Inner guidance groups

Diving into Life: Inner Guidance Group for seekers ages 30-50 with Gayan Macher

May 17-19, 2024 3 Days
  • This is an invite-only program.
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At a Glance

For seekers ages 30-50. Join a community of spiritual friendship and support for spiritual maturation.

  • Time: Fri 9 AM PT - Sun 4 PM PT
  • Duration: 3 Days
  • Format: Online via Zoom
  • Teacher: Gayan Macher
  • Eligibility: For adults 30-50 years of age. Memberships Available.
  • Questions? Contact us for questions about registration, eligibility and scholarships.

First time? Please request an application here.

Take this rare opportunity to join in a community of spiritual friendship and practice. Learn the great art of listening within – receiving understanding for the deepest questions of your heart, and for discovery of your true self. Retreats are twice a year – once in late Spring and again in the late Fall. The group size is limited, so register early.  All are welcomed who feel resonance with the Sufism of Hazrat Inayat Khan.

All are welcomed who feel in resonance with the Sufism of Hazrat Inayat Khan.

There are two levels of involvement in Diving into Life:

● Open Participation
DIL retreats are 3-day weekend intensives, given twice a year—in May and November. You are welcomed to attend any of these as your time and schedule allows. Steady attendance has great benefits, yet we recognize that your life may not permit the biannual rhythm. Please note that enrollment in individual retreats is at a higher cost.

● The Deeper Dive
There is the potential to join a core group who commits to a steady, focused practice for a period of time.  If you’ve participated in at least one Diving in Life retreat, you’re eligible to join our cohort of continuous practice!

The Deeper Dive commitment is for a two-year cycle. The next cycle begins in 2024.  We gather six times a year (with opportunities for additional focused study) to deepen our inquiry practice and spiritual friendships. Two gatherings are the May and November retreats; in addition are four 2-3 hour inquiry training sessions, where we hone our skills as guides of the inquiry process.

There are two significant benefits to this deeper dive involvement:
One is gaining greater mastery in the capacity for inner guidance. This includes the ability to help guide others.
The second value is in forming deep bonds of trust and support with other sincere seekers. It is unusual and precious to journey together over time with the degree of intimacy that occurs in these groups.

Those committing to the Deeper Dive pay a $200 deposit at the start of the two year cycle as a commitment to the process. This becomes a $50 discount off each retreat registration for the duration of the cycle. If you are unable to make a retreat, that $50 is a contribution to the group’s ongoing work. Also, Deeper Dive members pay a reduced rate for the retreats.

Retreat cost based on participation:

Please make note of your retreat cost as you will self-select on the registration page!

Standard cost: $240-300-350
Deeper Dive cohort member: $165-240-300
First-time participant to DIL: $165-240-300

*Deeper Dive members will receive a discount code to apply to their payment ahead of each retreat. Please check your email!

Upcoming Dates:

May 17-19 Spring Retreat
July 21 ~Inquiry training for Deeper Dive participants
Sept 15 ~Inquiry training for Deeper Dive participants
Nov 8-10 Fall Retreat

Led by Gayan Macher, Diving into Life weaves contemplative inquiry with the Sufi teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan and traditional practices. Our schedule may be enriched by offerings of music and movement. This retreat is offered twice per year – once in late Spring and again in the late Fall. The group size is limited to between 15-30 people.

The Spirit of Guidance is the light of God. It is like a searchlight…. and when [its] light is thrown upon any aspect of life, we receive a keen insight into it. In the Spirit of Guidance one finds a living God active in the heart of every person.
Hazrat Inayat Khan

The Purpose of an Inner Guidance Group Intensive

The goal of Sufism is to live as real, mature human beings.  It is to know who we truly are and to express that realization in our relationships, and in how we navigate through life.  

Inner guidance groups practice contemplative inquiry.   The practice supports stable spiritual maturity through three primary areas of focus: 

  • Purification of the heart and mind:
    There are veils that cover the heart and limit the fullness of life.  These can be seen, in large part, as defenses and mental patterns formed through life, including reactions to the pain of life.   Contemplative inquiry reveals both the veils and the Real beneath them.  The process brings us to a state of intimacy and honesty with our own hearts, where surprisingly we have been strangers.
  • Using life’s circumstances as spiritual practice:
    All that occurs in life is material for wisdom.  The greater our capacity for contemplation the more fully we understand and assimilate life’s lessons.  Then we are not governed by emotional reactivity. We gain from life and, at the same time, are not at the mercy of its ever-changing conditions.  We experience strength, faith and joy that are independent of circumstances.
  • Discovering the voice of guidance within:
    Contemplative inquiry begins with a question, a desire to understand, or to know the truth.  A heartfelt question calls forth a response from within.  The great art is in realizing the spirit of guidance that arises in the present moment.  It is learning to listen beneath the thinking mind. Connection to guidance brings confidence and self-sufficiency in navigating both inner and outer life.

What Happens in an Inner Guidance Intensive

The format includes teachings as well as traditional practices of meditation and zikr.   The additional unique element is the contemplative inquiry process.   

In this process we sit in a circle while Gayan works one on one with someone in the silent presence of the group. You take a turn when you are in touch with your “burning question”:  a heart-felt desire to explore or understand something more deeply.  You may inquire into anything though frequently it is about something stirring or troubling as these often call us most strongly.  

Our main purpose is not to solve problems but to treat them as material for exploration.  We want to come close to their meaning, and to allow their alchemy to work within us.   This requires being honest with ourselves and learning to hear the voice beneath incessant thinking.

There is special value in doing inquiry in a group setting. First, the shared experience connects us in true spiritual friendship, which is precious and rare.  On the surface our situations are unique; but as we look further we recognize an underlying unity in our deepest questions. Secondly, witnesses who are practicing being present provide a powerful “field” of support to the person working. Lastly and most importantly, witnesses benefit by observing how guidance functions. Inquiry is not intellectual. It is a moment-by-moment encounter with the truth that unerringly speaks to us from within as we learn to listen. Thus, an inquiry group is a laboratory for learning something most valuable in our lives: to be in intimate contact with the guiding spirit that reveals the direction and meaning of our lives.

If there is a kingdom of God to be found anywhere, it is within oneself. And it is, therefore, in the knowledge of self that there lies the fulfillment of life.
Hazrat Inayat Khan

It’s unbelievably wonderful to come together, so true and pure, and to witness each other. I love it!


This retreat, my life changed. Gayan’s gift of guidance is eternal and priceless. I am incredibly grateful to him, this community and this tradition.

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Gayan Macher

Gayan Macher

Gayan is a companion and guide to those who are called to the courageous path of love. He has practiced and taught the universal Sufism of Hazrat Inayat Khan his entire adult life. In addition, he has studied Buddhist practice, the Diamond Approach, and psychology, where he explored emerging understandings of the formation of the ego.

Gayan leads group retreats and has guided scores of individual students. He collaborated with Pir Zia Inayat Khan in designing Suluk Academy, and taught at Suluk for eight years. Along with Taj Inayat he created Sufi Retreats, and then New Rain, which became laboratories for the process of awakening and spiritual maturation.

A specialty of his work is leading Inner Guidance Groups, a process in which people learn the art of listening to the voice of truth and understanding coming from within.

Gayan also has a 40-year career as a consultant to executives of organizations, having worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies as well as non-profits of all sizes. Being a confidant to people in positions of significant responsibility has given him a front row seat for the study of leadership and human nature.

Among Gayan’s great loves is music. He plays guitar, and as a singer-song writer has recorded two CDs of original songs.

You can listen to this music here >

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  • Nov 8-9, 2024
  • TBA 2025


9:15am - Noon PT
Morning Teaching Session
1:30 - 4:00pm PT
Afternoon Inquiry Session
5:30pm - 6:30pm PT
Evening Program


7:30am - 8:15am PT
Early Morning Practices
9:15am - Noon PT
Morning Teaching Session
1:30 - 4:00pm PT
Afternoon Inquiry Session
5:30pm - ? pm PT
Evening Program


7:30am - 8:15am PT
Early Morning Practices
9:15am - Noon PT
Morning Session
1:30 - 4:00pm PT
Closing Session
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In the library

On Listening
  • Authors: Gayan Macher,
  • |
  • Themes: Spiritual Path, Truth, Witnessing,

If life is to have meaning, if guidance is real and we wish to find it, we must be sincere in our readiness to listen. We must want to hear what is in our hearts, and what has grown silent due to lack of attention.

Creating Sacred Space at Home
  • Authors:
  • |
  • Themes: Spiritual Path,

Here are a few recommendations for how to create sacred space at home. This is especially important for joining Retreats and other programs online.

Tech Recommendations for at-home Retreat
  • Authors:
  • |
  • Themes:

For first-time Hurqalya Center participants, the following are recommendations on how to ensure a technically sound and optimal retreat experience.

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