Answers to Frequent Questions about Retreats
Question: Have you hosted this retreat before? If so, how many and what kind of people came?
Answer: The organizers and instructors have many years of experience hosting retreats in locations around the world.
The first International Gnostic Retreat (2007) was held in the woodlands of New Jersey. Fifty students attended from many parts of the world (Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, Canada, England, Panama, Colombia, and thirteen states of the United States).
The second International Gnostic Retreat (2008) was held at a retreat center in the mountains of Pennsylvania, attended by fifty-two people from many parts of the world (Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, England, and fourteen states of the United States), and provided two separate courses of instruction, one for beginners and another for more experienced students.
The third International Gnostic Retreat (2009) was held at Padmasambhava Buddhist Center in New York, USA, an authentic temple from the tradition of Padmasambhava, called by Tibetans "the Second Buddha." The beautiful temple graciously opened its grounds for the first time ever to a non-Buddhist group. It is a sacred and protected refuge, whose radiant energy was a powerful source of spiritual inspiration for the retreat participants.We had a variety of instructors leading the practices and meditations. A memorable experience!
The fourth International Gnostic Retreat (2010) was held at Sophia Peace Center in Colorado, USA, a Christian retreat center. Students came from around the world and from many different organizations. Along with our many spiritual practices and lectures, we also watched the opera "Die Walkyrie" by Richard Wagner; for many this was an eye-opening experience. Students took day trips to incredible places, like the ancient native ruins at Mesa Verde National Park.
In 2011, we hosted two retreats. In May, we hosted a three-day retreat, returning to Padme Samye Ling in upstate New York. Even though it was just three days long, it felt as deep and rejuvenating as a week-long retreat. This inspired us to make this an annual event. Then in August, we met for the fifth International Gnostic Retreat in Maine at Medomak Retreat Center. We converted their barn into our meditation temple, with stunning results. The natural environment—the woods, lake, and organic farm—gave us a serene, very focused week of meditation and reflection. We also observed an amazing Aztec dance around a bonfire.
In 2012, we hosted three retreats, including our first retreat outside of the United States. In February / March, we gather with students near Sydney, Australia for a very inspiring retreat, and hopefully, a sign of things to come. Then in May we returned again to Padme Samye Ling for a sold-out weekend retreat. We even had to take over the resident accomodations! We capped the year with a retreat on a beach cliff in Oregon. Once again, the retreat was filled to capacity.
Attending students come from all walks of life and include students from Gnostic schools and people who are interested in the Gnostic teachings but that do not necessarily have a Gnostic school near them. A Gnostic retreat is a wonderful place to see the diversity of people who are practicing Gnosis; it is always inspiring.
Question: How many guests will there be in each room?
Answer: This depends upon the retreat center we are visiting. Generally, the number of guests per room will be 3-4, depending on how many people sign up for the retreat. Couples often have the option of having a private apartment.
Question: How would you rate the safety for a lone female traveler?
Answer: We have many females that come alone to our retreats. The Gnostic retreats are a very nurturing and friendly environment, with the purpose of becoming more spiritually in tune with your Self.
Question: I am a beginner and have never attended a Gnostic school. Is this retreat appropriate for me to attend? Will everyone else be more advanced than me?
Answer: This retreat is definitely for you! Every retreat, many students attend who are 'new' to Gnosis—in fact, you are the reason we host retreats. We always offer instruction to help the 'new' student to Gnosis acquire a foundation for the teachings.
Question: I attended last year's retreat. Should I attend this summer's retreat or will it be exactly the same as last years?
Answer: Every retreat will offer many new things for a returning student. We always listen to suggestions and make appropriate adjustments as a result. The instructors are always attuned to addressing the needs of the moment, so the type of instruction is highly dynamic and responsive to your needs. In addition, when possible, we will incorporate activities for those students who are members of Second Chamber.
Question: Is the food ethnically varied? I'm a vegetarian.
Answer: Once you register and fill out your dietary preferences, we will forward them to the retreat center to ensure that all registrants will be happy with the food choices.
Question: How structured are the activities? Are they held outdoors or inside?
Answer: There is a schedule of activities for the retreat, starting with an early morning meditation. There is also free time allotted in the day, with the option of attending other classes/lectures/activities/quiet time. Activities will be held both outdoors and indoors.
Question: Why will some students be silent throughout the retreat?
Answer: Keeping silence is a powerful way to learn about yourself, and also deepens and accelerates the process of meditation. Students who have been studying for a few years will be asked to maintain silence so that they can fully take advantage of being on retreat; after all, a retreat is a time to improve our skills in self-observation and meditation. Keeping silence aids both. Of course, any student is welcome to maintain silence on retreat.
Question: Can I bring my child?
Answer: Unfortunately, no.
Question: Would you please hold a spot for me for the retreat because I can't pay right now?
Answer: Due to the limited number of people we can accommodate for the retreat, we cannot verbally 'guarantee' anyone a spot. By purchasing one of the retreat packages you are guaranteed a spot. The first 50 people to reserve their spots will be eligible to attend. If you need to schedule payments, we can arrange something. Write to Martha for help.
Question: I registered for the retreat and received confirmation e-mail. It said that I was going to receive the full registration packet soon, I assume by normal mail?
Answer: You will receive your registration packet via e-mail, unless you request otherwise.
Question: I live close to the retreat center and am interested in attending. Could I commute to the retreat?
Answer: Yes, you can purchase the Commuter Package .
Question: I cannot afford to pay for the retreat. Can you sponsor me?
Answer: Please write to Martha. There are people who very generously offer to sponsor others. Sometimes we can offer full sponsorships and sometimes only half sponsorships. If you can pay for half of it, please request only a half sponsorship.
Question: I would like to sponsor someone. How can I do it? Can I sponsor more than one person?
Answer: Yes. There are many people who need financial help to be able to attend the retreat. You can sponsor someone with a full or half sponsorship at the Gnostic Store. There is no limit as to how many people you can sponsor. Thank you for your generosity.
Question: I have questions that are not on this page. Where can I get answers?
Answer: Please write to Martha.
In the event that you need to cancel your attendance at a retreat you have paid for, as long as it is more than 30 days in advance we will provide a 100% refund minus a $25 registration fee. If you cancel within 15-29 days of the retreat we will refund 75% minus a $25 registration fee. If you cancel within 2 weeks of the retreat we will refund 50% minus a $25 registration fee. If you cancel after that there is no refund available. This will give us an opportunity to allow people on the waiting list to attend.
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