Golnaz Fathi, Untitled, 2011
Last night I had the great pleasure to hear the accomplished Iranian artist Golnaz Fathi share her passion for painting at a presentation at Hong Kong’s Asia Society. As I listened to Golnaz, I realized that she was describing her love of art as a sacred practice. Upon a night’s reflection, it seems to me that her example can be both instructive and inspirational to those of us who want to explore art as a restorative force in our lives. Continue reading
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
– Jesus (Matthew 5:4)
We have built our semester’s exploration in “Service, Society, and the Sacred” around the concept that a common message in the Wisdom Tradition is the need to let go of a small self in order to allow a Larger Self to emerge. But this simple message begs the question: what is it really like in daily life to experience this movement from one to the other? Continue reading
This entry describes a two-fold project in which students (1) seek to identity their Enneagram personality type, and then (2) design a spiritual practice to let go and purify this preferred way of being in the world. In this way, students begin to practice a potentially lifelong dynamic of simultaneously finding and letting go of the self.
“If psychological work helps us find ourselves, spiritual work takes a step further, helping us let go of ourselves.”
– John Welwood, Toward a Psychology of Awakening, 97.
This semester in “Service, Society, and the Sacred“* I want you to explore yourself at a level of depth and specificity that I assume you have never done before. Ideally, this self-exploration will give you some clue about your life purpose. That may sound over-the-top grand, but I don’t believe it’s too early for you to understand something about your soul’s purpose in your experience as a high school junior or senior. Continue reading
Dear World Religion Students,
We have been talking all semester about moving from the small self to the Larger Self, which means bringing together your day-to-day experience living in this visible, competitive, and finite world (of the horizontal) with your Eternal Being (on the vertical). You are now doing the Spiritual Practices Project, which I consider to be the highlight of the course because it puts all these abstract ideas to the test. And the most practical question seems to be: what will happen as you do these spiritual practices? What is it really like to move from the small self to the Larger Self? Continue reading