The inviting, human-scaled central courtyard of the Te Moata Retreat Center where 40 of us gathered from February 4-9 to attend Australasia’s first Wisdom School taught by Cynthia Bourgeault. In the upper right hand are the loft quarters where I slept at night.
Perhaps it had something to do with Jesus’ statement in the Gospel of Thomas from the previous night’s study, “I assure you, whoever grasps their meaning will not know the taste of death.” Certainly it had something to do with the bed, which was so flexible that it seemed to split in two when I lay in it, sandwiching me in the mattress. It was my second night at the Buddhist Retreat Center in Te Moata, New Zealand, about 3 hours southeast of the capital of Auckland, and I was relieved to sleep after a restless first night in the simple loft quarters of the retreat house.
At 4:30 in the morning my sleep was broken and I awoke to a pitch dark room. Continue reading
With the exception of a summer religion class in Bhutan, this past year had little of note in the externals of my life, teaching the same classes at HKIS in my 25th and 26th year at the school. However, something was astir internally that I’ve struggled with throughout the year. I had a distinct sense, beginning in late fall of 2014 and becoming most palpable in the early months of 2015, of a rising energy. It was as if something inside was trying to break through an invisible ceiling. It became such a preoccupation that I sought out the counsel of three friends in separate conversations in February and March, but to no avail. Continue reading
I met HKIS alum Martha Collard about 6 years ago, and since then I have frequently taken my “Service, Society, and the Sacred” class to visit her and walk a labyrinth as a spiritual practice at her center. Walking a labyrinth is a way to bring a greater sense of wholeness to our lives. Continue reading
Most of you that I teach in my religion classes genuinely wonder about the relationship between science and religion. The question seems quite straightforward: how can we reconcile, both intellectually and personally, the powerful and predictable usefulness of science with the unsurpassed beauty, meaning, and wholeness of religion? It seems abundantly clear that the future of the planet, as well as fulfillment of our personal lives, depends to a large extent on coming to some kind of rapprochement between science and religion. Continue reading
“We exist within a sea of aliveness; the entire universe is one vast orchestration.”
~Duane Elgin, The Living Universe
“Steep yourself in the sea of matter, bathe in its fiery waters, for it is the source of your life and your youthfulness.”
– Teilhard de Chardin, Writings in Times of War, p. 28.
Course and Unit Overview
This semester in my junior/senior elective course called “Service, Society, and the Sacred,” I have been attempting to teach towards the goal of wisdom. Specifically, I have framed our study around the practical question, “What should I do with my life?” as students wrestle with the primary quest of adolescence: what future professional pursuits are worthy of their time and energy? In the search for insight, I have drawn upon the Wisdom Tradition to teach about the intelligence of the body, the mind, and the heart. Continue reading
Every year our Humanities I in Action students participate in a Refugee Run simulation run by Crossroads, a Hong Kong charity founded by HKIS family Malcolm and Sally Begbie. This outing is a key component of our unit on genocide, as we want students to have a visceral understanding of the books and movies that are part of our study. For many students, this is the second most memorable experience of the course (after the Foshan trip).
An article has been published on October 6, 2015 in the South China Morning Post (C10) about the Refugee Run simulation that our students experience, including quotes from students and myself. Continue reading