Buddhas in Action Retreat

Karma Yoga Retreat Buddhas in Action

This retreat has already run. Please visit this page for the 2018 retreat.

For those of us with busy lives, the spiritual life can feel out of reach. We want to relate meaningfully with those around us, but we often feel unfulfilled. Work just leaves us feeling worn out and slightly empty. And sometimes the space between self and other feels like a gaping hole.

We all need to earn a living and deal with day-to-day pressures, so why not use contemporary spiritual practices at work to feel fulfilled while doing so? These two parts of our life can support one another in beautiful ways, leading to great feelings of meaningfulness, balance, and connection.

Our experience shows that blending study, meditation, and what we call “awakening through action” profoundly integrates spiritual practice with day-to-day demands.

Traditionally, spiritual seekers lived in monasteries or trained with their teacher in the remote mountain caves. Throughout both traditions, meditation and training were supplemented with practical application. This practical application–also called karma yoga or the path of action–helped students learn to embody ever-growing wisdom and awareness moment-to-moment. The idea was always to share these fruits of spiritual practice in meaningful ways with the broader community, for everyone’s benefit.

We’ve spent the last 20 years adapting this tradition of awakening through action to our modern lives, at home, in offices, at our desks, in meetings and in the field. This profoundly practical application can help you find greater joy, fulfilment, and calm amidst your busy daily life.

Course Outcomes

By learning the principles of karma yoga, you can apply awareness and wisdom to everything you do. Cultivating this practice allows you to transform your work, home and city life into a connective field of monastic or yogic practice. Your home becomes your monastery, your co-workers become your fellow yogis and yoginis.

This retreat gives you the building blocks to apply awareness, compassion, wisdom, and strength to each moment. The result is greater fulfilment amid daily life and meaningful connection with others and the world around you.

Please note that this retreat and Clear Sky welcome people of all religious backgrounds and beliefs. This retreat is open to all experience levels.

About the Teachers

Doug Duncan Catherine Pawasarat Sensei

Dharma Teachers Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat place great value on using every action as your practice for enlightenment. Combined, they have been practicing Karma Yoga and meditation for more than 60 years. They both received lay ordination from the Canadian-born Ven. Namgyal Rinpoche, and have shared teachings of liberation worldwide for decades.

This retreat is a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in karma yoga learning and practice over a focused two-week period. Doug and Catherine typically teach students one-on-one at various times. It is suitable for their students who are already practicing karma yoga and for beginners alike.

Join this retreat for the valuable opportunity to help share these unique teachings in the contemporary world.

Why “Service?”

Calling our actions “service” instills the notion that we do it with and for others. Services helps both ourselves and others gain greater clarity and contentment throughout our daily activities. By putting others first, we give the ego a chance to relax. The result is increased success, effectiveness, and fulfillment in our work.

This approach is highly relevant to the Western lifestyle of the 21st century. This course offers you the opportunity to learn from our experience and take it back home and to work with you.

In this course, we’ll draw on traditional meditation and yogic practices and philosophy. We’ll also utilize exercises drawn from Namgyal Rinpoche’s Holistic Clearing practice, Theory U, Fifth Discipline, Five Dysfunctions of a Team and original exercises we’ve created expressly for Karma Yoga and Dharma Training development.

What’s Expected from Me if I Come to This Retreat?

An open mind and heart, and a spirit of adventure are excellent things to bring!
It’s human to have some apprehensions about doing something new, meeting new people, or going to a new place. Particularly when all three happen together. We try to make this as supportive as possible. And changes – including positive ones – require movement, and movement requires engaged energy.

We ask you to engage with us around the teachings and activities that will support your learning and unfoldment around Awakening in Action.

When exploring our growth edges, it’s natural to feel uncertain and awkward. And it’s very fruitful to transform that tension into creative energy by drawing on your own inner resources – such as inquiry, going with the flow, and self-reflection, just a few of the many kinds of constructive engagement.

To maximize your learning, we ask that you refrain from reading, using the internet or listening to music during the course. We make an exception for journaling, course assignments and dancing during exercises or group celebration – all great resources for integration and growth.

Lastly, Doug & Catherine's teaching and Clear Sky operate based on the ancient tradition of dāna or generosity. Please learn more about this profound practice before you register.

What is Karma Yoga?

Karma Yoga is the path of applied awareness engaged in activity. When performed mindfully, Karma Yoga liberates our sense of isolation and separateness, while enriching our individuality and creativity.

Karma Yoga is typically performed in-person and online, on teams, individually, or in combination. Through mentorship by trained professionals, we learn how to be more effective as an individual and in teams.

Through Karma Yoga we learn how to:

increase clarity around our own personal vision, and develop the ability to fulfill it;
embrace vulnerability as a positive;
engage in constructive conflict between individuals and build trust in relationships, teams and communities;
build clarity by creating and honoring realistic commitments;
raise our aspirations, develop skills and capabilities;
pay attention to results and not let our egoism and a “get by” status quo attitude feign as “success;”
become more accountable, building confidence;
transform emotional tension into creative tension.

A core benefit of Karma Yoga is that it benefits everyone, including the planet and the environment. We learn to transcend the need for recognition, while appreciating the satisfaction of a job well done.

Why Would I Want to be a Karma Yogi?

A Karma Yogi is a person dedicated to spiritually supporting oneself and other people. S/he trains and practices to purify emotional conflicts and self-limiting views, yielding greater freedom, clarity, joy and peace in our own and others’ lives. In other words, we become more loving and more compassionate.

A Karma Yogi is like a superhero. The superhero helps others with superhuman powers. But unlike the superhero, whose powers result from external forces, the Karma Yogi builds them through consciously training. The superhero is fiction, whereas Karma Yogis are real, with skillsets and special abilities that any of us can learn. Karma Yogis make the world a beautiful place to be.

“I have been terrified my whole life to grow and to show up and to be seen. I understand now that through my participation in karma yoga, there has been enough wearing away of the rock by drops of water, drop by drop by drop. I am at a point now where I am saying, “OK, lets do this!” And I don’t think there is any faster process. The karma yoga practice is changing our very chemical make up so that we really are letting ourselves be recreated. I’ve achieved two Bachelor and one Masters degrees and none of my higher education comes close to the profound learning and core depth changes that I have experienced through doing karma yoga at Clear Sky. Its definitely the PhD of life.”

Maureen Smith (MBSR Teacher & Counsellor)

What does a Typical Day look like?

Our daily schedule includes:

  • Three meals a day, which are conducted in silence, with awareness directed towards the nature of “nourishment” and the act of serving oneself and others.
  • The proverbial – and actual – chop wood, carry water, cleaning dishes will be an active, enlivening experience. You’ve never had this experience cleaning dishes!
  • Daily group meditations allow us to gather and reflect as a group in silence, on a theme related to the other activities of the day. We will also use the meditation to raise inquiries for ourselves, and to yield insights about what we’re learning. Some meditations will include time for Q & A and discussion.
  • Talks on Karma Yoga will address principles, theory, and various exercises to practice, or Karma Yoga activities* to follow. We will also have sessions for facilitated discussion and time for Q & A. We’ll also take advantage of group review, such as regarding lessons learned, challenges that may arise, how to adapt what we learn to use at home, etc.
  • Applications: Practice makes perfect, so we’ll build on each day’s new discoveries to apply what we’re learning, using more engaged exercises* or a Karma Yoga activity. This helps ensure you’ll be able to replicate what you’ve learned in your life back home.
    Integration time: We respect the importance of this modality! You may use it to take walks around the exquisite Clear Sky property, engage in your own movement practices, rest, reflect, journal, etc.

Based on the emerging group dynamic the schedule may change from day to day, excepting the group meditations and meal times, which anchor our practice.

As mentioned above, the first week will introduce basic principles, theory and practice and overview. The second week will allow us to work more specifically on patterns we’ve identified we’d like to shift, with deeper exploration and practice. As part of this, the second week will include the option of private interviews with Doug and/or Catherine, so that participants can make more specific inquiries pertaining to their particular situation.

Ready for Awakening through Action?

Invest in your growth and unfoldment with master Dharma teachers Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat this summer. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, beautiful Clear Sky meditation centre offers the perfect locale for deep learning. Receive hands-on training in mind, body and feeling as Doug & Catherine guide you through Karma Yoga and Dharma Training via classes, assigned exercises and practice in community. You will also discover the powerful holistic clearing technique and other forms of meditation.

Stay for the full two week ‘deeper dive’ to take advantage of the option of private interviews with Doug and/or Catherine in the second week, to pursue more personalized inquiries if desired.

What else do you need to know?

Dāna (Generosity Based Teaching)

Doug & Catherine are teaching this meditation retreat via the ancient tradition of Dāna (generosity), an offering from them to the attendees. It is considered of supreme value to your life and thus “beyond price” so it is expected that the student will be equally generous and support the teaching and the teachers by making an offering.

While no offering is too small, also no offering is too great. The giver benefits by offering as much as they can, given the individual’s circumstances. Along with compassion, generosity is considered the root of spiritual progress and, according to the ancients, therefore the root of our success in daily life as well.

Find out more about how you can practice Dāna. We invite you to offer Dāna when you register and via the Dāna bowl available at Clear Sky.

Meditation Retreat Dates, Arrival & Departure

This meditation retreat runs as follows:

  • Deeper Dive (Full 14 Day Retreat) – Arrival: 4 pm Sunday August 6th, 2017 / Departure: 1 pm Sunday August 20th, 2017.
  • One Week Option (7 Days) – Arrival: 4 pm Sunday August 6th, 2017 / Departure: 1 pm Sunday August 13th, 2017

Retreat Centre Fees (Lodging & Meals)

This meditation retreat is held at beautiful Clear Sky Meditation Centre. Fees which include lodging & meals are as follows:

  • Full Retreat: Super Early Bird CAD$1,679 until June 6th / Early Bird CAD$1,779 until July 6th / Regular price CAD$1,879.
  • 1st Week only: Super Early Bird CAD$899 until June 6th / Early Bird CAD$949 until July 6th / Regular price CAD$999

Other notes:

  • We recommend arriving a day early and staying a day later, to help transition between your daily life and a more reflective state.We encourage international students in particular to arrive one day earlier to acclimatize.
  • Sunday, 13 Aug. is an integration day, to reflect on one’s learning and allow it to settle more deeply.
  • Classes finish at 1pm on Sunday, 20 Aug.
  • Karma Yoga

Karma yoga during this retreat may entail supporting the centre and participants in the area of nourishment, environmental services, operational support of Clear Sky Center. This may entail involvement with meal preparation, serving or cleanup, the farm and garden, our sustainable land management, helping build or site meditation platforms, etc.

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