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Thailand Retreat Reflections

Thailand Retreat by Barbara Wolff

Eight students from four continents gathered together on Geng Shen day in December 2023 to begin the inaugural Integral Way retreat at the Ba Gua Resort in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Founded and created by James Tuggle, the Resort’s main octagonal house became our shrine where we sat, mostly silently, in the early morning and evening around the eight-pointed star. The powerful flow of the Mae Kok River, some 50 meters away, and the light of the North Star directly overhead, accompanied and supported us. It was a time of deep refreshment and transformation.

Senior meditator, Peter Ngiam, bought the invocations from the Yellow Workbook to life, invoking the mellow moonlight and shimmering golden light for us to experience. James Tuggle helped deepen our awareness of personal limitations through the casting of the I Ching, and James Evans broadened this awareness with an exploration into our hearts.

Joy Grant prepared and read excerpts from Hua Ching Ni’s works that were inspired and written during his time at the Resort. And every morning after silent meditation, we accumulated the early morning energies of the forest, sky and river through gentle, graceful chi conducting movement.

We drank aged Pu’ erh tea and listened to Amira, as she broadened our understanding and experience of Pu erh’s benefits. And we enjoyed delicious organic Thai food, freshly prepared by our lovely Thai cooks—Moon and Choone. All the produce, including the brown rice and plant-based ice cream treats, was grown and produced at their workplace—an organic and sustainable farming community in the northern Thai mountains.

As one of the organizers, my intent was to facilitate a context where we could live the way of wu wei. And save for some minor miscommunications, I felt we experienced this.

The five plus days felt fluid and endless to me. The powerful feng shui of the land and home, sincere participants, pure teachings, natural rituals and simple food, created an atmosphere of joy, clarity and ease that continues to permeate my post retreat life.

It really is “so much easier to follow that which is in harmony with nature and grounded in truth. What could be more natural than taking time to sit quietly and allow the mind to clear itself, or to accumulate the early morning energies through slow, rhythmic and graceful movement? Or to recognize within us a response with the sun, moon and stars? Through such cultivation and self-discipline, we can achieve a calm, clear mind; a peaceful, open and happy heart; and a healthy and vibrant body.”

Excerpt from Taoist Inner View of the Universe by Hua Ching Ni.

I continue to experience these benefits and invite you all to come to the next gathering and enjoy the deeply spiritual environment of this Integral Way retreat center together with fellow Wayfarers.

In addition, College of Tao (COT) members who have been practicing meditation or a chi movement form with COT for twelve months or more and who desire a self-guided spiritual retreat, are welcome to stay at the Ba Gua Resort. Please chose your dates outside the annual community retreat dates. Contact Amira at for further details.

And now, please enjoy what some participants have to say about our inaugural retreat experience—

"I am still uplifted by the energy of the retreat and the synergy of us all making this retreat a success. Hope to be back in the future."

"I found the I Ching presentations, both the theory and personal feedback, to be excellent, especially regarding individual medical issues. My personal highlight was the teaching of the Merry-Go-Round, which was excellent and met a long-term objective of mine."

"It was all so fluid and supportive, and now back at home, there’s an ease; it’s like a struggle has left."

“The food and accommodations were excellent, and the intent of ease, rest and communal support to assist us connecting with the Truth of Being was accomplished.”


“I had an unexpected connection to Hua Ching Ni’s tangible smile while practicing the Merry Go Round in the same octagonal gazebo where he practiced. I also appreciated sharing the purifying Uniting Heaven with Humanity practice in spiritual fellowship with friends. Once home, the value of our simple quiet sharing has improved my contentment with my own being through reinforcing this gentle way of life.

"On my first day I was attracted by this place, which is surrounded with good nature and a lively river flowing nearby… I chose a room so I could see the river and hear its sounds during the night. It’s such a fantastic place for retreat… We can enjoy the breeze near the river by day and watch the stars at night. Amazingly, for the first time in my life, I saw the North Star! This gave me more courage and passion to cultivate Tao and practice the Integral Way of living… I love the feeling of calmness and good energy that exists within my being in these good natural surroundings. I also quit my coffee habit after this retreat… The movement teachers ensured we could continue our practice with the skills we acquired during the time. And finally, thank you to James Tuggle who invested in this spiritual place, allowing us the opportunity to retreat. I love the legend that he shared about the Dragon in the River, and trust this ancient Dragon has the wisdom to guide and lead us."

Enjoy our Retreat photos

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