February 25, 2021
Real spiritual traditions have power based on the influence of rare teachers who have undergone transformation and then taught what they realized about the nature of reality and who we are beyond identification. While traditions have different forms and practices, there are essential elements that they have in common. Traditions can provide an influence that can support us to deepen our highest spiritual intention, which we might not cleave to on our own. Barbara is a longtime practitioner and teacher of Buddhadharma. She is author of Light Years: A Spiritual Memoir and Brave, Generous, & Undefended: Heart Teachings on the 37 Bodhisattva Practices. Carl’s connection with the Gurdjieff tradition began at an early age in the New York children’s group and later continued at an upstate NY commune with Mrs. March, a student of Gurdjieff. He has written Sun Bridge and The Kindling. Vijaya Fedorschak has been involved in the Western Baul tradition through his teacher, Lee Lozowick, and the lineage of Yogi Ramsuratkumar and Swami Ramdas. He is author of Shadow on the Path and Father and Son.
February 11, 2021
Love is a present phenomenon only; it is only alive in the present. The deep imprints of those we have loved are accessible to us in the present. We can touch the timeless, expansive experience of love beyond the limitations of the physical body. There are different kinds of love such as the love of a mother, friend, brother or sister, agape love, erotic love. This plane of existence is a school of love, which is the essence of the Path, the core of existence, the defining element of creation. Love is always available, not scarce, but the doorway to it does not open easily. Stillness, awe, and grief are keys which can open the door to love. Love is the essence of who we are even if we don’t live it. At some level we all have a broken heart that only the Divine can heal. Regina Sara Ryan is the editor of Hohm Press, a workshop leader, retreat guide, and author of The Woman Awake, Igniting the Inner Life, Praying Dangerously, Only God and other books.
January 28, 2021
We all have an innate need to cultivate the sacred within ourselves. Contemplation creates the possibility of opening to the effortless flow of life and to our imagination and creativity. Self-knowledge is an ongoing process that we can nurture at each stage of our lives. We can build our capacity to be a vessel for awareness and an intention for transformation for the benefit of ourselves and others. Obstacles to contemplation and the distinction between rumination and contemplation are discussed in this talk—along with the value of staying present during times of pain, despair, or depression. Angelon is a workshop leader, editor, and author of As It Is, Under the Punnai Tree, The Baul Tradition, Caught in the Beloved’s Petticoats, Enlightened Duality (with Lee Lozowick), and Krishna’s Heretic Lovers.
January 14, 2021
We set up our lives through our speech, which reinforces existing thought patterns and makes our perspective seem more solid. It also expresses the confusion of our thoughts and the clarity of our attention. We can bring awareness to our speech and to the ways that we “leak” energy through it. Grounding our speech is about restraint, as opposed to suppression, so that we can build energy for the intention and greater tasks that we have. Bandhu is author of Creative Life and an internationally recognized glass artist and teacher.
December 24, 2020
Joy and gratitude are central elements of all spiritual traditions. We can feed that which survives death by building gratitude and finding divinity in ordinary life. It is risky to be vulnerable and to accept a gift since this puts us in touch with our interdependence. Over time, we may come to recognize the way that loss and struggle have brought us to be who we have become. Debbie is an advocate for the wisdom of community, an early-childhood educator, and a mother who has led workshops on conscious parenting. She is author of Widening the Circle: Inspiration & Guidance for Community Living.
December 10, 2020
As children, we take in everything and are not generally introduced to the idea of thinking about what we are thinking about. Our thinking is constant and we tend to repetitively think about the same things. Thinking overlays reality. Mind creates identification, is wary of everything as a threat, and seeks to survive at all costs. Throughout our lives, it looks for something to make things better while being averse to recognizing that something is not quite right. The best way to consider reality is to work with accepting what is as it is here and now, including our own reactions. Bala is manager of Hohm Press, which has published a few hundred books of spiritual literature.
November 26, 2020
Feeling groundless is common when there is a great deal of instability in the world or in our personal lives. At such times, our attention may be heightened so that all suffering people are felt as our companions. We can bodily experience the need for the world to cherish feminine qualities of receptivity and compassion, and we may also discover within ourselves a greater capacity for letting go. Nachama is a physical therapist, editor, and musician who for seventeen years was a member of the Shri blues band which performed Western Baul music.
November 12, 2020
Part of the human condition is that there are parts of ourselves that we don’t see or want to see about ourselves. It may seem counterintuitive that real freedom, healing, and innocence is only possible in descent, and that the underworld (personal and archetypal) is a doorway that holds the key to real change and transformation. Whatever is buried carries creativity and life force and by learning to relate with it we can come to accept the full spectrum of life. Karuna was a singer and musician in the Western Baul bands LGB and Small Change and author of Parenting: A Sacred Task.
October 29, 2020
The reality that we see around us shows us that everything changes. Death brings an end to everything relative. But the spiritual traditions indicate that it is possible to know, or perhaps to build, something that continues beyond the separate self that we identify as. If we are to come in contact with our true nature at death, we can prepare ourselves in life. We can practice being with and moving through transitional states that are occurring all the time, as they will be more magnified at death. VJ is author of Shadow on the Path and Father and Son.
October 15, 2020
There is a human quality which allows us to be aware that there is a potential in us yet to be realized. Rabbi Abraham Heschel’s consideration that the goal of life is to live in wonder and radical amazement is explored in this talk. We can enliven this approach which nourishes the soul; without this, the experience of the Divine is diminished in the world. Regina is the author of Igniting the Inner Life, The Woman Awake, Praying Dangerously, and Only God. She is a workshop leader, editor of Hohm Press, and a former Catholic nun.