Soulmaking Dharma Retreat 23.2.–3.3.2024 in Kruusila: Catherine McGee & Juha Penttilä

The Eye of the Heart: Tracing a Path to Soulfulness 

With our bodies as home base and emptiness as our ground, we will cultivate the four beautiful qualities of the heart: kindness, joy, compassion and equanimity. Loosening the views and the personality patterns that limit our hearts, and engaging the liberating gifts of our imaginations, we will deepen our capacity to rest in the boundless heart.

And from here we will venture, engaging in contemplative ways of looking to explore a soulful and enchanted cosmos. A cosmos in which our particularities are needed, loved and woven into a sacred and meaningful story.

The meditation techniques we practice are over 2,500 years old and are mostly based on the Theravada Buddhist tradition. Taking part in the retreat does not, however, require an adherence to Buddhism or any adaptation of personal faith.

How does this retreat fit with the Soulmaking Dharma?

‘The Eye of the Heart’ commences as a Brahma Viharas retreat and then opens into the Soulmaking Dharma frameworks and practices. It is therefore suitable for students who may already be deeply involved with Soulmaking teachings and also for those who may not be, but who recognise they have an affinity and interest in this direction. Please go and listen to the fifteen minute Eye of the Heart – Introductory Talk from Catherine on Gaia House’s site to assess if this retreat is likely to be a good fit for you. (Not to be confused with the 51 minute talk on the page.)

The retreat is aimed at experienced practitioners who should also have a basic understanding of the Soulmaking Dharma practice. Detailed prerequisites below.


Soulmaking Dharma retreat asks that a practitioner has already developed a number of very particular meditative skills before participating. It also asks that they have already listened to and have affinity with some of the Soulmaking Dharma teachings. To help you decide if you wish to come, please read through and consider each of eight criteria below.

The following prerequisites are necessary for participation in this retreat:

1. Have listened to the 15 minute Intoductory Talk on the Eye of the Heart page. (Not to be confused with the 51 minute talk on the page.)

2. At least fourteen days of silent residential Insight Meditation experience.

3. Some working familiarity with Metta, or other Brahma-Vihara practice.

4. Ability to access a full body awareness in practice.

5. Familiarity and skill in working with difficult emotions in practice.

6. An open mind attracted to ideas such as ‘sacredness’ and ‘soul’.

7. An openness to and interest in working with images and the imagination.

8. An informed interest in Soulmaking Dharma ways of looking.

Who is teaching?

Catherine McGee has been teaching Insight Meditation retreats internationally since 1999. She is a member of the Gaia House teachers council, a guiding teacher of One Earth Sangha and a long term student of the Diamond Approach. Her teaching emphasises embodiment and how to translate our deepest knowledge in to our lived relationships.

Juha Penttilä has been practicing meditation since 2002. He has spent extended periods of time on retreats and in monasteries in Asia and Europe and is one of the founding members of Nirodha, the Finnish Insight Meditation practice community. Juha completed his Insight Meditation teacher training in 2020. In addition to exploring meditation, Juha’s teaching is influenced by the current climate crisis and engaged perspectives into the Dharma.

How much does it cost? How can I sign up?

The base price is 360 euros. It is also possible to pay more or less than this. More information about the price, registration and other details.


Marianne (Nella) Woodbury, registration,