The Three Month Intensive Program brings spiritual awakening into the modern context – by integrating meditation, psychology, environment, career, and community. This program is for those who appreciate that the most challenging experiences are also the most rewarding.
Come face to face with authentic teachers, spiritual awakening and conscious community in a modern context that we call the Living Lab.
Living at Clear Sky gives you solid contact with what it means to foster a true practice in a contemporary world, so that we can work towards being full agents of collective change in our lives.
Upcoming Program Start Dates:
February 16, 2022
June 1, 2022
October 12, 2022
The core teachings of this program are brought to us via our ordained teachers and founders: Qapel and Sensei (Achariya Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat Sensei).
Our curriculum includes authentic transmitted teachings that can be connected back to the Buddha himself, whilst incorporating karma yoga, modern psychological and scientific insights.
Transferrable skills, such as practical, interpersonal, psychological and spiritual principles that are useful in the majority of contexts including professional roles and relationships are also included. Consciously weaving together theory and practice, we learn to better align and walk our talk.
Dynamic and direct teachings from skilled practitioners with wholesome and authentic feedback from the community are designed to help you gain awareness into blind spots and strengths that you might not see.
Lean in! At Clear Sky we’re always seeking out new growth edges. We invite you to meet yours; ask questions, try out the practices and find out for yourselves what is true for you. The spiritual path is arguably one of the hardest roads you can go down yet, the benefits are undeniably worth it. With a community, teachers and a reliable framework to contain our practice, we can regularly experience sustained and significant shifts in our spiritual and personal development.
Due to busy modern life, many struggle sitting still on the meditation cushion for many hours a day. This is why we believe Karma Yoga is the path of the future.
Karma Yoga treats every action, task, and interaction as a practice in mindfulness. With curiosity, we look to see what’s going on in each moment, from cooking dinner to working on the computer.
You will learn how to turn every moment into a meditation. Career, relationships, and daily life become opportunities for transformation.
Immersed in a community of people doing the same, you’ll experience a sense of connection and honest communication that you may not have experienced before.
We’d like to clarify a common misunderstanding that comes from the word “Yoga” itself. Karma Yoga is not a form of Hatha Yoga, and to be clear, we do not teach any form of Hatha Yoga, though we absolutely recognize its value.
The Karma Yoga program, based on daily activities, is also not just a way for us to get our chores done – it really matters to us that people who come to the centre understand the nature of what we’re doing here, and engage with us.
Clear Sky would not exist without our Founding Teachers, Qapel and Sensei, who run programs under their own website Planet Dharma. When here, they engage with the community in a very real and enlivening way, modelling compassion, wisdom, and non-clinging awareness. Those of us who have chosen to live at Clear Sky year-round are their students.
Our roots lie in the Karma Kagyu school of Vajrayana Buddhism. Along with this we embrace a variety of approaches and spiritual practices from mindful breathing, other Buddhist schools, such as Theravadin and Zen, right through to Western Mysteries teachings and modern approaches like Integral Spirituality. Attending this program and working with our founding teachers is a precious opportunity to work with two experienced masters of awakening.
As a karma yogi, you aren’t expected to accept our founding teachers as your teachers. Yet, those who get the most from the program are those who see the value that the teachers offer and engage with them in an open and healthy way.
We serve and support the teachers as part of our daily duties. This may include setting their place at the dining table, serving them food and cleaning their suite.
Since the teachers and teachings are an integral part of life at Clear Sky, anyone staying onsite is expected to attend all classes, meditations, and group activities. Classes and programs offered by the teachers are given on the practice of dana.
I don’t think there’s a word to sum up my experience, because it’s more of a process. Is there a word in the English dictionary that combines challenge and gratitude, and joyful and transformative?”
It isn’t enough to be blissful or calm just when you’re meditating. This program seeks to bring mindful awareness into every moment.
Using the framework of the Buddhist Noble Eightfold path and a foundation of teachings and practices of Vajrayana Buddhism and Tibetan visualization practices, we integrate ancient principles with the modern world by also drawing on teachings by Peter Senge, Ken Wilbur, Otto Sharmer, and many more modern thought leaders.
This curriculum empowers students with skills that benefit spiritual growth, transformation, and a new orientation to career, relationships and day-to-day life.
As part of a conscious community, the Three-Month Intensive Program includes participation in all activities involved with running a meditation center. Our routine includes morning and evening group meditations, three meals, classes, morning contemplations, as well as fun and exploratory activities. Living fully in community is an integral part of the program – it is both a challenge and a joy, and is the source of much of the learning and insights you can expect here.
This is the most challenging and rewarding experience you could have. At times, you’ll likely come up against your limits. Typical responses include shutting down, getting angry, or wanting to run away.
Imagine jumping into cold water – it feels simultaneously uncomfortable and incredibly alive! This program can feel the same way.
Everyone in our community has stood on the edge and jumped in the cold water. Trust that we are fully dedicated to supporting your journey.
During the program, you will be guided by Module Leaders, a Mentor and a Buddy. Both our founding teachers and your Mentor will help you process questions, hopes, and fears that may arise during the program.
This experience is about being immersed in a conscious working community. Most find this very enjoyable and enriching, yet if you’re just looking to chill out at a meditation center, this program is not for you.
If you like a challenge, desire personal growth and want to discover hidden talents, then we might just be what you are looking for.
To get a sense of this experience, we invite you to read this blog from a former participant: Three Month Stay: I Was Iron-Ore in the Clear Sky Forge
A key part of becoming more conscious and awake is to recognize and free up shadow elements of our psyches. This is a necessary step towards accessing a greater love, wisdom and compassion in ourselves.
Especially in these troubled times with many stories circulating about scandals and abuses in religious and spiritual organizations, we consider that shadow integration is essential work for spiritual explorers. If we don’t become conscious of what is in our shadow, it has a way of coming out sideways, driving our behaviour in ways we don’t like, or getting projected onto others.
Both for our own growth and freedom, and to avoid bringing suffering to others, we consider that we all have a responsibility to uncover, heal and integrate these buried parts of ourselves.
In particular, we aim to address directly questions, patterns and issues around topics such as money, sex and power that tend to have many shadow aspects. Working with these energies in ourselves and others is a core issue we face in daily life.
We all need money to survive. Unless we are lifelong celibates, we will be in sexual relationships with others. And from the time we are young children we are busy finding our boundaries, establishing our independence and control. Despite the centrality of these areas in human life, they can often be bypassed or avoided on the spiritual path.
We would like to be clear that we talk and dig into these topics in the program. For more information, if you are considering this Three Month program we request you study carefully the following pages on our founding teachers website on integrating the shadow, and on helping make our relationship with money, sex and power more conscious.
We believe that sex can be a beautiful tool for self-exploration. That said, it can also become an all consuming distraction. For that reason, we don’t recommend engaging in sexual or romatic engagements during your three month stay.
Karma yoga is a doorway that opened many opportunities for me because my mind is clearer, my heart is more open and I have more strength.”
Tuition is $2047.50 for the three months. This price includes Karma Yoga programming and education modules, guidance and training from your guide and the onsite community, food, accommodation, as well as two nights on personal retreat in our cabins.
While at Clear Sky you will learn about the ancient transformative practice of dana. Additional classes and programs offered by our founding Teachers, Doug and Catherine Sensei, are given on the premise of this practice.
Budget $75-100 week. Expenses during your stay will include offering dana for guidance interviews and courses with the founding teachers, going off site, eating out, and exploring the beauty of the surrounding area. It is a 40-60 minute drive to Cranbrook, Fernie or Kimberley.
Have minimum savings of $CAD 2,000 for when you leave. It is important not to have financial concerns weighing you down during your stay. If your next step is not clear, and you need to find a home, job, and cover living costs in the meantime, we need to know that your stay at Clear Sky will not get you into financial hardship.
As a general pattern, we have experienced that spiritual types can lack attention to some practical financial details. For this reason, we consider it compassionate to have these requirements in place, to set you up for success before, during and after your stay.
Lastly, we go to great care to prepare for your arrival and particularly in the first month we offer a lot of energy and time to help you enter into the program and the community. To respect our time, and to reflect the importance of the commitment to the program, we have the following policy around refunds and cancellations.
(a) we require a non-refundable $682.50 deposit upon registration.
(b) the remaining $1365 tuition is due two weeks before your arrival.
(c) After one month, we will do a review with you to mutually agree on continuing the program. In the (rare) event that you do not wish to continue or we ask you to leave at the one month review (or if you change your plans or decide to leave anytime after paying the final $1365 balance) we will refund $682.50. After the one month review, assuming it’s mutually agreed to continue, there are no further refunds.
In the following list are examples of the activities you would be engaged in at Clear Sky, depending on your abilities and skills. We do not assign tasks by preference. Though there may be tasks you are more suited to, part of the learning is to engage in whatever comes your way.
Technical/ skilled labor based on abilities such as:
If you’re not familiar with dāna, you may have come across related approaches such as “pay-from-the-heart.” Dāna is a Sanskrit term that is translated as “generosity” in English. It’s radically different from the transactional way we normally interact in the world – where we give in order to get something back, either a service or thing. Instead, with dāna, we give as a mutual exchange of generosity.
The practice of generosity is central to spiritual unfoldment, whatever path you follow. In our own Buddhist lineage, teachings have always been taught on the basis of dāna, and we are committed to this practice and its development in the West. Dāna is also a radical and – we believe – viable economic alternative to capitalism, which our planet would really benefit from. We all know there must be something better than capitalism or its hungry cousin, consumerism. We maintain that, together, we can offer a financial model that is based in life-affirming mutual support. Please join us in co-creating this promising economic alternative.
To find out more about the beautiful and powerful practice of dāna or generosity please visit our founding teachers website’s What is Dana page.
You will see other people on site doing service for the founding teachers. We do this because the teachers represent the principle of the awakened mind, and we want to train ourselves to put this principle first, in all we do. Examples would be plating a meal for the teachers and placing it on the dining table, moving their plates away once they’ve eaten, or making them a cup of tea. All of this would be done mindfully, with care and attention to detail.
By putting the teachers first, we are also practicing putting aside our habits and preferences for the sake of our growth and unfolding. God (or enlightenment) is in the details , so we are also “upping our game” in terms of mindfulness and attention when serving the teachers.
Lastly, we are generating merit in this lifetime by serving the principle of awakening.
In order to get the most out of this program, we require a minimum three month commitment. If you are unable to stay for that long, we would still love to meet you in one of our online classes or at one of our retreats.
Many participants find that while three months leads to great changes it is also just beginning the deep work of transformation. We offer an option for participants to extend their stay with a second three month term. Beyond this, if there is a good fit with our teachers and community, there are possibilities to stay longer as a full-time karma yogi, or on a blended model combining karma yoga along with local or remote livelihood work for earning a living.
Absolutely! During the three month program we’ll introduce you a number of meditation techniques, primarily Buddhist based. And if you already have meditation experience, the program is a good opportunity to deepen and strengthen a meditation practice.
Applications are welcome at all times, and we can be flexible enough to fast-track entry based on mutual benefit.
For greatest chance of acceptance into the Karma Yoga program, we recommend applying six to three months prior to the time you wish to join us.
Those with the most flexibility may receive priority placement in the program.
No. We honour that therapy and self exploration grow us in many ways which this program can’t replace. The living lab experience however is intended to lead us beyond therapy and personal growth, to becoming our most integrated selves in order to work with and for greater wellbeing.
Where will I stay?
Over three month periods, a number of retreats and events can take place at Clear Sky. For this reason, you can expect to change rooms more than once. There may be small windows where you have your own room. At other times you can expect to share with at least one other and up to three others. During the summer months you are welcome to tent if you enjoy sleeping outdoors and watching the starry skies.
What kind of meals will you serve me?
Many folks are surprised that we serve meat every second day and that they will likely be asked to prepare and serve meat dishes during their stay. For this reason, we ask all participants to come with a mind of curiosity and non-clinging to preferences. For vegetarians and vegans, you can expect to be well fed, however there will be less options as we do cater mostly to omnivores. We are all encouraged to use our relationships with food for meditation and exploration. We source our food from our gardens, food forest, local suppliers, and eat organic as much as possible. Most people who visit rave about how nourishing the food is.
Can I have a friend or family come and stay?
We welcome guests who are genuinely interested in what we do. Since we are running a working monastery with a particular purpose and focus, we ask that you get approval from the on-site management team before inviting family and friends to visit you.
How much free time will I have to connect with family, friends and/or continue some personal work or studies?
Very little and this is intentional. Our program has been consciously crafted as an immersion experience so that you can dive deep and reap the benefits of a retreat. Like when you go on retreat, you are encouraged to take space from your regular activities, relationships, and habits (not that there is anything wrong with them, necessarily). This space gives you the opportunity to become more conscious about yourself and how you spend your time. You will have some evenings, after 8:30 pm and your integration day (one day a week), to attend to your personal growth and needs. This is a great example of less is more, or put another way, quality time over quantity time. As a result of our program, we find that participants learn to fast track their spiritual growth, engage in their lives more fully, and prioritize their personal time more wisely.
How can I prepare before coming?
Reading the Clear Sky and Planet Dharma websites, blogs, vlogs and watching the Youtube channel is highly recommended. You can purchase a copy of Dharma If You Dare by Doug Duncan Sensei here, or Doug and Catherine Sensei’s joint book Wasteland to Pureland – both these books will give you an excellent idea of the kind of teaching and learning you will explore during the program.
After your application has been approved and you have made a deposit, you will be sent more details on your stay including a reading list.
How can I get to Clear Sky from the airport?
You can request an airport pick up from the program manager. We ask that you request this as soon as you know so that we can plan in advance for someone to welcome and collect you.
I do not have a car, how can I get around?
Often there are people on site with vehicles that you can ride-share with and offer money for gas. You will need to communicate and plan in advance in order to make this a workable option for all involved. There are also 310 acres of beautiful nature to explore at Clear Sky itself.