Week retreat with Victor von der Heyde – 2024

Pre-requisite: MBSR or equivalent     Teacher: Victor von der Heyde
Friday 4 October – Friday 11 October
Arrive between 3 and 5pm on Friday 4th for 6pm dinner. Finishing after lunch on Friday 11th October.

This is a week-long meditation retreat held at our beautiful urban retreat centre, The Gathering Place.

Multi-day retreats are not recommended for absolute beginners. Experience with retreats and meditation is strongly recommended. This is because we take our duty of care to participants seriously. We want retreats to be appropriate and beneficial for each person and try to provide adequate support. Please contact us if you wish to discuss whether this program is appropriate for you.

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Seeing that Frees, Sensing with Soul : 7 day silent Insight Meditation Retreat

In this retreat we’ll start with mindfulness and samadhi practices to settle and move towards a sense of spaciousness and sensitivity. We’ll explore particular ways of looking, or ways of seeing, that can lead to being less bound up, more free in a sense. And then we’ll spend some days on the area of sensing with soul, sometimes called Soulmaking Dharma.

Soulmaking is based on aspects of our personal experience or images we might have that may have some sense of sacredness, or meaning for us, or where we feel some sense of duty, or reverence, or an unfathomable quality, or a sense of beauty. There could also be unusual images that might be helpful for us in some way.

“Images” in the way we’ll be using it, don’t have to be static or visual. They can include figures, felt or sensed experiences. None of the images or figures are set or prescribed: they come - at times - from our individual experience.

The retreat is an introduction to soulmaking (sometimes called imaginal) practice. Soulmaking is most likely a new area for many people and participants will have the choice of spending more time with soulmaking or quite limited time on working with images and more time on other practices, like those that lead to feeling less bound up.
One of the features of soulmaking is that it can help us see the beautiful qualities or even a sense of sacredness in our distinctively individual experience. It’s very much about what is meaningful or significant to us.

There’ll be talks giving an understanding of what we’re doing and what to look out for and periods for Q & A. The Soulmaking Dharma we’ll be covering was developed by the much-loved English meditation teacher Rob Burbea (1965-2020).

The term “Seeing That Frees” comes from the book of the same name, written by Rob Burbea. The approach to practice first develops a settledness and then ways of looking that not only lead to being less bound up but act as a pathway to understanding the terms emptiness, a common translation of shunyata and dependent arising. These have been seen as the crown jewels of traditional dharma practice.

“Soulmaking Dharma” or “Imaginal practice” are terms for the teachings and practices that Rob Burbea developed during and after the writing of the Seeing That Frees book. The teachings were influenced by archetypal psychologist James Hillman, author of The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling, French philosopher Henry Corbin, and others. Soulmaking Dharma brings the Buddhist understanding of emptiness, as well as quiet and discerning meditation practices to the whole realm of what is seen as soulful or meaningful. It could be seen as an extension of traditional dharma practices.


The Gathering Place has 12 simple, comfortable bedrooms and retreat facilities, a large beautiful garden and is close to the Dickson wetlands and bush walking areas of Mt Ainslie and Mt Majura. You can choose between residential or non-residential options (participate fully in the retreat and go home to sleep at night).

Each bedroom has a single bed, cupboard, desk, chair, lamp, mirror and sink. All beds have electric blankets, doonas, pillows and 2 spare blankets. There are shared unisex bathrooms and toilets.


There are limited spaces on this retreat due to the size of the retreat centre, so please book early to avoid disappointment. We will keep a wait list for anyone who misses out. Cancellations do occur, and we will contact anyone on the wait list as soon as possible.

Residential: for all meals, and accommodation $1140 (GST inclusive)
Non-residential: for all meals, sleeping at home or in Campervan at night $615 (GST inclusive)
Optional linen hire: $20 per person for the entire retreat (top and bottom sheets, pillow case, towel and face washer), or bring your own linen for no additional fee

Additional Cost: Dana
In keeping with a 2,500 year old tradition no fee has been charged for the teachings. At the end of the retreat you are invited to give a donation (dana) to express your appreciation and to support the teacher to continue their work.


The retreat program consists of sitting, walking and guided meditations, meditation instruction and dharma talks, group and individual meetings with teachers and daily gentle yoga/exercise sessions and unscheduled time to meditate, rest, walk.

The retreat will be in silence apart from necessary communication.
There'll also be a 45 minute work period each day to help with food preparation, washing up and general cleaning.

Daily Schedule

In approximately two sitting periods each day there will be some instruction from Victor.

  • Early morning yoga/exercise period, followed by silent sit
  • Breakfast
  • Work period (food prep, cleaning or gardening)
  • Alternating sitting/walking
  • Teacher interviews/groups on some days
  • Lunch
  • Rest/free time
  • Alternating sitting/walking
  • Possible short yoga before dinner
  • Dinner & clean up
  • Dharma talk and practice

The Teacher

Victor von der Heyde has been practising meditation for thirty five years. He's spent over two years in total in silent retreats and has taken dharma teaching roles since the mid 1990s. He was co-founder of Sydney Insight Meditators and of the Bodhgaya Development Association. He was a student, friend and supporter of Rob Burbea (1965 - 2020) from 2012 to 2020. Visit Dharma.org.au

Your health and Covid protocols

We follow ACT and federal Health Guidelines. Please consider the well being of other participants, and take a RAT test before coming if you experience covid/flu like symptoms or are in close contact with someone with COVID.

Cancellation policy

Cancellation prior to 4 September: full refund minus $75 admin fee)
Cancellation after 4 September: 50% refund (minus $75 admin fee) unless someone takes your place. This cancellation policy is applied because suppliers and caterers must be paid well in advance and it is often difficult to fill retreat places at short notice due to the time commitments involved.
Cancellation after 18 September: no refund unless someone takes your place

All cancellations incur an admin fee, this is a non refundable amount charged to partially cover admin costs.

Additional information

Retreat options

Residential + Bringing own linen, Residential + $20 linen charge, Non-residential – full participation in day + evening program, excludes overnight accommodation

Event Details

Start date: 4 October 2024

End date: 11 October 2024

Start time: 16:00 AEST

End time: 16:00 AEST

Venue: The Gathering Place, 4 Bancroft Street, Dickson 2602

Directions: Parking is available on Bancroft street or in the church car park (St Brigid's) next door to the Gathering Place. Entry to the church carpark is off Wilshire St. Please don't park in the driveway unless you need special access or have mobility issues. There is a pathway from the church carpark to the Gathering Place driveway. There is a bike rack located at the side of the building halfway down the driveway.

Phone: (+61) 0490 354 900

Still have questions? Send us a message