Each retreat is a seven day residential and offers an opportunity for developing ‘Vipassana’ or ‘insight’ meditation. This is a practice of awareness and investigation that gains momentum over time, so I ask you to stay for the whole retreat.

Noble Silence - There will be a practice of Noble Silence which means not engaging in any talk with others unless it is really necessary. This will take place from the Opening Meditation until the afternoon of the last day to support inner contemplation.
I will give talks and guided meditations, and also make space for questions and comments about meditation practice within the group from time to time.
I will have a dialogue with each person in small groups twice during the retreat for about 10 minutes to hear how your practice is going and offer personal guidance, and I will also offer the option for additional interviews; otherwise Noble Silence will be observed.

Seven Precepts - are a practice of harmlessness, mindfulness and renunciation that I would like you to undertake for the duration of the retreat
The Precepts are:
1. Harmlessness: not intentionally taking the life of any living creature.
2. Trustworthiness: not taking anything that is not given.
3. Chastity: refraining from any sexual activity.
  1. Right Speech: Noble Silence during the retreat
5. Sobriety: not taking any intoxicating drinks or drugs.
6. Restraint: not wearing make-up, jewellery or immodest clothing, not playing radios, music tapes or musical instruments. Not using mobile phones or the Internet unless in an emergency.
7. Alertness: to refrain from overindulgence in sleep.

A Typical Day
05:30 Wake-up bell
  1. 15 Morning Practice
07:15 Breakfast
08:15 Working Meditation
09:30 Morning Practice
  1. 50 Meal
  2. 30 – 1400 Exercises
14:00 -14.45 Sitting Meditation
17:00 Hot drinks and a light supper of soup and bread
19:30 Meditation, chanting and Dhamma talk
22:00 Lights out

Awareness and Insight Meditation Retreat with Kovida Laura Bridgman
Spring: 9-11 April 2016 and Autumn: 10-17 September 2016
Kovida ordained as a Siladhara with Ajahn Sumedho in 1995, and was resident at Amaravati and Chithurst monasteries for eighteen years until she moved out to live as a solitary nun in 2010. Over the past ten years she has spent extended periods of time with the Burmese teacher Sayadaw U Tejaniya.
In 2015 Kovida left the monastic tradition in order to pursue the Diamond Heart (Ridhwan) spiritual path which incorporates both Buddhist and Sufi principles and practices.
About the Retreat
Teaching Approach
In my teaching approach I like to enable a natural gradual process of settling into a meditative state and inner connection. Being in silence naturally supports us to come closer to ourselves, and the practice of the precepts supports a sense of trust. In terms of guidance I usually begin with a few key ingredients for Vipassana practice; initially, to recollect and contemplate every experience as 'nature happening'. We explore subjective experiences of thoughts about ourselves, others, and their associated feelings which is everything that we usually take to be personal. Alongside this recollection I offer guidance in steadying and sustaining relaxed awareness. The intention is to open to experiences as they arise in order to know them more fully.

This is like finding one’s balance in a strong current; opening and relaxing, yet being steadfast in staying attuned and present with whatever is here in our mind and body. Then it becomes possible to see the cycles of thoughts, perceptions, mental states and physical reactions. By not judging or rejecting or being drawn into this cycle we begin to experience how discerning awareness enables a direct understanding of the nature of our mind.