hygienic dark retreat

profound rest for the self‑healing psyche

a book by andrew durham

formerly darkroomretreat.com


2024 March 7


Realizing a big idea requires three levels of work:

  1. investigation, to have an idea
  2. development, to turn the general, theoretical idea into a specific, practical solution
  3. application, to deliver the idea to people it is of value to

I didn’t know this 36 years ago. I thought it would all be over in a couple years. The first phase, investigation, took 21 years. Then I thought the hard work was done and I could apply what I had discovered in weeks. But the development phase had just begun. It would last 11 years.

For the first 4 years of development, I thought I was failing to apply my discovery. Then I realized, I had been succeeding to prove the concept. That redeemed the first 4 years. But I still expected to be able to apply the discovery. Which meant I was still failing.

This went on 7 more years. At the end, I realized I had been succeeding to develop the idea into a practical solution.

This time, I knew I had entered another phase, that it was the application phase, and that it might take another 5 or 10 years to start succeeding at it. I didn’t have the expectation of instant success this time. My task was simply to figure out how to apply the solution.

I am four years in. After countless failures for decades, I starting to see how to deliver my discovery to you.

I have good news.


Three months ago, I starting offering retreats again. Since then, I have worked non-stop on my book. I had somewhat neglected it for years.

I fixed dozens of broken links and hundreds of typos and grammatical errors. I rewrote sentences, paragraphs, even whole sections for clarity. I moved some around for better organization.

The print version has a new system so you can still follow crosslinks to other sections of the book. And addresses of external links are collected at the end for easy reference.

I made thousands of improvements. More will come. But the book is better than it has ever been.

It is also back in print now. See write (in my simple new store) for details.

Andrew Tate inspired me to get going again. Hats off to him and his brother, Tristan. These super-heroic men are helping revive the souls of millions worldwide, and I am one of them.


Improving the book affected the designs. One by one, I reworked the darkroom components (not including the mask). Now all of them are as simple for what they do as the door seal (my first elegant design, from about 10 years ago).

Now, each component is inherently adaptable. Little or no customization is involved. There are no more complicated formulas, no more intricate cuts or folds. Anyone a little crafty can make a darkroom in hours or days, not weeks. Everything is more durable and easier to use.

The absurdly fast and effective double-blind is the new standard for darkening windows. Along with the panel, it obsoletes three of my other methods (now in the “old” folder in the zip file of all designs).

The helix vent is renamed the universal vent. Instead of origami, it is just rectangles of cardboard or wood, glued together.

The threshold vent used to be the most complicated design requiring tons of customization. Now one size fits virtually any door.

Both vents are more durable.

The fan mount now uses a 200mm fan. It is so much quieter than a 120mm fan, a silencer is often needless. I could remove half the webbing as well as the tricky suspended sticks. The webbing joins with an adjustable buckle made of wire, not staples or thread that damage it.

The silencer, is skinnier, lighter and easier to handle. Later, it will work in pairs with a twin-fan heat recovery ventilator (still in the works).

The toilet upgrade has a smaller, simpler lining. And there is a new optional separating, squatting version.

The mask is the only one left to rework. I have an idea how to do it. It is strangely difficult to do it. Funny, it was the first one I planned to do in 2006 after my first retreat.

Czech format

The new 9-day Czech retreat format provides the critical benefits of the standard 9-day retreat, but without a separate building and with only one supporter. So it is much easier to arrange. It gives the organism enough time to:

  • heal noticeably and permanently from the most pressing issues in the being
  • replace false capacity with normal capacity (and, as in my case, recover from the dreaded over-loss).

Being easier to arrange, more people can start with a 9-day retreat, which is far superior to a 5-day retreat.

A 5-day retreat still enables one to start retreating alone at home when there is no other option. But an easier way was needed to get from 5- to 9-day retreats. The Czech approach provides the missing rung in the ladder.

Having this format is another benefit I only recently gained from my 2-year stay in Czech Republic.


The 9-day Czech retreat and simplified designs change everything. Now I can travel to a place you provide, darken it quickly (2-3 days), and support as little as one retreat. See enroll for details.

It’s funny. This is similar to how I succeeded at testing the idea while in Europe. I would meet someone, interest him in darkness, and build a darkroom for him at cost if I could use it myself once.

It is still too difficult for me to arrange a place good enough for people to come to. My semi-homelessness is still with me. I expect to heal enough from it in darkness. Then I will have more options. This is good enough to work now.


That’s my news. I hope it inspires you to:

  • read my book (again)
  • build a darkroom at home
  • or bring me there to do it and support your retreat

Cheers, –A

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