews, are listed in the Group retreat programme. Newcomers to meditation are advised to try these retreats first.
- One-day retreats: Meditation Days are often on the same theme as Group Retreats.
- Evening meditation courses and other events: Short courses, talks and other Gaia House events held further afield.
- Sangha community noticeboard: Talks, courses and events from the wider Buddhist Community.
- About personal retreats: For meditators with prior experience of silent retreats and an established meditation practice, an extended period of independent or solitary meditation is an excellent way to develop our practice, deepen our understanding and foster greater self-reliance. Dates and duration can usually be arranged to suit you, subject to availability.
- About work retreats: For robust and healthy individuals with prior experience of silent meditation retreats. This is a chance to combine daily work which directly contributes to the well-being of the Gaia House community, with daily periods of intensive meditation practice. Dates for these retreats are variable, subject to availability. Minimum: two weeks.
About silent meditation retreats at Gaia House:What is the purpose of coming on meditation retreat?
Retreats offer an opportunity to explore and develop serenity, wisdom and compassion through meditation and mindfulness practice in a supportive environment. The main emphasis is placed upon developing attention, sensitivity and awareness through sitting and walking meditation. More about meditation.
Silence fosters a sense of safety and refuge even when among a group of people we do not yet know. Through letting go of the familiar world of words we give ourselves space from the complexity of personal interaction, and can come to see our mind and its activity more clearly. Insight into the way things are, arises through experiencing life directly, rather than filtered through language and concepts. This direct seeing is the foundation for inner peace, wisdom and compassion. More about silence.
In the spirit of silence, you are asked to refrain from all forms of verbal and written communication with others and the outside world, during your retreat (except for essential communication with a teacher or coordinator). At the end of the retreat there will be some time when silence is lifted and you will have the opportunity to talk and share your experiences with other retreatants.
The teachings and practices offered here are founded in the spiritual teachings of the Buddha, who lived 2500 years ago. Through his own deep interest in life and commitment to discovering freedom he came to a profound realisation of the understanding and practices that ennoble and liberate a human being. What is offered in retreats is the opportunity to experience this ennobling wisdom for ourselves. More about Meditation.
If one is currently experiencing acute emotional distress, such as clinical depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder, attending a silent retreat could be difficult. When negative thinking patterns are very intrusive or persistent, sometimes it could be easier to practice in a setting where there are more possibilities for active engagement (such as mindfulness-based stress reduction or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy programmes taught by an appropriately trained and competent instructor). Once the acute phase of emotional distress has eased, Insight Meditation retreats can then offer invaluable opportunities for developing practice further.
Gaia House is open to all, irrespective of religious or political beliefs. We do not seek to convert others or discriminate against those who hold differing views. Gaia House is committed to supporting the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual well-being of all who reside and work here. The Aims of Gaia House.
For information regarding independent solitary retreats at other times of the year, please see About personal retreats.
More useful information to help you prepare for your retreat can be found here: Retreat FAQs.