Discovering the Heart’s Guidance – Going beyond the Inner Critic: A Day Retreat led by Laura Bridgman (23rd June 2018)

In this retreat we will contemplate a natural sense of ease with ourselves as we are, and explore what gets in the way of that – in particular the conditioning of the inner critic.

This critical inner voice is a concept used in popular psychology to refer to a sub-personality that is judgmental and demeaning. It is usually experienced as an inner commentary attacking us, saying that we are bad, wrong, inadequate, worthless and guilty, producing feelings of shame, deficiency, and doubt. It is a major obstacle to the path because it doesn’t allow us to simply be as we are; according to its narrative we always ‘should’ be another way, so we reject certain aspects of our body and mind and disallow what is here in our field of awareness. The rigidity and judgement of the inner critic makes it difficult for us to go deeply into ourselves.

Through meditation and inquiry exercises we will contemplate the conditioning of the inner critic and how it impacts us. We will also explore the alternative to this critical voice – a compassionate, wiser guiding quality within our hearts.

Laura will give talks and guided meditations, and make space for questions and comments during this day-long practice. There will also be two inquiry exercises in pairs where you will contemplate specific questions related to this topic.

About Laura Bridgman  

Laura ordained as a nun 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 Laura left the monastic tradition to pursue the Diamond Heart (Ridhwan) spiritual path alongside her Vipassana practice. There is much overlap as this path incorporates several fundamental Buddhist principles and practices.

PLEASE READ THE ALL THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION BELOW CAREFULLY, as this day-retreat is slightly different from other day-retreats that we organise. The most important difference is that we ask you to bring a packed lunch instead of a bring-and-share lunch.

Timing: On the retreat day, please arrive for registration between 9.15 – 9.45am. The retreat finishes around 5pm.

Location: Headington Parish Hall, Dunstan Road, Oxford, OX3 9BY (our usual location for day-long retreats)

What to bring: Firstly, please bring a packed lunch for yourself. We will not be doing the usual bring-and-share lunch, to save on tasks during the day such as washing up. We will provide cutlery and mugs, and tea will be available at lunchtime, and towards the end of the day. Chairs are available at the hall, but since they are hard you may want to bring cushions. If you prefer to sit on the floor you may want to bring a mat, cushions, or stool.

Dana. There will be an opportunity to offer the teacher dana. To learn more about dana, visit

What to expect: There will be periods of sitting and walking meditation, and teaching. Some, but not all of the day, will be held in silence. There will also be periods of interactive activity and gentle movement, and a period of time at the end of the day for questions and answers.

To Book:

To attend, you can book your place online at:

You can also send a postal booking, of cash or a cheque (made out to Oxford Insight Meditation), for £10 (or £5 for concessions) to:

Amy Bilderbeck
P1vital Ltd
Manor House
Howbery Business Park
OX10 8BA

For more information on attending our retreats (e.g. directions, parking), visit:

If you have questions or concernsPlease email Amy on or call 07398145352.