I distinctly remember the first time I set foot inside a Church of Scientology. I was immediately struck by how friendly and communicative everyone was, not just with me in particular but person to person throughout the organization. It was true of the staff members in their crisp uniforms and the parishioners who were as diverse as the population of Los Angeles, where I lived.
“I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about this place and these people…” was the thought that kept running through my head. There was a lightness, an ease, along with a sense of industry and purpose but without the worry or tension or frenetic energy that I associated with “work” at that point in my life. I found the place and the people instantly fascinating and that feeling has never gone away in 20 years of studying and applying Scientology, and meeting and interacting with Scientologists from all walks of life all over the world.
No place embodies that unique and inviting spirit more than the Freewinds. To call it a cruise ship might conjure up TV ads of salsa dancing, endless buffets, magic acts and driving ranges on the lido deck. The Freewinds is, in fact, a spiritual retreat unlike any other place on Earth. And that is its exact purpose—to create a spiritually elevated environment that exists outside the hustle and bustle of everyday life, a place where people can come and reconnect with themselves and each other as spiritual beings.
The Freewinds is a living example of what that more enlightened, more awake, more spiritual society might be like.
If that sounds like an overstatement, just ask anyone who has ever been on board. The moment you arrive you’re greeted by smiling faces (and if it’s a return trip, by people you now consider your dear friends). There is a unique lightness to the place that has to be experienced personally to be fully understood. It’s as if the worries and weight of the world that we all carry around with us are left at the door, and the best parts of ourselves are amplified and magnified and celebrated in every moment.
Scientology makes bold claims about what we are capable of as individuals and as a society. The Freewinds is a living example of what that more enlightened, more awake, more spiritual society might be like. It inexorably draws out the very best in each person, as if a magnetic force of all that’s brightest within each of us is finding and attracting the same in others, until it permeates every aspect of the space and the experience.
The crew are as competent as they are friendly and welcoming. They inspire you to stand a little taller, dress a little sharper and spend your time being interested in the people around you. And because the highest level spiritual counseling available in Scientology is available exclusively on the Freewinds, the ripple effects of a remarkable level of awareness and freedom can be felt by everyone on board.
If magic exists, it’s on full display there.
I have been to the Freewinds several times over the last 20 years. I miss it when I go too long without returning. It acts as a sort of homing beacon for me, and I’m grateful just knowing it exists. The Freewinds’ maiden voyage was 33 years ago this month. It’s my pleasure to wish the crew and everyone who feels they’re a part of the Freewinds’ extended family a very happy anniversary. I and so many others are grateful for the important work you do and the standard to which you do it. You stand as a shining example of what we are capable of, as individuals and together.