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Dark Retreat, Psychedelics, and Virtual Reality – Promise or Peril?

September 16 - September 22

Dark Retreat, Psychedelics, and Virtual Reality – Promise or Peril?

With Andrew Holecek and Robert Thurman

September 16 – 22, 2024 – Menla Retreat Center – In the Catskills in Phoenicia, NY

A unique hybrid (in-person or online) retreat utilizing specially prepared dark rooms as wall as virtual reality (equipment is provided).

Dark retreat is one of the most transformative meditations ever devised. This ancient practice is making a comeback as celebrities proclaim its benefits. Darkness can unleash the power of the luminous mind, bring light to the world, and ironically provide an antidote to this Dark Age. Psychedelics are taking the globe by storm. Entheogens can remove your fear of death, jumpstart your meditation, and change the course of your life. Virtual reality offers a revolution in pedagogy. VR can spark psycho-spiritual evolution, and modernize meditations like dream yoga, deity yoga, and bardo yoga. What do these three tools have in common? What is the science that supports their outrageous claims? How can you safely and effectively use them in your life?

When used properly, dark retreat, psychedelics, and virtual reality have the potential to light you up. When used improperly, they can readily burn you up. This highly experiential retreat explores the opportunities and obstacles in these ancient and modern methods, revealing their potential to accelerate personal and societal transformation.Topics include:

  • Sutra vs tantra dark retreat
  • Multicultural support for dark practice
  • Why is dark retreat so transformative?
  • Inner and outer light pollution as the sinister core of the Dark Age
  • The risks of dark retreat
  • How to work with fear and resistance
  • The place of psychedelics on the spiritual path
  • Which entheogens are right for you?
  • Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy
  •  Can super-samsara be a good thing?
  • Psychedelics as modern tantra – are we kidding ourselves?
  • Virtual reality for increasing empathy and compassion
  • The issue of addiction and alternative world syndrome
  • Virtual reality in mental health therapy and meditation
  • Virtual reality, neurogenesis, and neuroplasticity
  • How to use dark retreat, psychedelics, and virtual reality to remove the fear of death
  • Indications and contraindications for dark retreat, psychedelics, and virtual reality
  • The importance of preparation, integration, and incorporation
  • The history and science behind it all
  • The future

Note: This is a hybrid retreat, the online participants will be given instructions on how to create you own dark space at home. Those joining online will not have the ability to participate in the virtual reality segments of the retreat.

Please note that while we will discuss psychedelics thoroughly, no psychedelic medicines will actually be used during this retreat.

This retreat is hosted and administered by the Menla, Phoenicia, NY.  Because of this, we are not able to offer any Night Club member discount to this event. Any inquiries about this program should be directed to the Menla. frontdesk@menla.org  845-688-6897


375 Pantherkill Road
Phoenicia, NY 12464 United States
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845-688-6897 ext 101