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Roots into the Ground of Soul

Growing out of an understanding of the Buddha’s radical teachings on emptiness, as well as the practices of mindfulness, metta, and samatha, soulmaking practices open our senses of sacredness and meaningful participation in the cosmos.

Through wisely discerning explorations of our ways of looking, of imagination, and of the movements of desire, we liberate beauty, discovery, and creativity, and extend our ranges of experience, insight, and freedom

For meditators who have already begun to explore Soulmaking Dharma, this retreat offers an opportunity to consolidate their practice and understanding as well as to receive teachings, and extend their explorations, in directions tailored to their individual needs.

Retreat Experience Requirements:

This retreat is suitable only for experienced meditators and an application process is required to attend. All participants are required to have a minimum total of 4 weeks’ silent led Insight Meditation retreat experience (not including Soulmaking Dharma retreats).

Applicants also need to have some meditative working familiarity with the following practices and concepts:
The Emotional / Energy, the Imaginal and ‘sensing with soul’, emptiness and ‘ways of looking’.

For those of you who may not be 100% certain, we are using the terms above in specific ways as explained in detail in the talks below:

The emotional/energy body practices :

Energy Body Instructions (1)
Energy Body Instructions (2)
Energy, Image, Emotion (Part 1)
Energy, Image, Emotion (Part 2)
On Orientations in Practice
Energy Body Instructions

An understanding of emptiness and the concept of ‘ways of looking’:

Rob Burbea’s book: ‘Seeing That Frees’:

Approaching the Dharma: Part One – Unbinding the World
Approaching the Dharma: Part Two – Liberating Ways of Looking

Imaginal practices and sensing with soul:

Path of the Imaginal (Longer Course)
Re-enchanting the Cosmos: The Poetry of Perception
Of Hermits and Lovers: The Alchemy of Desire
Eros Unfettered – Opening the Dharma of Desire

Commitment to attend the whole retreat:

The teachers require every retreatant to arrive for the start of the retreat, stay for the entire duration and stay until the end.

Application process for this retreat:

Please click here to fill in the on-line Application form.

Deadline for applications is Mon 10th January 2019.
The teachers will review all the applications together, and all applicants will be informed if they have a place or not, during the week commencing Mon 21st January 2019.
You are welcome to apply after the 10th January, but you will only hear from us once we have had time to review your application.

A note for beginners:

If you feel you are interested in these kinds of practices and teachings but don’t yet have the background understandings and meditative skills, please know that there will soon be a Soulmaking Dharma website where you will find some leads, links, and possible pathways of learning, as well as the option of connecting with others who might also like to develop and explore together. (To find out when this website is launched, please contact Mark on mark@soulmakingdharma.net ) And then in due course, if you should still so wish, we look forward to welcoming you on a Soulmaking Dharma retreat in the future.


ROB BURBEA has been practising and studying the Dharma since 1985. He has been teaching since 2004 and is a Guiding Teacher of Freely Given Retreats. He is a co-founder of SanghaSeva, an organisation dedicated to exploring the Dharma through service work internationally, and also a co-initiator of DANCE (Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement). He is the author of Seeing That Frees: Meditations on Emptiness and Dependent Arising.

Listen to one of Rob Burbea's Talks at Gaia House on 31.12.2011: This Matter of Emptiness (Duration 50:33)
CATHERINE McGEE has been teaching Insight Meditation at Gaia House and internationally since 1997. Her teaching emphasises embodiment and working with whatever hinders us from living our deepest knowing in the world. She is an advisor to One Earth Sangha and a long term student of the Diamond Approach.

Listen to one of Catherine McGee's Talks given at Gaia House on 09.08.2010: Intimacy and Non Attachment (Duration 51:37)

Retreat Code = 19140

C = special criteria, please read the retreat description carefully
E = experienced

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:

Intensive silent 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 attend an intensive retreat in silence. 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 to attend an intensive silent retreat.
  • Please be prepared to offer your mental health professional's contact information to the teachers on the opening day if requested.
  • If you have any questions about this, please contact: retreatmanager@gaiahouse.co.uk


Saturday 23 March 2019 – Saturday 30 March 2019 (7 nights)

Standard Rate:    £413 - Please pay this rate if you can
Sponsor Rate:        £496 - A benefactor rate, which helps others to come here on the Supported Rate
Supported Rate:     £351 - Available if the Standard Rate is too high for you
FAB Fund Rate:      £207 - For more details please see the Financial Assistance page
Young Persons Rate: £124 - For more details please see the Financial Assistance page

Extending Your Retreat = £54 per night – Conditions apply – please see box

Arrival & Departure:
  • Arrive for registration between 2-5pm on the opening day.
  • Depart after 12.30pm on the final day (or 1.30pm if staying for lunch).
  • Please only make travel bookings to fit with these times.
  • These conditions apply even if you've been to Gaia House before.
Please only book if you are able to commit to the entire retreat:
  • The teachers and staff at Gaia House require this commitment in order to respect the retreat environment and minimise disruption to others.
  • We are not able to accept bookings from people who want to arrive and/or depart outside of these times.

To apply for this retreat, please click here to fill in the on-line Application form.