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Sails is a spiritual harbor, facilitating non-dual retreats for small groups and/or individuals. We freely mix structured teachings that are recognized by world religions and traditions as well as unstructured teachings that concentrate on experience and other sources of knowledge. Without following a particular lineage, teacher or teaching, we create and maintain a non-dual atmosphere as a container to bring about a shift in individual and group consciousness for those who are ready for it. We use the direct approach to awakening, utilizing a variety of practices and methods, a mixture of teachings and generally whatever resonates best with the the given sangha (assembly, communion for a common purpose) and circumstances. We try to encourage everyone to find their own spiritual paths and become independent of any external authority or institution.
There is no one approach to ultimate realization that works for everyone or contains all there is. Our online retreats provide good samples of the various methods, teachings and approaches that we often select to discuss or utilize during our retreats.
Our approach to enlightenment is broken down to three courses to somewhat identify and place those who are seeking on the “spiritual map” as if it were. This placement is neither an evaluation, nor there is a goal to reach during retreats, it is simply a rough estimate where one can most benefit oneself and the given sangha on their journey. Retreats at Sails are targeted at small groups (5-10 people) in order to be able to address individual situations and custom tailor our retreats to each group accordingly.
Although our physical retreats provide invaluable benefits that our online version cannot, there are many good links, reference materials and other useful assets in our virtual retreats that one might find very useful to get familiar with what Sails retreats are about. One of the most important and effective triggers to make significant progress especially in the beginning is a container of silence and the physical presence/support of those around you with the same/similar intentions. Just like working out in the gym or having fun anywhere, the "presence" of another multiplies our efforts and experience.
"truth cannot be brought to the level of people, people have to be brought to the level of truth."
... and once awakened...
There is a big difference between realizing truth and living out of that knowing (closing the gap between intellectual knowledge and practical living), which can take years, if not decades for most people to get a handle on. Sails 103 concentrates specifically on "what is after enlightenment?" - a rarely discussed subject.
The three part of the full realization follows a well known metaphor:
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INTRODUCTION RETREAT TO NON-DUALITY
"First, mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers..."
Wherever one might be on the spiritual inward journey to home, Sails 101 is a structured silent retreat, open to anyone, coming from any religion, belief system ideology or practice. This orientation retreat is the first of three consecutive retreats, which are increasingly progressive in their approach to spiritual awakening through a direct experience in a non-dual setting.These retreats try to help transitioning onto the next spiritual milestones, realizations, perhaps helping to bring about a paradigm shift in one's consciousness to take the next step toward self-realization.
In this retreat we journey through getting familiar with our egos and ego in general. At first, when mountains seem to be mountains, we are in ego land. Although it is the ego that will have to quiet down in Sails 102, but before we do that, we need to get very familiar to establish what it is, how it operates, what tricks and maneuvers are expected to be launched by it and generally to figure out our "chess opponent" before we begin the battle with it for control. The fundamental motivation of the ego we realize in Sails 101 is "Everybody is doing their best for themselves with what they have". In Sails 101 we learn how and why the ego's identification is established, what motivates its every move, and how we all necessarily have to have and deal with our egos to do anything. By the end of the retreat we discover that we are not our egos and learn to skillfully control or at least dodge many of its attempts for ultimate control.
We learn to operate from a "third person perspective", and outside point of view of ourselves to be able to look at ourselves and the world from a much more objective place than before. From here we investigate our own story and those stories of others to realize the fundamental motivation of all the doings of our ego and egos in general. By seeing through this chess game, one is ultimately liberated and becomes unattached to it. A good comparison would be a child's awakening to the truth about Santa Claus. Hopefully it does not ruin Christmas forever, but when one is ready, the realization helps to gain a much bigger and "real" perspective about Christmas and Santa Claus without attachments and expectations and play along with those who are not ready for this realization yet.
Sails 101 takes you right up to the "second gate" (Sails 102) and help you to make a decision about whether or not "putting your head in the tiger’s mouth", if it is not there already. This retreat can be seen as the first of the "Three Jewels of Buddhism" where one finds refuge in the Buddha.
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INTERMEDIATE NON-DUAL RETREAT
"...then, mountains are not mountains anymore and rivers are not rivers..."
This is a somewhat structured silent retreat, created for those who have gone through Sails 101 and/or who already have had some exposure, and understanding of non-duality elsewhere. The Intermediate non-dual course allows more freedom for one to customize their retreat and provides more free time for participants to start managing their own path/journey. Among many other realizations, this retreat focuses on what it really means to awaken, why and how nobody can awaken and how to complete the journey and become abidingly content with what is. Putting this realization into practice is what our final retreat (Sails 103) is about. This course prepares those who would like to continue onto Sails 103 to become their own teachers and ultimately become unattached from seeking and enlightenment itself. We deal with the darkest and strongest attachments here, getting stuck in the void, being lost in no-self, enlightened egos, etc.
Sails 102 leads one up to the third gate, to make the ultimate decision of leaving all of it behind, or keep falling back to the dream. Interestingly it is not an obvious decision, especially if one is really aware of what it is about. A good example of this dilemma is found in the movie Matrix, where Neo has to make a decision about whether to wake up or not. This retreat can be seen as the second of the "Three Jewels of Buddhism" where one finds refuge in the Dharma.
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ADVANCED NON-DUAL RETREAT
"...finally, mountains are mountains again and rivers are rivers..."
We keep form/structure to a minimum during this retreat. Sails 103 is created typically for those who have previously participated in Sails 101 and/or 102 or have a well established similar background. The course is designed for those who have significant exposure and understanding of non-duality, and at least understand and experienced most of the fundamental realizations addressed in Sails 101 and 102. Those who've experienced no-separation or perhaps working on "closing the gap" between realizing truth and living out of that realization is what Sails 103 is about. Toward the final stages of the full realization one becomes more and more sensitive to being part of a sangha, seemingly the only attachment for those who decide to play along with the dual world to any extent.
It is hard to find a good and practical example illustrating what Sails 103 is about, because it transcends it and everything in it, as in the dual world there are no words or descriptions that can truly illustrate the issue at hand. This retreat can be seen as the third of the "Three Jewels of Buddhism" where one finds refuge in the Sangha.