Course Information

Deepening and Extending the Foundations of Mindfulness – MOVED TO ONLINE EVENT

When: 21 Aug 2020 – 27 Aug 2020
Where: Gaunts House, Dorset

Deepening and extending mindfulness practice: Discovering our potential for freedom

How does our practice become a natural way of being in the world? What does walking the path of mindfulness invite and challenge us to embody in our lives? What freedoms are available to us within each moment? Taught over seven days for mindfulness-based teachers with previous retreat experience, this retreat will offer a container within which to inquire into the practical implications of the path of mindfulness in our lives and work.

Our practice and inquiry will be framed around the seven factors that support skilful engagement with everyday life as expressed within Buddhist teaching, as well as drawing on contemporary frameworks. Through our practice we will explore the lived experience of cultivating mindfulness, inquiry, energy, joy, calm, focus and equanimity, and how we can nurture the conditions in our lives for these qualities to sustain. We will touch into the wider conditions of the world in the time we are living, inquiring into the particular contributions that we can make in supporting shifts towards sustainability and social justice. There will be periods of guided and unguided sitting, lying, walking and mindful movement practice, opportunities for informal practice, talks from the teachers, and meetings to explore first person experience with the teachers and their support team.

The retreat will also include each day a short period of carefully guided interpersonal mindfulness practice drawn from Insight Dialogue to enable us to inquire into the teaching themes with the support of a co-meditator. These interpersonal practices, teachings and inquiry will provide an opportunity to bring a greater depth of insightful awareness to the activities of listening and speaking within an overall container of noble silence: a chance to be in community with like-minded people without the need to “be” anyone in particular. There will be opportunities for sharing and connecting at the end of our time together.

 What’s involved?

We will deepen our personal and experiential engagement with the core meditation practices taught on an eight-week mindfulness-based course and with the theoretical understandings that underpin them. In particular, we will structure the residential around perspectives on the four ways of establishing mindfulness from Buddhist psychology and an exploration of four heart qualities (friendliness, compassion, joy and equanimity) known as the Brahmaviharas in Buddhist psychology and as the four friends for life in secular mindfulness approaches. These teachings will be offered as a framework to support first-person exploration of experience in formal and informal mindfulness practice – the core curriculum will be the immediacy of personal experience. Whilst having their roots in Buddhist psychology, the themes, teaching, practice guidance and explorations will be presented in terms of their application to secular mindfulness programmes such as MBSR, MBCT and related programmes. There will be a particular emphasis on developing the capacities to embody the teachings and practice within our own process, which is a foundation for enabling us to teach them skilfully to others.

 The retreat will include:

  • periods of both guided and self-directed practice
  • short talks
  • individual meetings and small group inquiries with fellow participants and the teachers
  • time to practice mindfulness informally between meditation sessions including in work periods where individuals contribute to the smooth running of the household and care of the environment

The retreat will be held within an overall container of silence, enabling space to connect with experience and a chance to be in community with like-minded people without the need to be anyone in particular. There will also be opportunities for sharing and connecting and the teachers will be available to talk to people individually.

Expected learning outcomes include:

  • deepening knowledge of the traditional teachings on the four establishments of mindfulness;
  • development of knowledge of the Brahmaviharas or Four Friends for Life;
  • development of understanding of how the four ways of establishing mindfulness and four friends for life relate to human distress and wellbeing; and how they underpin the curricula and practices of MBSR and MBCT;
  • deepening confidence and clarity in experientially engaging with the foundational methods of developing mindfulness;
  • development of experiential familiarity with the Four Friends for Life and the core attitudinal qualities of mindfulness;
  • development of increased experiential familiarity with personal patterns and conditioned tendencies, how we meet these and how this relates to human struggle and flourishing; and
  • experience of the value of being part of a supportive community

Who is the retreat for?

The retreat is suitable for the following people:

  • those who have taken an eight-week mindfulness course and wish to deepen their learning
  • those who are training to teach mindfulness-based courses

Requirements to attend:

Completion of an eight-week course and attendance at a minimum of a day of silent practice.


Please arrive for 3.30pm on 21st August and first session will begin at 5pm.  The retreat ends at 12.30pm on 27th August followed by lunch.

What to bring/wear:

Please bring equipment to support your practice (e.g., mat, cushion, blanket).


Gaunts House is a naturally beautiful and peaceful venue set in the Dorset countryside near Wimbourne.

Our full rates have no hidden extras and include deposit, teaching, room and board. 

Full rate for SINGLE accommodation (1 to a room): £995.00 including the £200.00 deposit.

Full rate for SHARED accommodation (2 or more to a room): £895.00 including the £100.00 deposit.


Please note that the majority of accommodation is in twin rooms. If you have any special requirements, please let us know.

The Application Process: 

Our application and payment process involves the following steps:

  1. We receive your application form and assess it to ensure that this retreat is suitable for you. We endeavour to make assessments within a week, but if the retreat leader is on annual leave or on retreat, then this can take a little bit longer.
  2. Upon offering you a place, we will then invoice you for the nonrefundable deposit (£100 non-refundable deposit for SHARED accommodation or for the full amount, depending which option you choose when you complete your application.
  3. Your place is fully confirmed once we receive your deposit or full retreat payment.
  4. If you have paid a deposit, four months before the retreat date you will be invoiced for the balance which must be paid within 30 days.
  5. We will email you the joining instructions in advance of the course.

Payment and Cancellation Policy:

Please read our Terms and Conditions for information regarding payments and cancellations.

For more information:

Please email us at

Ready to apply?

Click here to apply now for this course.