The first-ever HighExistence live event in Costa Rica

Jordan Bates (@bashfulkoala) 4 years, 6 months ago

Since the early days of HighExistence, people have been asking Jordan L and Martijn when and if they’re ever going to organize a real-life meet-up of HEthens.

Well, I’m happy to report that the time has finally come. : )

From May 20th to 25th of 2018, we’ll be having a retreat on a pristine beach in Costa Rica, at the edge of a mountainous rainforest.

Our core team, including Martijn Schirp, Jon Brooks, and I, are planning to be there.

Here we’ll practice together, with yoga, meditation, fasting, awakening workshops, and plant medicine ceremonies, among other things. We will also have plenty of time for unstructured relaxation and socializing.

Above all, we wish to create a free-flowing and open environment in which everyone who attends can truly see and connect with each other, share, and form lasting friendships. We’re aiming for 5 days of real, deep transformational experiences.

The event is called Apotheosis.

“Apotheosis” is an ancient Greek word meaning, “The fact or action of becoming or making into a god,” or “the highest point in the development of something; culmination or climax.”

What we are aiming for with this retreat is an unforgettable peak experience: a climactic event that you will remember for years to come as one of the high points of your existence. We know this is a lofty goal, but this is HighExistence, after all. : )

Because we want to keep this event truly intimate, with a small-enough group size that everyone who attends can comfortably get to know each other, there are a limited number of slots available.

If you feel called to attend, you can apply for a slot by filling out this application thoroughly and earnestly.

We hope to see you there!

Warm Regards,
Jordan Bates & the HE Team

January 29, 2018 at 8:15 pm
axl2505 (1) (@Vitalyss) 4 years, 5 months ago ago

That sounds amazing, but I want to know what are your credentials to teach yoga and mindfulness? Are you accredited to lead/teach these disciplines, and if yes, which institution has accredited you?  I ask because I went on a retreat like that before. I’m not going to cite any names for everyone to see but just know that he’s a contributor on your blog. The retreat was nice but the person surely didnt have the experience necessary to address some issues that I had and guide me through my practice. If anything, his ‘advices’ were detrimental and not applicable to my particular situation. That’s what’s dangerous with the internet these days……………………….. complete morons passing as pros. 

Solemnity (0) (@Solemnity) 4 years, 5 months ago ago

This is so true.

No offense. But i had similar experiences. HE is very corrupted with people who bartered enlightenment for gain. I really enjoyed (and sometimes still enjoy) a lot of these blog entries… but i guess true seekers have to move to another plattform.

but -to make my point clear- i wish martijn and jordan still all the best for their future endeavours.

Jordan Bates (4,684)A (@bashfulkoala) 4 years, 5 months ago ago

@Solemnity, your comment is pretty unfair. “Very corrupted”? “Bartered enlightenment for gain”? I encourage you to read this sometime. We’re not selling enlightenment. We’re selling a set of educational/habit-formation tools designed to help people cultivate healthier habits that promote spiritual development. We poured our hearts and minds into the course, and it has improved many lives. 

Solemnity (0) (@Solemnity) 4 years, 5 months ago ago

Dear Jordan, my words were perhabs too harsh but still:

Take the time and aks yourself if not everyone who is seriously trapped in selling something that is unsaleable excuses him or herself with “We’re [only] selling X designed to Y  that does Z”

I do not question your commitment to this course, your shirts, your art.. whatever you sell on this site. But tell my why is it unfair what I said? Is this site an Non-Profit Thing? I really believe that you believe that this site is improving lives AND giving you money. But that financial thing corrupts the mind (and thats my humble opinion, of course this is limited and maybe false).

And coming back to the “Costa Rica Event”: Again i really like your will to improve peoples lives but first, is this thing non-profit? Is it in anyway necessary for spiritual awakening? Is it necessary to fly around and raise the CO2 level in the athmosphere?

Sometimes i think HE has gone to a white peoples thing where being a “spiritual seeker” fills just a gap, the need for meaning, while everybody goes on just like before. Do you really think everybody can go to fancy events in Costa Rica if she only tries hard enough? Are poor people just not trying hard enough?

HE is not part of the problem, neither a part of the solution. It has just gone to be part of what you call  “the matrix”.

Sorry if this sounds unfair I was just thinking that HE: “Provides a medium for freethinking individuals to connect & discuss”

Cheers from the underprivileged, non-white, non-middle-class

Jordan Bates (4,684)A (@bashfulkoala) 4 years, 5 months ago ago

It’s unfair because I know that our team has integrity, and without having any real knowledge of who we are you’re saying we’re “corrupt,” which suggests the opposite of integrity. 

I think you have a limiting dichotomy of ‘Money VS Good’ in your mind. You seem to be suggesting that if something is profitable, it can’t also be good or improve the world. I strongly disagree with this. The supercomputer you used to send me this message instantly from across the world exists because a for-profit company made it. I could point to countless examples of for-profit companies/websites that have made the world better. I’d much rather live in a world with Tesla, AirBnb, Evernote, Pocket, Headspace, SolarCity, SpaceX, Brain Pickings, Wait But Why, Ribbonfarm, Farnam Street, etc. etc. than one without. Does the profit motive also result in corrupt behavior? Yes, it does, but it isn’t black and white. It is totally possible to make money while providing real value, and I genuinely believe we do that at HE. Please also consider that if we didn’t generate profits the site would just die because we wouldn’t be able to provide for ourselves and pay for the many services that allow us to keep the site up and running. 

Regarding our retreat, no, it isn’t non-profit, for the same reason I just stated (HE will die without income). No, it certainly isn’t necessary for spiritual awakening, and we’ve never made that claim. It’s a unique opportunity to connect with a bunch of amazing people on a similar path and have an adventure together. 

I’m not sure what you mean by “white peoples thing.” I can tell you that my HighExistence team members are some of the most genuine, curious, good-hearted people I know and I’m proud to call them my friends. We’re a group of human beings trying to understand reality, help others flourish, and live life to the fullest ourselves. That’s what HE means to me. And no, no one needs to go to retreats in foreign countries to explore reality and their inner world. However, some people want to go see other parts of the world and connect with others doing similar things, and we’re stepping up to faciliate that, despite the enormous amount of work it takes, because we want to help people live their dream. 

If you think I’m rich or something, you’re wrong. My life has been defined by priortizing freedom, meaning, and passion over money. I don’t regret the path I’ve chosen.

If I may, you seem to have a fair amount of resentment for what we’re doing at HE, and you seem pretty set on defining yourself as a victim. I don’t know who you are, I don’t know your story, but in my experience these attitudes are hindrances in most areas of life. You might want to take a close look at them. 

Cheers from a fellow earthling. Take care.

S (102) (@tictacfanman) 4 years, 3 months ago ago

Lmao. The first thing I thought of was the outrage at AIDS treatment drugs in the United States. The pharmaceutical companies make MASSIVE investments upfront for research and development, which leads to selling at 90% profit margins to recoop the investment and profit. 

While many think that this profit margin is outrageous, they forget its necessity. Without the upfront investments the treatment would never have been created, and without high profit margins to recoop the investment, there would be no incentive. 

“But naw man money so evil dude its corrupted everyone” especially @martijn, the guy who gave up successful poker playing for what he believed in (still inspires me years after reading it!). 

Cheers from an extremely privileged man.

Jordan Bates (4,684)A (@bashfulkoala) 4 years, 5 months ago ago

The yoga teacher we’re flying to Costa Rica is highly experienced. I’m not sure where he got his accreditation; @martijn probably knows. But he’s more than qualified. As for mindfulness/meditation, Martijn, Jon, and I are all significantly experienced in this area, with Martijn being the most experienced, having been a daily meditator for many years and attended a number of retreats. 

axl2505 (1) (@Vitalyss) 4 years, 5 months ago ago

I do think money corrupts the mind in ways that you or I can’t even begin to understand. Because it hits something deeply primal. That’s why I admire people like Sam Harris for example who makes his content (and soon his app) available to each and everyone and you only have to donate one time to get access to everything. And it could be any amount. Just wow!

Also, for the mindfulness/ yoga credentials, it’s one thing to read books about those subjects, write about them, etc, but it’s another thing to actually practice. You see, I have no doubts that Leo (Okay, I’ve decided to cite his name) is knowledgeable in meditation because he reads books and has a practice and went on retreats, but still, during the retreat he organized (which I attended), he couldnt even guide me through the issues I was experiencing. Actually, he gave me some very bad advice which made things worse for me.

About 6 months later, I attended a Vipassana retreat, by S.N Goenka (Btw, it’s free –Goenka insisted that his retreats be free to prevent corruption of the mind). The instructors there have many years of practice and teaching experience. They’re duely certified by the official Vipassana organization in india, they’ve spent a minimum of 2 years (cumulative total) on retreats. So you can bet it that the instructions and advice that I got on that 10 day retreat were absolutely on point. You could see that they came from an instructor with many many years of practice and teaching experience.

That’s all I’m saying. I love what you guys do at HE. But I’m gonna stick to the free stuff. 

Martijn Schirp (112,780)A (@martijn) 4 years, 4 months ago ago

It’s easy to offer things for free when your already financiallly stable and have such a wide reach that you know you will be financially secure. Someone as unpriviliged as you surely understands that not having any of these are problematic, so I fail to see how you can use that as an argument for our corruption, unless you base your perspective on your resentment, as Jordan pointed out above. Equating that everything profitable is necessary bad is perhaps an easy ideology to explain things, but it will not bring about any good anywhere. Even Ghandi knew economic indepedence was the key to liberation. 

You mean Leo from ZenHabits? I don’t know him, but I am sure he understands, like ourselves, there is differences in practice and theory, and you need both. Every teacher is different, and even the most acclaimed once have given advice that didn’t work out. 

Goenka’s retreats are not free, they are donation based, and their tradition/style has inherent problematic issues too (specifically creating a duality between thinking and body sensation, something Dogen in the Mahayana tradition rightfully critiques). I think you’re creating a false dichotomy between free = better, and having done long meditation retreats all over the world (in the same lineage of Goenka, but a different branch, too), I can say that sometimes, it is worth to pay for validated quality. That’s not just corrupting, money is also how people trust eachother. Negating this whole world because you haven’t been able to operate it in, does in no way invalidate that some people actually are competent and should be rewarded as such. That things like safety, travel, location, costs money. That my team has to live and eat. Someone in your position shouldn’t lightly criticize this.

axl2505 (1) (@Vitalyss) 4 years, 3 months ago ago

No offense but I disagree with a couple of points you make there and without babbling too much I’ll tell you why. (at least, I’ll try.)

You make a lot of assumptions there that I want to straighten out.  You talk about Sam Harris being “privileged”, but aren’t you yourself privileged? Aren’t we all? At the beginning of the year, I was visiting India for the first time and was walking in the streets of Mumbai. Jesus Christ, the bums in the streets of Toronto have it easier than some of the people I saw there. It’s all relative. 

Your retreat sounds lovely, but it’s for the few privileged (if you want to keep using the privileged card.) I find it nobler to do something on a donation basis – like Sam Harris do with his work, or Goenka does with his retreats. Of course, this is bound to create some financial and logistical problems.

But with the kind of work you’re involved in, spirituality and enlightenment, you go through those issues; you tackle them one by one. If the liberation of humankind is indeed your real concern, that’s what you do. Because to me right now you just seem like an entrepreneur wanting to make a few bucks.

When you say “I can say that sometimes, it is worth to pay for validated quality”, I think this is true… when you’re buying an ice cream! Or anything else. But when dealing with enlightenment, you don’t get enlightened by walking safe little road. Your retreat in Costa Ricca is just that. First it’s for people who can afford it (that creates separation right there) and, second, as Nietzsche rightly points out in his work, it’s stepping outside of your comfort zone, willingly experiencing the unpleasant (truly the unpleasant), and going through hardship with complete acceptance, compassion, and open-mindedness… that’s what gets you enlightened. Again, this brings me back to my experience in India where I’ve met people who literally had nothing, but by the behavior they displayed and the mind states they seemed to inhabit, they seemed to have it all. 

What I’m saying is that life offers you the possibility for enlightedment for free. You don’t have to pay anything, you just have to know where to look. And how. That’s why I think your free work at HE is helpful. But with your retreat, you’re perpetuating a path of ‘delusionment’, which the attendants will falsely take for enlightenment.

I am not basing my perspective on resentment as you’re assuming I do. I actually value the work you guys do at HE. Not long ago, I was a sucker for these kinds of retreats. I even attended a retreat organized by Leo Babauta from Zenhabits. But I was astounded by the level of incompetence. And I realized: It’s not enough to just hold a blog and to have thousands of followers. The question is, can you lead a retreat, with everything this implies? What are your credentials to teach yoga and mindfulness? Are you accredited to lead/teach these disciplines, and if yes, which institution has accredited you? Personal experience is not enough unless you can prove your competence. (and writting is not enough.)

What I think is dangerous with the internet these days is that complete morons are passing as pros. In any field. They read a couple of books, and that’s it: they think they know it all.

That said, again I’m very grateful for the free stuff, and I will stick with it. Thanks for the conversation.

christinemeany (0) (@christinemeany) 4 years, 5 months ago ago

not bad at all

Mike (208) (@mikedvs15) 4 years, 4 months ago ago

@bashfulkoala I am very happy for you and the team to get this off the ground and running I really can see this blossoming into a beautiful and powerful retreat that could potentially have a tremendous ripple effect on many awesome people / HEthans and thus the world!

I would been signed up had I not been already signed up for another retreat. if this turns out to be an annual thing I could easily see my self hopping on board for version 2.0 

Anyways I wish you all the best of luck with Journey and project – It is very cool and important work you guys are putting out there and to be able to make this virtual community and real and tangible thing is AWESOME and AMAZING.


Martijn Schirp (112,780)A (@martijn) 4 years, 4 months ago ago

Thank you so much brother <3

DaFunks (366)M (@Dafunks) 4 years, 4 months ago ago

This sounds so good. If you ever come to the UK let me know

flower21 (18) (@flower21) 4 years, 2 months ago ago

That does sound fantastic and interesting! Too bad it’s only in Costa Rica! 

Pizza Time (0) (@PizzaJakeVelociraptor) 4 years, 5 months ago ago


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