Top
Top

Deep Enquiry into the Heart & Mind with Laura Bridgman

When we enquire deeply into the heart and mind, we can begin to travel towards balancing wholesome tendencies, and away from greed, aversion and delusion.

What Brings You Here with Laura Bridgman -  a retreat at The Barn at The Sharpham Trust

In the Sutta Pitaka teachings, The Buddha counsels a discouraged monk, Sona, to "tune" his spiritual faculties as one would a musical instrument:
 

...what do you think: when the strings of your [lute] were neither too taut nor too loose, but tuned to be right on pitch, was your [lute] in tune & playable?…Thus you should determine the right pitch for your persistence, attune the pitch of the [five] faculties [to that], and there pick up your theme.

In this retreat, we will contemplate the Spiritual Faculties of

  • Trust (Saddha)
  • Interest and engagement (Viriya)
  • Attentiveness (Sati)
  • Coming home deeply in this moment to the body and mind (Samadhi) and
  • Discerning what is here in our field of awareness that gives rise to direct understanding (Panya)

What Brings You Here with Laura Bridgman at The Barn at The Sharpham Trust

The Spiritual Faculties each have their own nature, and as they gain momentum we begin to recognise how they enhance each other and influence our heart/mind so that we begin to deeply let go into the present moment with clarity and compassion.

In this way, our reactivity can be met with receptivity and given potential for understanding rather than judgement.

During the retreat there will be meditation instructions, teachings, inquiry exercises in pairs and opportunities to meet in small groups with the teacher. Outside of these times, the retreat will remain in silence.

Read on for more details on this retreat and click the Schedules and Venue & Directions tabs above for further information.

Staying alongside an inspirational teacherLaura Bridgman, teaching at The Barn at The Sharpham Trust


Laura’s teaching approach enables a gradual process of settling into an inner connection with whatever experiences of thoughts and feelings, sensations and emotions are arising in our experience in the moment.
 

I offer guidance in steadying and sustaining awareness in the midst of mental and emotional activity; opening and relaxing, yet also being steadfast in staying attuned and present with whatever is here in our mind and body – Laura Bridgman

This retreat is for you if you want to:

  • want to go deeper into dharma, with an experienced teacher close at hand
  • want to experience a retreat with lots of silence and contemplation
  • are prepared to live and work in community, preparing meals together and working in the gardens
  • are aged 18 and above

Retreats with residential teachers


Our retreats with residential teachers are similar to standard retreats with extra teaching.

There will be a maximum of 10 participants on this retreat.

Our programme of standard 6-night retreats at The Barn can be viewed and booked here

Working on the land


It is important that you are willing to participate in working on the land as part of your mindfulness practice (we can easily find suitable tasks for people with health difficulties) and that you can commit to all the scheduled activities during the week.

Rooms at The Barn at The Sharpham Trust

What you’ll experience on this retreat


During this retreat you’ll:

  • experience teachings, discussions, guided meditations and periods of silence and quiet contemplation
  • be living in community with like-minded people, sharing experiences and tasks, including the making of meals and taking care of the house
  • have a single-occupancy room and your own space in which to rejuvenate, with free time to deeply rest and reconnect with yourself
  • have access to 24-hour hot teas, coffee & infusions in the kitchen
  • be able to explore the beautiful Sharpham Estate, set within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty close to nature, amid breath-taking scenery on the banks of the River Dart

Mindfulness in nature at Sharpham


When you experience Sharpham's inspiring and nourishing environment, we hope you'll connect spiritually with the natural world, so you’ll:

  • become aware of how we are all part of nature - not artificially separate from it
  • pay attention to and appreciate the natural world surrounding us
  • explore nature through your senses and your natural creativity
  • Tread more lightly on our finite planet, developing a respect and reverence for all living things

Click here to read our ethos and principles

Stay at The Barn retreat centre at The Sharpham Trust

What might you bring?


If you decide to stay with us, we’ll send you a list of what you need to bring for this retreat in your Welcome Letter. But you might consider the following:

  • Comfortable, loose clothing for meditation and movement sessions
  • Indoor footwear/slippers
  • Suitable seasonal clothes – it can get cold in the evening and in the winter
  • Boots or comfy waterproof outdoor shoes and a waterproof jacket are advisable for local walks
  • A journal or notepad for reflection during your time here

Find out more about staying at The Barn on our Frequently Asked Questions page

Food at The Barn at The Sharpham Trust

Food & your dietary needs


We have a fully stocked organic and vegetarian kitchen. The main meal is at lunch time. Everyone takes a turn to prepare this meal in pairs (this will be organised at the Sunday welcome meeting). We have plenty of simple recipes for you to choose from, or we can direct you to one in particular. Some participants like to use their own recipe ideas.

We can accommodate gluten-free and/or vegan dietary needs. However, our kitchen is not gluten, dairy nor nut-free. We do not provide gluten-free bread, but you are welcome to bring your own.

Please make sure you include dietary restrictions and any food allergies on your Booking Form. We may need to communicate further with you about specifics. The booking form is sent as a link once you have booked and paid for a retreat.

Our water is provided from our own spring, UV treated and filtered.

Your physical and mental health


This retreat is suitable for you if you have some meditation experience, or you are seeking to renew or reconnect with your practice.

Although meditation and mindfulness can be helpful in managing stress, depression and anxiety our retreats might not be suitable if you are experiencing major depression or other clinically diagnosed psychiatric illness such as bipolar disorder, psychosis or current self-harming. Click here for more information and for our booking process

If you have a medical condition that requires you to have a room close to a toilet, please contact The Barn team on the number below and we'll try to help.

 

The Barn draws me back year after year. The experience of working and sharing in mindful work and living is very special and never fails to deepen and enhance my practice.

View down the River Dart Valley - by Barn participant Gary Fielder

 

 

Retreats with residential teachers have a tighter schedule and have less free time than our standard 6-night retreats.

Note that we hold silence from 8.30pm to 9.00am each day, and all day Wednesday.


Sunday

Afternoon
2.00pm to 4.00pm – Your arrival
4.30pm – Welcome talk, introductions and tour
5.30pm –  Guided meditation
6.30pm – Light evening meal. Then settling in
8.30pm – The Barn goes into silence until 9.00am the next day
 

 

Monday to Friday:

This is a typical schedule and will be adjusted to meet each teacher's needs.

Mornings Afternoons
6.20am – Wake up 12.20pm – Meditation (Some guided) 
6.50am – Meditation 1.00pm – Lunch
  2.00pm – Personal time
7.30am –  Household tasks 4.00pm – Teaching, excercises and meditation
8.00am – Breakfast 6.00pm – Light supper prepared individually or in groups
9.00am – Sharing and morning meeting 7.00pm – Meditation and talk
10.30am – Mindful gardening 8.30pm – Barn moves into silence until 9.00am the next day
 
 


Saturday:  

As above until 8.00am. Silence ends at breakfast. Then it's time to clear your room and depart between 9.00am and 11.00am.

 

A beautiful way to slow down, listen in and be in a welcoming and loving community. This has been an enriching week - stunning surroundings, lovely people, delicious food, very skilled and compassionate facilitators, and wise teachers.
 

This week at The Barn has been food for my heart. I feel calmer and more connected. The kindness of all the people here, the healthy food, the chance to be in nature were so helpful.
 

This experience was a long overdue gift to myself. It felt both restorative and gently transformative--a very special week.
 

Coming to the Barn is an opportunity to reconnect with yourself, with your body and mind in the context of wonderful nature. It is immersive, and helps to blur the lines between body/mind, self/other, and human/nature.

This retreat takes place at The Barn, with superb views over the River Dart.


Click here for our How to Find Us page on this website.

Click here to view and download directions and a map to The Barn

Click here view and download walking/cycling directions to The Barn

view of The Barn at The Sharpham Trust

If you have a medical condition that requires you to have a room close to a toilet, please contact The Barn team on the number below and we'll try to help.


Phones and laptops
We ask all participants to turn off mobile phones and electronic devices for the whole of your retreat. This helps you and everyone else to disengage from daily life and live fully in the simplicity and quietude of a Buddhist retreat.


We are 3 miles from Totnes – famous for its Transition Town movement

We are in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty


Sustainability


We take sustainability seriously.Buddha handwash at The Barn retreat centre

Heating and hot water in The Barn is run from our log furnace and solar thermal panels. We supply as much food as possible from our organic gardens; the rest comes from Riverford Organic Farms and Essential Trading Cooperative. We also have two large photovoltaic solar panel arrays on the Estate and use biodegradable cleaning products wherever possible.

Standard rate: £390 plus dana

We are committed to ensuring that retreats at The Barn are accessible to all - regardless of income. Paying the Standard rate allows us to support those who are only able to afford the Subsidised Rate and contributes towards our operating and running costs.

The Standard rate works out at £65 per person per night and includes all meals, bedding and towels.

Supported rate: £340 plus dana

This is for those unable to pay the Standard rate. The Supported rate works out at less than £57 per person per night and includes all meals, bedding and towels.


Dana
Dana is the Pali word for generosity or donation. The teachers are receiving only a small payment for teaching at The Barn and are generously giving their energy and understanding to us all. Please consider giving a donation to teachers for the retreats that they lead.


Room types

Rooms at The Barn at The Sharpham Trust

All rooms are comfortable single rooms, with a shared bathroom.

Hot drinks are available 24 hours for you to get for yourself in the kitchen.


Bursaries

Limited bursaries are available for those experiencing financial hardship. Contact the Barn team on the number or email below at least 4 weeks in advance if you wish to apply.

Our bursary fund relies on donations. If you’d like to help another to go on retreat here through our bursary scheme, you can give online quickly and easily by clicking here


Laura Bridgman

Laura Bridgman

Laura Bridgman (Kovida)

Kovida ordained as a Siladhara (a 10 Precept Nun) with Ajahn Sumedho in the Thai Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah in 1995, and she was resident at Amaravati and Chithurst Buddhist monasteries for 18 years until she moved out of the monastic setting to live independently as a nun from 2010 until 2015. She has spent extended periods of time with the Burmese Vipassana teacher Sayadaw U Tejaniya.

In 2015, Laura left the monastic tradition in order to pursue the Diamond Heart (Ridhwan) Training, which incorporates Buddhist and Sufi principles and practices.


Retreats & Events

All rooms are single occupancy.

How to book easily and securely:

If you've got any questions about this retreat, call The Barn team on 01803 732661 or email [email protected]

We’re not always in the office, so be prepared to leave a message saying when we could call you back.


Do check our Calendar to see and book for our events - or join our mailing list by clicking here to be kept in touch about Sharpham Trust news, retreats & events.