I frequently ask you to do spiritual practices in my religion classes and, regardless of the motive, most of you seem to benefit. But in this entry, I’d like to turn the spotlight on the question of motivation and explore what our assumptions about doing these practices tell us about our entire approach to life. Continue reading
Perhaps the most common truism taught about the spiritual life is the need to journey from the head to the heart. The ancient wisdom traditions of the world teach with one voice that we need to re-awaken the heart, but how do we do that?
Of course, we all have some sense that it is possible to slow down and act from the heart, but my experience at HKIS is that this happens only very temporarily, like when we share something with close family members or friends, or when we travel to do service in another country.*
So what to do? In this entry, I want to share with you a very practical exercise that will effectively move you into heart exploration – and train you to “go there” whenever you choose. I am drawing this practice almost entirely from Robert Sardello’s brilliant book Heartfulness, excerpts of which I have adapted for you in more easily understand prose. Continue reading
What’s really real? Having brought hundreds of students to two nearby orphanages in southern China since 1995 with a plethora of memories – good news of adoption and connection along with tragic stories of separation and loss – I ask myself what really matters when one takes the long view? Continue reading
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Tagged action research, Buddhism, cynthia bourgeault, Foshan, foshan orphanage, Humanities I in Action, meaning of life, service learning, service motivation, spiritual practice, Wisdom Tradition
Richard and Suzanne Friedericks and myself traveled to Assisi, Italy five years ago to do a spiritual retreat with our teacher Cynthia Bourgeault. Looking back on that time, I can now recognize the significant turning point in my life that emerged at this propitious moment.
Five years ago during Easter vacation I was very sick and panicky. A recurrent stomach bug since mid-January had left my immune system in tatters and for the first time in my life, I wondered if maybe I would lead a short life. In desperation I googled “strengthen immune system” and, to my surprise, one of the top choices was meditation. “That does it,” I thought, “I’m doing this.” I was headed to Assisi, Italy for a retreat with my spiritual teacher, Cynthia Bourgeault, in three weeks’ time, and I had not embraced her spiritual practice of choice, a Christian form of meditation called Centering Prayer, despite having been thoroughly introduced to it by Father Basil Pennington in the mid-90’s. My health, my teachers, and Google were all in alignment. How could I refuse? Continue reading