WHO IS BEHIND sky-heart?
My name is Bert van Baar. I’m an anthropologist, writer and sound explorer with a passion to investigate the nature of our mind and our consciousness. I’ve been practising meditation since the beginning of the eighties and I've been teaching it to others since the mid-nineties. I live with my English-Irish beloved Maureen in Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
In 1989-1990 I did fieldwork among Tibetan refugees in India and Nepal. I've been studying, practising and receiving empowerments and initiations from the greatest Tibetan masters ever since. I've written a PhD. on Tibetan Buddhist ritual: Kangling, Tracks to the Heart of the Bone (1999), wrote an introduction to Buddhism: Buddhism in a Nutshell (2006) and a study on life and work of the Dalai Lama: Dalai Lama, Sage of this Time (2009). I worked for five years as a manager and developer of a pioneering Buddhist study and practice curriculum that was presented in 64 cities around the world. For the last few years I've been teaching a module on the training of the mind in compassion at the Free University in Amsterdam.
From 2006 - 2009 I did a long retreat in the South of France receiving very profound teachings from my root-lama. Having delved so deeply into Buddhism, and inspired by the work of HH the Dalai Lama, from 2011 onwards I started to present workshops in a secular context on the essence of what I had learned in Buddhism. These experimental workshops have now incarnated into the Sky-Heart project.
WHY DEVELOP SKY-HEART?
My whole adult life I’ve been convinced that:
- Knowledge and insight into how our mind works is our main cause of happiness and can prevent a lot of unnecessary suffering.
- This knowledge is present in different cultures and traditions of the world, but through form and language it is often difficult to recognise.
- We have to find a modern way to translate this knowledge so we can practically apply and develop it in our lives.
- Now that our technological evolution has evolved so rapidly the evolution of our awareness needs to catch up. The Sky-Heart Program is designed to contribute to this.
How did it come about?
After a few years of studying Psychology I switched to Cultural Anthropology:
- Looking for wisdom I dived into shamanism, Daoism, Zen and did research into the rituals and symbolism of Tibetan Buddhism.
- Because I didn’t just want to do scientific research but also experience the meaning myself I became a student of a Tibetan lama. For the last 25 years I received teachings and initiations from the greatest Buddhist masters, both in India and in the West.
- The combination of rational analysis with personal trial and error experience and a comparison with the wisdom and rituals of other traditions have given me insight in universal aspects of our mind.
- In the fall of 2016 the word 'sky-heart' popped up in my mind during a meditation session. It seems to express exactly the essence of what I would like to point towards in my work: a natural clarity of mind that is present, spacious and aware; in compassionate harmony with oneself and others, and happily in tune with nature and the universe.
What makes sky-heart unique?
The Sky-Heart Program provides:
- A model that serves to investigate and transform ourselves, not bound to any culture, religion or tradition, but for everyone accessible and applicable.
- A coherent view with practical methods based on the recognition of awareness in our thinking, feeling, speaking and doing.
- The program is experience-based on the pillars of analytical and resting meditation, contemplation, visualisation and the training of the mind in love and compassion.
- All the main elements of how to enter your sky-heart are visually depicted in a mandala or medicine wheel which shows in one image how the view and methods hang together.
- It’s rooted in a completely holistic approach – working with:
- body (movement and postures in the physical realm)
- speech (pure sound vibration, meaning & communicative patterns)
- mind (thoughts and emotions)
- awareness (beyond the dualistic mind)
- It brings clarity on identity, goals and fulfilment and can serve as a roadmap to inner peace, compassion, flourishing and self-liberation.
What people are saying about the workshops
Thank you so much for this weekend! It has brought me a wonderful starting point for happiness. Now it’s up to me.
Meditation isn’t airy-fairy at all. It brings me closer to myself. I always thought I was close to myself, but that turned out be not true. A world has been opened for me.
Everything is already in me. I just need to discover it through connections with others. Thank you, Bert, for your contribution to this. It is a great pleasure to listen to you.
A fascinating spiritual confrontation with science and oneself under the soulful guidance of a real connoisseur. A weekend you’ll think about for a long time to come and you’ll cherish forever.
It was a super-weekend!
I thought it was clarifying and the thread remained clear. Bert has a nice relaxed way of teaching with lots of space for the participants. A very good atmosphere!
What a rich weekend! Meditation is good for me. How could many more people find out about this?
It was wonderful to be able to share things in the safety of the group. Through Bert’s behaviour that safety came natural. Thanks, Bert. I’ve been helped.
Bert explains well and guided the practices with a pleasant voice. I’m very satisfied.
I did the weekend for the third time and it’s always surprising. Thank you for your sharp pointers. See you another time.
I thought it was a great weekend; a MOT for the mind. Thank you, Bert!
I came to find some peace with myself. I was quite nervous in the beginning but the nice atmosphere and Bert’s calm presence quickly dissolved that.
Thank you, Bert for your pleasant, warm and professional guidance, and humour!
I think Bert is a born teacher, both pass on intellectual knowledge and in showing how we can use our full potential as human beings. Through his nature and his life story he can tell good stories about this. I also think he's the type of teacher this day and age needs.
My partner tells me now for days already that I’m so harmonious after the weekend. A sign that something really happened.
I discovered this weekend that the practice of compassion with myself, others or even the world is a strengthening of ones own mental resilience.
I think Bert has a lot of knowledge and knows how to pass this on in an inspiring way. He seems to keep his integrity under all circumstances. He knows how to bring things back down to earth. What appeals to me very much is his sharp and dry humour. You can have a good laugh with him.
It was captivating, but one thing I like to ask you: a follow up weekend!