Free Your Mind: An Adventure In Unknowing
March 10 @ 4:00 pm - March 16 @ 1:00 pm
You Know Too Much
From the time we’re little, we’re trained to accumulate knowledge. We think that knowing more is better. Knowledge has made us more capable, made us more powerful, set us free.
But we’ve been tricked. Knowledge both informs and imprisons us. Every gain in ability is a loss in flexibility. Every new concept colors our view of the world, letting less and less light through.
Knowing has shaped our minds in ways both beneficial and burdensome. Only unknowing can free them from that shape. Learning has given our minds structure and order and tools for navigating the world. Only unlearning can soften that structure enough for us to see beyond it. In the background is the vast mystery of the unknown.
Imagine if you had a full week, surrounded by thirty other brilliant, beautiful people, to practice unknowing and unlearning. You would quickly find yourself in unfamiliar states of knowing. Then you’d still have many days to discover what’s possible when your mind is relieved of its habitual burdens. By the end of the week, you would know differently, feel differently, relate differently, be a different sort of self, as yet unknown!
Warning: Deconstruction Zone Ahead
If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life, you doubt, as far as possible, all things.We’ll start our adventure together by practicing the art of deconstruction.
Starting with our hardest, most unsolvable problems, we’ll break down the steps to dissolving, rather than solving them. You’ll learn to identify the organizing concepts that make tough problems persist. You’ll get underneath the mechanisms by which we explain our own difficulties, and, prying them up, find more organic and useful explanations in the soil beneath.
More than merely applying this process to ourselves, we’ll also learn how (and when) to use these techniques to help others to dissolve their toughest problems.
Deconstructing problems will be an access point to seeing how our working models of reality depend on a whole network of concepts remaining in place. As we loosen our hold on some of those concepts, we’ll find ourselves in more open states of consciousness. We’ll learn how to hold ourselves in these disorienting states, and how to navigate without familiar mental structures or signposts to guide us.
Questioning Mental Constructs
Whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed.Two things happen at once each time you deconstruct a concept:
- Your relationship with that particular concept changes, perhaps making new perspectives available, perhaps altering your choices or behaviors.
- You become better able to live in the unknown, in the mystery, in an open state of consciousness.
Once you apply this process to enough concepts, your relationship with reality begins to change.
We’ll go beyond deconstructing problems to deconstructing some of the fundamental mental constructs. Mental constructs are the cognitive and linguistic structures that comprise our working models of reality. We’ll systematically destabilize some of these key constructs, calling into question everything you’ve come to know about your life, the past, the future, the world, the truth, good and bad, your preferences, your relationships, and your sense of selfhood.
It’s one of those finding-out-just-how-deep-the-rabbit-hole-goes kind of things.
Relaxing Mental Tensions
Trying to escape IS the prison.Along the way, you’ll discover just how much mental tension you habitually hold. Like physical tension, or emotional stress, carrying mental tension wears on a person over time.
Here are some of the fundamental sources of mental tension we’ll be investigating:
- Trying be who you think you’re supposed to be
- Trying to be better than you are
- Trying to succeed
- Desperation to not be alone, be liked, not get left, not get hurt
- Constantly dividing everything into right and wrong, good and bad, true and false
You’ll learn to identify and relax each of these sources of tension. The result: mental ease, renewed flexibility, and the more effortless functioning of your natural intelligence.
Losing Your Mind
In the pursuit of learning, every day something is acquired.
In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.
Less and less is done
Until non-action is achieved.
When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.
The world is ruled by letting things take their course.
It cannot be ruled by interfering.
We’re accustomed to having our minds obstruct, constrain, and condemn our natures. A free mind supports your natural way of being.
The final stage of our journey together will be to discover what it means to be natural. If you saw the world with the openness that comes from having an intimate relationship with the unknown, and if you moved organically through each day, each interaction, each decision, who would you be?
You can’t really know the answer to that question, but then, that’s kind of the point. Knowing only gets you so far. We’ve got some unknowing to do.
I hope you’ll come join me on the adventure!
An Advanced Retreat
This is an Interchange Advanced Retreat, open primarily to Interchange graduates. A few spots will be made available to non-Interchange-grads who have equivalent experience.
The Free Your Mind retreat will be held at Wildwood Retreat Center in Guerneville, CA. Wildwood has landscaped gardens, terraces, spectacular vistas, and 200 acres of redwood forests and meadows in the hills above Guerneville, including many miles of trails, a solar heated salinated pool and hot tub.
Friday, March 10th – Thursday, March 16th, 2017.
The retreat will begin at check in time of 4pm on Friday. Our first class will be after dinner. Our final class will be Thursday morning, and the retreat will end after lunch on Thursday.
The cost for the retreat is $1800 per person, and includes all meals, lodging, and activities.
All reservations are for double occupancy in a shared bedroom. Bedrooms are private and secluded, close to meeting areas, lodge and pool/spa area. Many come with an attached bath. Some rooms include queen-sized beds for up to two couples.
I am so grateful to have this level of work and community in my life, and the opportunity to bring it to the people who are still seeking!Michael McDonald, Integrity Coach
The community is fantastic and I immediately felt at home, even though I only knew a few people there. I loved learning about the strategies that get in the way of love. I was able to see how I do all of them, some more than others, and, with greater seeing, I got some freedom from being caught in the strategy. Instead of getting caught I could watch it with compassion for myself and how I go about things in all the wrong ways sometimes trying to get my needs met. Lily Broberg, RN | Nurse
I feel like pretty much everything is up for grabs, now. It's like I've caught up to the hand that draws the lines that I've always colored inside of. And it turns out it's mine. Chris Kisling, Life Coach
How to Apply
To apply, click the Apply Now button below and fill out the brief application form. Our application process is meant to ensure that everyone joining has a minimum level of experience and groundedness in counseling, and is the right fit for what we’re trying to create. If you think this is a good next step for you, but you’re afraid you don’t have enough experience, please feel free to check in with us. You may be the perfect fit! Preference will be given to Interchange graduates, though we will try to leave a few spaces open for experienced non-grads.