Logo Gut Saunstorf Place of Stillness

Retreating into Darkness

Darkness Retreat

Dunkelretreat auf Gut Saunstorf

A darkness retreat is a special way to stay at the Gut Saunstorf Monastery.

We have two dark rooms for this purpose. They are available to people who wish to come into a deeper contact with themselves for a certain period of time in complete seclusion from external sensory impressions.

This form of retreat has a long spiritual tradition. For thousands of years, it has been used in many cultures to deepen insights beyond the distractions of daily life, to penetrate the inner layers of the self and to experience silence. The special feature of our dark rooms is that they are embedded in a modern monastery. This naturally opens up a space of depth.

«What is this darkness? What is its name? Call it: an aptitude for sensitivity. Call it: a rich sensitivity which will make you whole. Call it: your potential for vulnerability.»


Dark Rooms in the Modern Monastery

When the wisdom teacher and mystic OM C. Parkin founded the Gut Saunstorf Monastery many years ago, it was clear that dark rooms would have a permanent place here, as he knew about the healing and transformative potential of a darkness retreat. The dark rooms are available to guests of the monastery and are also used by his students and the monastic community to deepen processes and gain insights into their minds. More about OM C. Parkin >

Discovering Inner Worlds

A darkness retreat is a time of conscious solitude and slowing down. The absence of external stimuli allows perception to become more refines. Surrounded by the protective darkness, inner themes and feelings can emerge from the depths as an invitation to self-exploration and be considered anew. The more subtle inner worlds can be experienced.

This space invites you to fall deeper and open up to everything that wants to show itself. There is nothing to create or achieve.

A Journey into the Unknown

Everyone has their own unique experiences in the dark room. Our minds often create ideas of what it will be like. But things usually turn out quite differently, and a darkness retreat is therefore also a journey into the unknown. When you relax into this embracing space, initial ideas can give way to simple reality.

Intentions for Going on a Darkness Retreat

Darkness retreats have become increasingly popular in recent years. This can have various explanations: In an age of acceleration, digitalisation and efficiency-thinking, more and more people are longing for slowness and opportunities to get back in touch with their inner selves. Sometimes, however, people also see a darkness retreat as a special adventure or challenge to overcome. This is not the type of experience offered by the Gut Saunstorf Monastery. Our darkness retreat is aimed at those who are interested in their own introspection.

Support for the Process

Once a day, an experienced counsellor is available to speak with you. This professional counselling is very beneficial for the inner process. It helps you to categorise, understand and integrate the content that arises from within.

A form of inner practice such as meditation, self-exploration or similar is recommended.

«What you need is a conscious descent into darkness. If we do not know the darkness, then there is happiness in us without depth, lightness without heaviness. And happiness without depth is not the bliss that the masters talk about.»

Founder & spiritual director of the monastery

Darkness Retreat

Practical Information


Dark Rooms

The two dark rooms are secluded in the basement of the house. They consist of a room with space to sleep and move about (approx. 10m²), and a bathroom with a shower. Food and drinks are served on a table in a small entrance area. The rooms are completely darkened, and are furnished with the bare essentials: a wardrobe, a bed, an armchair and a thick carpet, as well as meditation cushions and a floor chair.



Twice a day, the kitchen team will bring you an organic vegetarian meal in the dark anteroom without personal contact. You will also receive tea, fruit and nuts throughout the day.



You will be supported by experienced darkroom counsellors. This professional accompaniment includes an initial meeting and a daily talk (30 to 60 minutes). The initial meeting serves to get to know each other, discuss the external setting and your questions, and you will be introduced to the dark room. The daily conversation takes place in the dark room itself. The counsellor will use knocking signs to make themselves known to you. It is not possible to attend a darkness retreat without this accompaniment.




For a darkness retreat, you book at least 4 nights in the dark room. Experience shows that 5 to 10 nights are useful for deeper processes. Longer stays are possible.



As your sensitivity is increased after a few days in the dark and the experiences need time to integrate, you will stay with us for at least one more night after the darkness retreat has ended; this time, in normal light. For this, you can use the dark room as a bright single room or move to another room.

We recommend that you stay here for a few more days to be with yourself and deepen the experience. You can take part in the daily meditations, use the opportunities for spiritual study on site (e.g. the library, the study room), spend time in the chapel and take advantage of additional counselling and physical activities.

A one-hour session in the Samadhi Floating Tank – weightless floating in body-temperature salt-water without visual influences –  is also a suitable way to wind down after a darkness retreat.


The cost of the darkness retreat is EUR 185 per night, plus EUR 80 for the initial consultation

  • arrival in the afternoon
  • initial consultation and introduction
  • overnight stay in the dark room
  • 2 organic meals per day in the dark room (1 meal each on the day of arrival and departure)
  • one counselling session per day
  • final conversation

Booking examples:

  • 820 EUR for 4 nights
  • 1,190 EUR for 6 nights
  • 1,850 EUR for 10 nights (from 10 nights, the first meeting is free of charge)

plus at least 1 overnight stay for integration
after the darkness retreat (from 85 EUR/night in a single room plus meals).

Cancellation Policy:
If you have to cancel your dark room stay after making a binding booking, the following applies: We charge a processing fee of EUR 50 up to 2 weeks before arrival, after which the full costs are due, as we will keep the dark room and the corresponding escort free for you.

Darkness Retreat


Is the room ventilated?

The completely darkened rooms are equipped with a ventilation system and are therefore well supplied with fresh air.

How do I move into the dark room, how do I orientate myself here?

Firstly, you move into the dark room with the light switched on. This allows you to orientate yourself in the room and organise your personal belongings. The minimalist furnishings will then make it easier for you to find your way around the room even without any light.

Will I be locked in the dark room?

No, the door is not locked.

Are there candles, writing facilities, smartphones or other media in the dark room?

Any form of light (e.g. candles, electric toothbrushes, etc.) should be avoided, as well as smartphones and other media, in order not to interrupt the experience of immersion in the dark. If you would like to record something in writing, we will provide you with a line board that you can use to write in the dark.

Darkness Retreat


You have to learn to love it – the desert! Walking without a destination, without a search, just step by step. Everything seems so barren, but on closer inspection it is alive, tender, full of wonders.


Complete blackness and outer silence. What now, what to do? This is how my 6 days and 6 nights in darkness began. It was obvious that there was nothing to do now, nothing to see and nothing to hear. Total withdrawal. I experienced the darkness as a loving, all taking gentleness and so the darkness began to bring forth light and inner vision.


Emptiness, darkness. A flow, full of life. Everything is contained in it. The lowest, the most primitive, the rawest. The most delicate, the finest, the smallest. In the face of this dimension, I am less than a speck of dust.