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

with Andrew Holecek & Robert A.F. Thurman

September 16 - 22, 2024 | Hybrid Retreat

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


Specially prepared dark sessions will be facilitated for people to practice individually, and everybody is asked to bring the Mindfold Relaxation Mask for group dark practice, which can be acquired at www.mindfold.com. Please bring either silicon or foam ear plugs, to facilitate complete sensory deprivation. VR supported group meditation ceremonies will be offered as an experiential add-on, for a minor fee. VR is only available for in-person attendees, with a maximum capacity limit.

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

This event is hybrid and this page is for online attendance registrations.

To learn more and to register for in-person attendance, please CLICK HERE.

Andrew Holecek

Andrew Holecek offers seminars internationally on meditation, dream yoga, and the art of dying. He is the author of many books, including Preparing to Die: Practical Advice and Spiritual Wisdom From the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition, and Dream Yoga: Illuminating Your Life Through Lucid Dreaming and the Tibetan Yogas of Sleep. His two newest works are Dreams of Light: The Profound Daytime Practice of Lucid Dreaming and The Lucid Dreaming Workbook: A Step-By-Step Guide to Mastering your Dream Life

Andrew’s work joins the knowledge of the West with the wisdom of the East in providing a full-spectrum approach to help us realize our human potential. He holds degrees in classical music, biology, and a doctorate in dental surgery. Andrew lives in Boulder, Colorado.

To learn more, please visit: www.andrewholecek.com.

Robert Thurman

Robert A.F. Thurman is Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University as well as Co-Founder and President of Tibet House US/Menla in service of HH Dalai Lama & the people of Tibet. A close friend of the Dalai Lama’s for over 50 years, he is a leading world-wide lecturer on Tibetan Buddhism, passionate activist for the plight of the Tibetan people, skilled translator of Buddhist texts, and inspiring writer of popular Buddhist books.

In partnership with Nena Thurman and dedicated contributors, he now focuses on making Tibet House US and its Menla Retreat & Spa a global center for the promotion, study and practice of Tibetan Buddhist healing arts and sciences of body, mind, and spirit, dedicated as a complement to the vast life work of its patron, His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

To learn more, please visit: www.bobthurman.com.

Dark Retreat, Psychedelics, and Virtual Reality Curriculum

  Monday, September 16th (All Times Eastern)
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  Tuesday, September 17th
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  Wednesday, September 18th
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  Thursday, September 19th
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  Friday, September 20th
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  Saturday, September 21st
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  Sunday, September 22nd
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Every dollar lends crucial support to Tibet House US | Menla during these dynamic times. All are welcome to join.

We encourage those who are financially comfortable to contribute above the class fees to support scholarships specifically and Tibet House US | Menla generally.

To apply for scholarship assistance please visit: www.menla.org or email us at [email protected].

Sarvamangalam! May All Beings Be Well!

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