Places now available for the whole of 2022
We are delighted to be able to offer again work retreats spaces. If you had been on a work retreat with us before 2020 many aspects of the retreat set-up and retreat environment will be familiar and well-known, while others will be new, and we hope to make your retreat at Gaia House as supportive as possible.
Below, you will find some more detailed information on how we hope to co-create as supportive and safe a retreat environment as possible, under the various covid regulations that may still be in place.
What is a work retreat?
Work retreats offer the opportunity to integrate your meditation practice with daily life. The work directly contributes to the well-being of the Gaia House community and is one way you can help to keep rates as low as possible.
Work retreats are suitable for robust and healthy individuals who have previous silent retreat experience and an established meditation practice.
A work retreat consists of five hours of physical work and at least four sessions of meditation a day. One day a week is set aside as a retreat day. From the second month, as a work retreatant you will be entitled to two additional retreat days per month for each month completed.
Work retreatants are supported by a facilitated weekly group meeting with the resident teacher when scheduled, as well as meeting individually with teachers. Work retreats are undertaken and continued with the agreement of the teacher.
During group retreats, you are welcome to participate in some of the meditation sessions and dharma talks if it fits with the work schedule and tasks allocated to you.Who can apply for a work retreat?
You also need to have the capacity to live and work in silence and to work independently (with instruction from the residential staff).
Work retreats are available only to those with previous retreat experience of at least two weeks’ teacher-led, Insight (Vipassana) or Zen meditation retreat in silence (either as two separate weeks or one continuous retreat of 14 days), not necessarily at Gaia House, and an established meditation practice.
The independence of a work retreat can be very challenging if you are not ready for it, so depending on your conditions we may suggest that you participate in more meditation group retreats before embarking on a work retreat.
If you wish to register your interest in attending a work retreat, please email: email@example.com, with the following details:
- Your full name
- Details of your retreat experience, which meets the criteria explained in the previous question.
- The dates you wish to attend
We will then confirm availability and send you a link to the online Retreat Application Form, which contains important questions about your personal and medical history. This confidential information is necessary so that our teachers can assess your preparedness for what can be a unique and profound experience.
If your application is accepted, Gaia House will be in touch to discuss available dates. Please do not pay your deposit or make travel arrangements until your place has been confirmed.We will email you back as soon as we can, but there may be a short delay and we appreciate your patience and understanding.
Full payment will be required on confirmation of a place. If a more flexible way of paying would support your personal circumstances, please contact us to discuss this: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Response to Covid 19
- We will need everyone to commit to the full duration of their retreat; early or late arrivals and extra nights won’t be possible at this time.
- Although normally we would discourage the use of mobiles whilst on retreat, within the current conditions it may be necessary to check for NHS Test and Trace messages once a day. If you wish, you can discuss with the teacher how to do this in a way that will be respecting and honouring your intention to be on retreat.
- Please bring enough reusable face coverings for the duration of the retreat.
- If you have covid-19 symptoms during your retreat, you will be able to stay in isolation in your room 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, i.e. if you have travelled by public transport you will need a friend or family member to collect you.
Other frequently asked questionsWhat accommodation do you provide for work retreatants?
If you find it necessary to cancel your booking due to covid-19 related reasons, a full refund will be available. 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 will be closed early and a refund will be offered for the remaining days of the retreat.
All work retreatants participate in a weekly teacher-led work retreatant meeting. In addition, we ask you to sign up for a weekly one-to-one interview with the Gaia House teachers.
- Please respect the silent atmosphere in the house and the grounds at all times.
- We ask you to switch off all electronic devices (mobile phones, iPads, laptops, Kindles etc.) for the duration of your retreat, with the exception of checking your phone for NHS test and trace messages.
- We recommend that you avoid making telephone calls and sending emails/post during your stay.
- Consumption of drugs (except prescription medications), cigarettes and alcohol is not permitted during your stay at Gaia House.
- This includes all areas in the house as well as the garden and the grounds.
- All retreatants are asked to abstain from sexual contact whilst on retreat.
- Please commit yourself fully to your retreat and stay on the Gaia House premises or within the immediate vicinity, except in an emergency. If you need to leave the retreat please liaise with a member of the residential team and this will be discussed with the teacher(s).
- We encourage sensitivity towards all living beings and a non-harming relationship to all life.
The Five Precepts
The core ethical principles of Buddhism are known as the ‘Five Precepts’, which we ask all people who live, work and practice at Gaia House to observe whilst within the house and grounds, in order to support a retreat environment of safety, peace, sensitivity and respect. The precepts are not rules or commandments, but ‘principles of training’, which are undertaken freely.
1. Refrain from harming or taking the life of any being.
2. Refrain from taking or misusing anything that does not belong to you or has not been clearly offered.
3. Refrain from harmful expressions of sexuality.
4. Refrain from harmful expressions of speech.
5. Refrain from the use of intoxicants and substances which cloud the mind.
Thank you for your help with preserving Gaia House’s unique retreat environment for the benefit of all beings.
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 through language and concepts. This direct seeing is the foundation for inner peace, wisdom and compassion.
Retreatants are requested to commit to maintaining silence throughout the house and grounds, apart from essential communication with teachers and coordinators. More about silence.
Gaia House offers a healthy, balanced vegetarian diet that may include eggs and dairy produce. Vegan, dairy-free and wheat/gluten-free options need to be requested prior to arrival. At lunch we also offer a ‘Simple Diet’ consisting of a gluten-free wholegrain, steamed vegetables and plain pulses, egg or tofu. This diet is intended to meet nutritional needs whilst being as plain as possible. The simple diet, including protein choices, also needs to be requested prior to arrival.
Due to covid-19 constraints, it is not possible for us to cater for any dietary need which differs from the above options and it is not possible for personal food supplies to be brought to Gaia House and stored.