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Waking up Everywhere

A Gaia House online retreat with Laura Bridgman and Gavin Milne

Friday 6.00 pm, 4 December – Sunday 5.30pm, 6 December 2020


For anybody who feels a connection to Gaia House and/or the Insight Meditation tradition. Suitable for all, all are welcome.

The teachers:

LAURA BRIDGMAN began her Dhamma practice in her early teens, and eventually ordained as a nun with Ajahn Sumedho in 1995. She was resident at Amaravati and Chithurst monasteries for eighteen years until moving out to live as a solitary nun in 2010. She has spent extended periods of time with the Burmese teacher Sayadaw U Tejaniya. In 2015 Laura left the monastic tradition to pursue the Diamond Heart (Ridhwan) spiritual path alongside her Vipassana practice. There is much over-lap as it incorporates Buddhist principles and practices.



GAVIN MILNE has been practising Insight Meditation since 2004, and was invited to teach in 2015, training under the guidance of Yanai Postelnik. Inspired and influenced by other paths, he is particularly interested in exploring practice wherever we find ourselves – everything from family life to responding to the wider issues of our era.


Retreat description

Insight is a penetrative understanding into who and what we are, a kind of waking up that can change our lives. Whilst enabled by certain practices and qualities, this is not just the preserve of retreat centres and monasteries. In fact, sometimes it is the very ideas that we have about awakening that end up our greatest obstacles to it. So what happens if we let go of some of these ideas, and practice everywhere?

If we consider the perspective that everything is nature happening; every thought, emotion, idea about ourselves and others, and somatic experience, is nature happening, then all of our lived experience is relevant to insight and understanding. We can become aware of the nature of our mind through interest, openness and inquiry, and attune to thoughts, feelings and reactions we have through our day with a kind and spacious heart-mind intelligence.

As such, our practice orientation will be:

  • Everything, every experience, is nature happening
  • Letting what is here be as it is in order to see, feel and experience it more fully in the light of awareness
  • Letting go of any end game – any agenda we may have for our practice


In this weekend of practice, amidst these challenging times, we will explore practicing together in a kind, relaxed and curious way, setting the compass of our lives such that the seeds of insight and liberation can increasingly be sown through all the activities of our lives. This retreat is suitable for all levels of experience, and will be supported by meditation guidance, talks and opportunities for questions, as well as periods of open practice*. It will also form the beginning of a monthly ‘waking up everywhere’ practice group offered by the teachers, convening one evening a month online to explore and support a path of awakening within the very circumstances of our lives.

*Participants can continue to practice in a formal posture, or include and explore some of the activities of their daily lives.

Please see the schedule below:


All times shown are in GMT

Sessions that are bold on the schedule are essential sessions for this retreat.

Friday 4 December
5.50 pm Logging in to zoom retreat space
6.00 pm-8.30 pm Opening session, including a break
Saturday 5 December
6.30 am Personal mindful movement or exercise
7.15 am Sitting meditation
8.00 am Breakfast
10.00 am Practice guidance and meditation instructions
10.45 am Walking meditation / optional Q&A
11.30 am Open practice
2.00 pm Mindful movement – optional
2.30 pm Guided meditation / reflections
3.30 pm Open practice
5.00 pm Optional Q&A
5.45 pm Supper
7.30 pm Meditation and dharma Talk
8.30 pm Walking practice
9.00 pm Sitting meditation
9.30 pm Rest or further practice
Sunday 6 December
6.30 am Personal mindful movement or exercise
7.15 am Sitting meditation
8.00 am Breakfast
10.00 am Practice guidance and meditation instructions
10.45 am Walking meditation / optional Q&A
11.30am Open practice
2.00 pm Movement
2.30 pm Sitting / Dana talk and break
3.30 pm Closing session
5.30 pm Retreat end

The essential sessions will be recorded and made available on a retreat noticeboard live attendance where possible is requested.

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 info@gaiahouse.co.uk.  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.

Dana (the practice of generosity)

At the end of your retreat you will be invited to make a voluntary offering of dana / financial support, to support the livelihoods of the teachers who have guided your retreat and help sustain Gaia House into the future. Your registration fee contributes towards Gaia House’s management and support costs and maintenance of our building and grounds. The Dharma teachings of wisdom and compassion are considered priceless, thus the retreat teachers offer their understanding freely. Both Gaia House and the retreat teachers rely on your kindness and generosity, and are deeply grateful for your support.

You can find out more about the practice of dana by clicking here.

Dana can be offered to Laura and Gavin or Gaia House collectively through the Gaia House website:  If you are offering dana to the teachers please choose Teachers and then specify that your donation is for ‘Laura and Gavin’, in the notes section on the checkout page: this will be shared between the teachers.

With deep appreciation for your generosity and support.

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