Eric Brown • • 6 min read
Experiencing Apotheosis: A Look Inside the First-Ever HighExistence Spiritual Retreat
There are a few events in life that are truly ineffable.
They defy language, choosing to remain in the ether of mental space and memories. These are the moments we are most awestruck, the moments that stay with us for a lifetime, the moments that act as the inflection points of life — forever altering our course to better and brighter futures.
This is what a group of 40 strangers experienced as we ventured deep off-grid into the jungles of Costa Rica, for the first-ever HighExistence retreat — Apotheosis.
Apotheosis, meaning ‘becoming or making into a God,’ or ‘the highest point in the development of something; cultivation or climax’.
Together, we embarked on a hero’s journey of the soul and emerged victoriously.
Friends were made. Wounds were healed. The foundations of a life-changing future were laid.
It was truly a gestalt experience, where the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts.
Jordan Bates, one of the co-creators of Apotheosis, painted a vivid picture of the event when he wrote:
“Apotheosis, our first HighExistence retreat, was tremendous. Honestly, it exceeded all of my most optimistic dreams. It was undoubtedly one of the best experiences of my life.
The outpouring of openness, acceptance, and love summoned by this group was truly healing, heartwarming, blissful, and profound. ~40 of us, from ~13 countries and five continents—most of whom had never met prior to this week—came together at an enchanted Costa Rican ecolodge and connected, with such a level of trust and pure intention, that we were transmuted into a unified whole, a tribe, a family.
Through yoga, meditation, breathwork, jungle hiking, workshops, lovely nutritious meals, ocean swimming, beach walks, bonfires, music making, freestyle rapping, hammock lounging, wildlife appreciation, ecstatic dance parties, star-gazing, sacred medicine ceremonies, poetry, spiritual contemplation, skydiving, making animal noises, sharing circles, deep and philosophical conversations, and so many long bear hugs, a group of relative strangers became brothers and sisters, and healed and grew and transformed a hell of a lot in the process.
It was so beautiful to witness this, to be part of it, to work on it for months and see it come to fruition. I feel ridiculously blessed to have co-created and participated in something that felt extraordinarily meaningful. I’m overflowing with love and gratitude for everyone who attended the retreat or helped make it possible.
I’m left with an overpowering sense that every sentient being on Earth and beyond is part of the same community of life. Existence is hard for all of us, we all carry significant pain and fear. Instead of making it harder on each other we can choose each day to create a better future for all by directing our attention, words, and actions toward compassion, cooperation, innovation, joy, education, gratitude, kindness, and wisdom. It starts with each of us. What future are we choosing in our day-to-day lives?”
It began deep in the rainforest, hundreds of kilometers off-grid, in the serene Finca Exotica ecolodge. From rainforest hikes to fasting, from trauma workshops to ecstatic dances, we navigated the wilderness of our beings and grew into the people we were meant to be.
Fuelled by organic, locally-grown food, and nourished by nature, we laughed our way through a week of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual exercises.
We participated in sacred plant medicine ceremonies, found stillness in the yoga and meditation classes, reached new levels with transformational breathwork, and bonded over group meals and many, many bear hugs.
We spoke about systems of meaning, the future of governance, the value of psychedelics, self-optimization, embracing uncertainty — the depth and breadth of topics were mind-boggling. Clearly, we had a lot on our minds.
And of course, we made time to live.
To be fully alive.
To connect with nature, to feel the raw power of the ocean waves.
To immerse ourselves in the infinite now and soak in the wisdom of the rainforest.
Each day we took another step along on the mythopoetic hero’s journey, each day venturing deeper into ourselves, into our community, and into the endless possibilities of our futures.
Apotheosis in Photos and Video
In order to really give you an inside look at Apotheosis, we’ve put together this collection of photos, as well as a short film about the retreat created by one of the attendees, HighExistence video-wizard Jake Zieman.
More Than Words
As with most peak experiences, what you did may not be as important as how you felt. It is the feeling that stays with you, the sense of love and ecstasy that endures.
It is rare these days to co-create an experience with individuals so much like yourself. Individuals with a yearning for meaning, for exploration, for personal improvement, and for honest, authentic connection with other beautiful beings.
Removed from the trials and tribulations of day to day life, temporarily forgetting our habitual twitch to check our phones – we could focus, connect, share, and relate deeply with one another.
To be seen, fully and completely, by another person, is a uniquely powerful and enthralling experience.
To say the experience was life-changing is almost an understatement, as this experience is something that all of us will remember for the rest of our lives.
But no one can say it better than those who attended with us:
- 93.3% ranked Apotheosis in the top 10 most meaningful experiences of their lives; 73.3% ranked it in their top 5.
- And 40% said Apotheosis was the single most spiritually significant experience of their lives.
- 93.3% of survey respondents said their sense of personal well-being or life satisfaction ‘increased moderately’ or ‘increased very much’ as a result of Apotheosis.
Imagine the opportunity to experience the most spiritually significant moments of your life.
Accepting the Call
How do you put the most powerful experiences of your life into words effectively?
What effect would an experience like Apotheosis have on you as you go back to your home?
How might one single adventure into the unknown radically impact your future trajectory?
Accepting the call to adventure is never easy, many avoid it their whole lives.
But like all great stories, the hero must leave home and venture into the unknown to be rewarded with the gifts of a lifetime.
We were joined by heroes. Individuals no different than you or I, who had heard the call and accepted the challenge.
The challenge to become who they might be. To find their greatest self and run towards it. To face the darkness with open arms and make peace with the past.
The feeling of camaraderie, the support and limitless love that poured out of everyone was immensely healing. The opportunity to be vulnerable and honest with your story provides the space needed to do the deep work we all need. To have the weight of the world lifted off of you and held up by your tribe is therapeutic.
The opportunity to design your ideal life is uniquely profound. To forget worries and wants, to step outside of time and live in a space of infinite potential. To fill your soul with the light and love you need to dream bigger, better, and brighter than ever before.
To go back home with a new sense of lightness, spontaneity, and creativity serves as a catalyst for remarkable growth.
This was an opportunity of a lifetime that a group of strangers transmuted into the greatest experience of our lives.
The experience was so transformative for us that we know more must be given this chance. We want to give the opportunity of awakening to everyone.
So we’ve expanded our vision. Apotheosis 2.0 will be just outside Amsterdam in October of this year. It’s going to be monumental.
Do you feel the call?
Do you feel the calling deep within you?
Are you ready to accept the adventure?
Then join us, and become who you might be.
I'm a creator, artist, writer, and experience designer. I help people become themselves.