Browse Schedule by Category: Retreats / Online Courses

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Ignite Your Spiritual Life: Online course

September 15, 2018 - October 20, 2018

Ignite Your Spiritual Life Online Course: Sept 15-Oct 20, 2018

This course explores how to create a supportive structure in your daily life for spiritual growth.  Retreat centres – such as Planet Dharma’s home base at Clear Sky Retreat Centre – provide nurturing and uplifting spaces for meditation and learning.  The good news is that the same simple principles can be applied to our daily lives at home and at work.  This gives us a strong foundation for year-round meditation and growth.

This course is for you if:

  • you struggle in the busyness of life to have a consistent meditation practice.
  • you attend courses and retreats, and have great insights, but somehow end up stuck back in the same old habitual patterns in your daily life.
  • you want to build a strong foundation for year-round Dharma growth and exploration.

This course is offered by senior Planet Dharma students through their work at Clear Sky Retreat Centre as a complement and support to your Planet Dharma studies.

Online classes will take place live on Saturday mornings 10:00-11.30am MST. Recordings will also be available if you can’t attend live.

The critical lost art of the spiritual container and how it can re-ignite your spiritual life

If you’re like many people, you may know what will help keep you calm and centered – like regular meditation practice, and ongoing Dharma studies and retreats – yet you have a hard time applying it in your daily life.

Especially in these turbulent times, when it seems nobody is immune from growing levels of fear, depression, and anxiety in the world, we can feel overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

Even with regular retreats, courses and meditation time, you may still feel pulled off-center through the day. This is because your energy drains away, little by little or even in sudden spills, like nectar would from a leaky cup with no lid.

Yet, it’s possible even on the busiest days to stay centered, alive, and engaged. You can learn to set up your life to support and protect your energy, and re-ignite your spiritual life.

How can you do this? You can forge your life into a cup that supports your precious energy, by learning about the art of the spiritual container. By repairing these holes in your metaphorical leaky cup, you can redesign your everyday life to be more like you’re in the protective space of retreat.

This practical course looks at how we can thrive and grow in a busy world – it’s not about learning how to withdraw, or fit in hours of formal meditation.

The magic of a retreat – a cup that holds the nectar

So what are we talking about when we mention the supportive container of a retreat? If you haven’t been in retreat before, take a moment and open your heart to the beauty of the experience.

lady's hand touching purple flowers in a field

Imagine moving in a space where you’re calm and bright enough to notice the simple beauty of life around you. A space where, whatever happens, you’ve got energy and a sense of equanimity to keep things in perspective.

Simple chores feel joyful and alive, instead of mundane. You move from task to task with ease, seeing things just as they are and responding to what’s needed rather than reacting to what’s happening.

Picture yourself being more compassionate, friendly, and open to other people. You enjoy the space even when confusion or negative thoughts creep in for yourself or others, and let them pass by without giving them energy to grow.

Do you recognize anything there? Those moments when the ego seems to quieten and all is right with the world? We can get contact with this on a morning walk in nature with a beloved pet, a stroll on the beach, or a slow Sunday at home.

These moments don’t have to be fleeting moments you long for, yet can’t get right now. Many moments in your daily life can be closer to this than you may think – whether you’re at work, at home, at school, or commuting, there are things you can do to bring the beauty of retreat into your day.

You won’t be able to do that, however, unless you acknowledge what’s been missing.

What’s missing? Attention to the outer supports you need for a strong container

So, what isn’t working in our daily lives? Why do people trying their best to find calm, presence, and joy still sometimes feel disheartened, stuck, or lost?

Well, in fact it’s not surprising. Especially in difficult times, the daily demands of living will stay very much in charge – unless we tweak our lives to better support us. Unless we learn to carry our cup carefully and take care of it, our precious nectar is bound to spill out or get diluted by what’s around us.

If the inner work you’re doing isn’t sustaining you, then, you’re probably missing the importance of the outer supports you need – especially if you’re one of those people who tends to take care of others, more than you take care of yourself.

Yet once you set up these outer supports, your life will be a better container for generating and sustaining a sense of calm, focus, and joy.

Outer support: The Five Principles of a good spiritual container

From years of running a retreat centre, and applying what we learn to our own lives, we’ve rediscovered five ancient principles that help create the right outer conditions we’re talking about:

underneath view of pier on a lake with mountains in background

1. Honor your space

2. Structure and routine are your friends

3. It’s easier with others

4. Cleaning up big areas of your life frees up energy

5. Conversations shape the space where we meet


These are the factors that have made Clear Sky work, a place that wakes people up and supports their practice. And these same principles can transform and support our daily lives, too.

That’s why we created this course. We’ll share with you the insights and learning we’ve had from creating Clear Sky – a physical and virtual centre for awakening – in the form of these five simple yet empowering principles, that have been time-tested over centuries.

As well as the core content on each of the principles, each webinar will include meditations and exercises to try in your daily life, and will end with question-and-answer sessions.

Why take the course? Ignite Your Spiritual Life will help you:

** establish a more consistent meditation practice

** redesign your life to be more in line with your spiritual aspirations

** get relief from being reactive and stressed by daily events

** move through blocks and old patterns that seemed like they’d never shift

** connect with your heart and other people at a deeper level a difference in the world from a more grounded and confident place

** clarify where you want to direct your energy


My environment has changed, the way I organize my activities, my communication and trust in others … Applying those principles can hold love and clarity for even big groups, creating a genuine awakening field.”  — Emmanuel Ponte, Brazil

I think this course is a beautiful, utterly grounded and relevant way of making the spiritual life very real and integrated with how we are living every day of our lives. I also think that this course lays an important foundation for a meditation practice that can actually go somewhere as well as allowing a practice that may already be strong to better feed the other parts of our lives for a really well-rounded and truly fulfilling life.  All the principles have reinforced for me that it is necessary to water the outside garden very carefully, with attention and presence, so that the flowers of compassion and love can flourish inside and in my relations. Thank you, dear Karen, Duncan, and Sangha. — Ruth Levin, Calgary

When I was making my list of aspirations and plans for 2017, I realized that I was structuring it from the five principles learned in the course “Outer Clarity.” The learnings served as a good medicine for doubts about how to lead transformations I want in my life. — Luana Messena, Brazil

It’s really, really brought me back home to myself… I found myself in the past very scattered and would put off all the important things, the spiritual aspects of life, the mindfulness and so on, just to blast through my day and get things done, but now I am really taking pause. I still don’t get everything done, but I don’t get everything done in a much more calm way, haha, in a much more soulful way… So for me that was probably the most important takeaway from the six week program is just you can’t let those things slide no matter what because when you do, you’re giving up little bits of your soul and then you’ve really lost. ..That for me was wonderful to come back to. — Morghana, Victoria.


This course is offered by students of Planet Dharma and long-time members of Clear Sky retreat center.

KarenKaren McAllister

After meeting Clear Sky’s founding teachers Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawsat in Japan, I managed the meditation centre there for many years while serving simultaneously as part of the Clear Sky Board. In 2003, I helped search for a site for Clear Sky, looking at around 30 properties until we found our current location in the magical Kootenays.

I’m now Chair of the Board and Director of Business Development. I’m passionate to be teaching the much-ignored principles of nurturing the factors – like honor your space, structure, and communication – that create the conditions we need to wake up more in daily life. I see how I learned and embodied these principles in my different roles at Clear Sky, as the centre went from self-starter to second-stage growth. This is what I call “the hands-on way of doing an MBA with a spiritual bottom line!”

In my free time, I love travelling, speaking Portuguese and reading history, architecture, and art books.

duncan-cryleDuncan Cryle

I’m the former Clear Sky Chair, a certified Mindfulness teacher, Dharma teacher, and an IBM Executive in Toronto.

Through 15 years of teaching meditation and mindfulness, alongside an active career working all over the world, I’ve learnt a lot about an integrated spiritual path.  With a Ph.D. in philosophy in my pocket, I was gung ho to join a monastery until I met my root teachers Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat in Japan in 2001, who turned my views upside down and encouraged me to grow and contribute at the busy end of life!

A founding member of Clear Sky in 2004, I’m amazed at the power that working together in compassionate service has for enriching and widening spiritual growth.  Combined with a dynamic relationship and a challenging career, I have fun with a wide-ranging and holistic approach to spiritual growth.  The spiritual container is a key aspect to this and I’m delighted to teach and share this course.


We offer this course on the basis of dāna.  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 translates as generosity in English. It’s radically different from the transactional way we normally interact in the world – where we give to get something back, either a service or thing. Instead, with dāna, we give as a mutual exchange of generosity. It’s our joy to offer this course, and we trust you’ll match our time, energy, and passion by giving an amount of money that feels good and healthy to both you and us.

As for our part in this pay from the heart model: since we have expenses hosting the classes and we are investing significant amounts of volunteer (service) time and our combined experience in creating, teaching, and administrating the course, we are setting the minimum amount at $120 CAD. All proceeds will go to support Clear Sky center’s work.

To find out more or register

For more details on the course contents, teachers, logistics and testimonials, visit Clear Sky Center’s web page here

Or to directly register for the six week course learning how to set up a supportive structure for your meditation and year round growth simply click here.



September 15, 2018
October 20, 2018
Event Category: