hygienic dark retreat

profound rest for the self‑healing psyche

a book by andrew durham

formerly darkroomretreat.com

update 2019 november

2019 November 28

I figured out two important things this month:

  1. Eleven years of prototyping hygienic dark retreating is complete
  2. My failure to do the 21-day retreat I have sought all this time was a tactical necessity



I developed a model of hygienic dark retreating over 11 years. I worked out its theory, protocol, and design in great detail. 98% of it is in my book now. I focused on short retreats. On this basis, a team can:

  • develop my model for full application
  • prototype and develop medium and long retreats

Our first tasks include:

  • supporting me in revising and publishing my book
  • designing the organization
  • fundraising
  • public presentations
  • prototyping a complete, prefabricated darkroom

Development ended this autumn when I saw:

  1. the last pieces of the method
    • air filtration
    • bed design
    • the infinite nature of the self (thanks to George Kavassilas, author of Our Universal Journey) and featured in many videos. George shows how we have been in denial of our deep selves. He shows how we have some access to it. We need the relief and comfort it brings now. We need it to completely recover ourselves in darkness.
  2. the method as a whole
    • importance of and high standards necessary for all pieces of the method. I tried for years to get by on quick, cheap solutions. That was fine for experiments. But for full application, everything needs serious attention.
    • how they all work together. The main elements are:
      • darkroom
      • retreatant
      • support
  3. the place of method in the world
    • humanity has huge potential
      • the hygienic use of darkness has political implications. By recovering wholeness, we recover personal power, the basis of freedom.
      • in darkness, we can pull ourselves together to deal with huge changes predicted for Earth in the near future
    • malevolent forces oppose us
      • ruled by deception and force, we begin at a disadvantage
      • we are each damaged and conditioned as slaves

These six months have been strange. I had worked over a decade like a juggernaut. My momentum blinded me to the fact that I was reaching the end. Somehow, I had to slow down and reorient. I subconsciously arranged the theft of my computer, the destruction of my smartphone, and recently, getting defrauded of a significant amount of money. It was shocking and discouraging. But it got me to stop.

After my computer was stolen, I read George’s book. This was critical. I did one more retreat based on its encouragement. The retreat failed due to poor support. The confidence I gained from George’s ideas helped me weather it better than usual. And I found the last pieces of my model there.

I experimented in reaching out to others regarding capitalization. This proved costly and chimeric. I’m going to put my attention on survival now.


During these months of reflection, I found answers to two dreadful questions:

  • Why have I failed to retreat for 21-days, as I have tried for all these years?
  • If hygienic dark retreating is so great, why am I still unwell?

I have failed because unlike 5-day retreats, a 21-day retreat requires a fully developed method, a trained team, and an excellent darkroom. None of these existed yet. Even now, the method is still partly in my head, not fully in my book yet.

The greatness of hygienic dark retreating has only been potential, not actual. I have always seen it. I have proved it piecemeal. But until it is realized, I cannot apply it fully and heal.

One might think I would have at least not gotten worse. But two other factors came into play.

  • A retreat long enough to heal requires a team. But I could not work with others at first. The same sensitivity that enabled me to discover darkness makes me vulnerable to others’ influence. I could not protect the vision I had from them. I had to work mostly alone till it was stable in my mind. My condition worsened due to exhaustion. Now that the method is complete, it cannot be compromised. This is all that matters. Everything I lost can be recovered in darkness.
  • I hurt myself with too many 5-day retreats. I did not know their danger. Doing a couple 5-day retreats is fine. But I did 15! They strip a person of artificial survival skills. Normal capacity replaces these in darkness, but this takes at least an 9-day retreat. See false capacity and warning for more.

    A 5-day retreat is enough to get relief and begin healing, to develop the method, and to glimpse the potential of darkness. So I kept doing it. But it cost me greatly. I am debilitated. Some days, it frightens me. I hold on and await my chance to recover.

    I should be in a hospital being nursed back to health. But the hospital I need does not exist. It must be organized, funded, designed, and built. The staff must be trained. Somehow, I must direct a lot of this. Meanwhile, I cling to life. Once I have retreated, I will be stable and able to handle things normally.


The project needs all the normal elements to succeed: a team, money, organization, a facility, etc. I have done everything I can do alone. Now I just carry the seed.

Nature provides us a way to reverse the cause of our suffering: unhealed major trauma. This is our oldest, biggest problem. It causes all the others: slavery, poverty, war, disease, meaninglessness. Most people are so numb and resigned to it, they don’t even consider it a problem. It’s just how life is.

In fact, it is an aberration. So this idea is the most important in history, with commensurate benefits. In substandard form, it has saved my life twice. Perfected, it can restore humanity to health, happiness, and harmony. We will perfect it.

My elders were entrepreneurs. I studied business and organizations. I think darkness and hygiene need a horizontal, self-managing organization a la Reinventing Organization by Laloux. However things are organized, everything directly to do with the method itself has to be done my way. This will affect how the organization operates. I will not compromise the model. It challenges people. I will show the door to those who fight what they are supposed to be helping with.

Participants must study my book, retreat my way, see what I have seen, and make it their own as I have. The truth I have found is objective. Everyone can know it for himself. But only if he reads the manual and follows the instructions.

When I am better and we are all more experienced, the situation can relax and roles can overlap. Expect some rigidity until then. We have to keep things straight till they can keep themselves straight. As I believe they will. This is a living thing. It is natural. Like walking and talking, it must be learned. Then it can fairly go on by itself.


That’s what I worked out this month.

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