Ongoing spiritual education is provided through our Spiritual Enrichment Courses suitable for those students who love learning and yet do not currently include in their plans becoming a Licensed Prayer Practitioner. Our Spiritual Enrichment Courses are designed to be short (three to five weeks long) and practical. There are no prerequisites.
Spiritual Enrichment Courses are offered on a rotating basis and are repeated every two to three years. We offer at least two courses per trimester. Consult the Class Schedule to see what courses are currently being offered. Pre-registration is encouraged so we may prepare materials and seating for you.
Anger: A Spiritual Perspective
This is a three week course developed by Rabbi George Gittleman of Shomrei Torah and Rev. Edward Viljoen of the Center for Spiritual Living. These two teachers collaborated on creating a class that explores such questions as “Does God have an anger management problem?” and “What spiritual practices can I engage in that will improve my relationship to anger?” By looking at stories from the Hebrew spiritual tradition, Science of Mind, and contemporary experts on stress, the class offers a spiritual perspective on a very human experience.
The Bhagavad Gita for Beginners
This is a three-week introduction to the world of Hindu spirituality taught by Dr. Edward Viljoen. The class includes an introduction to basic Hindu spiritual terminology, an in-class read-through of a paraphrased version of the Gita, and an introduction to some of the better known deities of the Hindu faith.
The Bible: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Living
Is the Bible the literal word of God? Can we trust that everything in it to be literally true or historically factual? The answers are not simple and the Center does not attempt to prove whether or not the Bible is factually true. Instead, the Center presents the Bible as a the holy book of Christianity (and the Old Testament of Judaism) and approaches it with respect, looking to learn spiritual life lessons from ancient times that are as vibrant and applicable to our lives today as they were when the stories emerged.
Buddhism: The Awakened Mind
What does it mean to be awake? How does one wake up? What is there to wake up from? Turning to thoughts from Buddhism the students in this four week class explore what awakenening means and how the teaching from the Center offers specific consciousness raising methods that anyone can practice.
Circulation: Joining the Dance
The spiritual practice of circulation requires you to balance the outward movement of giving with the inward movement of receiving, the outer activity of asking with the inner activity of forgiving, all held in the grateful attitude of giving thanks. It is important to understand, examine, and develop all of these areas, in order to create balance among them. For example, to some people giving is as natural as breathing. They may have difficulties with receiving or asking for what they want, but they have no problem with giving. Other people find it quite easy to receive but difficult to give. A truly well-balanced relationship to the world around you requires that all of the spokes in the wheel – giving, receiving, asking, forgiving, and gratitude – share the responsibility for carrying the vehicle. Just reading these words may already give you a hint about an area where you need to put your attention in order to create more balance.
Dao De Djing: The Name is Not the Name
The Dao De Jing, along with the Zhuangzi is one of the core texts of the Chinese teaching known as "Daoism." The work is known as The Dao from the opening phrase of the text which is translated in many different ways, for example, the "way" or the "path" or "name." Chinese artists, poets, painters, calligraphers, and gardeners have turned to the Dao as a source of inspiration. We turn to it in this class to broaden our idea of what Divinity is. Aided by the opening lines we delve into the idea that whatever name we give to the Divinity, It cannot be contained or limited by that name. The class is an investigation into the ideas and practices of our own spiritual culture to discover where we may have stopped evaluating what we practice, and the effectiveness of our practice.
Five Pillars of a Spiritual Life
Many people feel a deep longing for something more than a well-balanced life. It is as if some significant component of their being is not finding expression – that of living a spiritual life.
Living a spiritual life in today's contemporary world can be a challenge. Not everybody can retire to a mountaintop or spend many hours every day in devotional practices. For the average person, a straightforward guide to incorporating spiritual practices in everyday life must take into consideration the fast pace of modern living within the ordinary demands of career, family, and recreation.
This practical guide for spiritual living acknowledges that you may already have a very busy life. It offers manageable options for you to be able to begin incorporating powerful spiritual practices into your routine, with the hope that in their simplicity they will find a permanent place in your schedule. Through the regular on-going application of these practices, you may also become convinced that living a spiritual life is not only something that you're doing already, but it is something that is natural to you. In fact, the purpose of establishing daily spiritual practice is merely to help you remain alert to your natural spiritual tendencies.
Heart Coherence: Engaging the Heart for Peace and Well-being
Did you know the coherent heart creates an electromagnetic field 5000 times more powerful than the brain’s? This class reviews research from the HeartMath Institute, which reveals the heart is more than a pump and more than sentimentality. When we feel positive emotion, the heart becomes coherent and produces many benefits for our health, perception and well being. We will discuss these benefits, learn a technique to create heart coherence and experience a group heart coherence meditation in each class. Practiced consistently, heart coherence can facilitate opening the heart, responding more frequently with compassion, and greater awareness of intuition, inspiration and creativity. Also, if you have trouble quieting your mind in traditional meditation, heart coherence may be your answer to peace and relaxation.
Hinduism: Reality in a Multi-Layered Cake
Hindus see the origin of their faith as being in the cosmic mind itself. And as such it allows for inclusion, evolution, and evoluntion. It emphasizes the authority of scriptures… but also of living teachers. As a result, Hinduism is one of the most diverse religions in the world allowing for individual realization of the higher self over any particular form of practice. And although it looks as if Hindu’s worship a number of gods, in reality, Hindu’s recognize one surpreme truth, an Eternal reality of Being in all, and at the same time, many paths to realize it.
How to Find Your Hidden Beliefs and What to Do When You Find Them
The title of this four week course developed by Rev. Kim Kaiser says it all. How does a student find a belief if it's hidden? And since it's been hidden for so long, it probably is going to need some specific, practical methods to uproot.
Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace: Living the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
"Lord make me an instrument of your peace," the opening lines of St. Francis's prayer, illustrate the beautiful imperative voice used in affirmative prayer and establishes the one praying in a commitment to being a channel for peace, light, forgiveness, joy, and so much more. uided by Kent Nerburn's beautifully written book, Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace, this course goes to the heart of what it means to set an intention to live a life of loving-kindness and to support and keep that intention with affirmative prayer. The prayer of St. Francis boldly challenges the one who prays it to resist the tendency towards negativity through regularly focusing on and embracing goodwill and generosity of spirit. This course intends to show a way to true peace and contentment by following our inclination towards goodness and truth.
Meditation: Communion and Guidance
This class explores the role of meditation as one of the five core practices of a well balanced spiritual life. In addition to reviewing the many benefits of meditation and its power to change our lives, students will practice a user-friendly approach to meditation that expands our receptivity to inner direction and which grows our connection with the Divine. This class authored by Rev. Ruth Barnhart is appropriate for beginners and practiced meditators alike.
A More Ardent Fire
A More Ardent Fire is a class about nurturing devotion for God every day. Using Eknath Easwaran’s book by the same title, students will explore humankind's affinity with expressing and receiving love, and how in doing so we experience of Divinity. Material covers topics such as the nature of unconditional love, the importance of nurturing a stillness in mind, Christian equivalents of devotional love, and the qualities present in one who practices devotional love as a way of life.
Relationship on Purpose: Consciously Crafting the Healthy and Vibrant Relationships That You Really Want
Relationship is why we are here, together, on the planet. It can be the most fulfilling, or the most frustrating thing that we as human beings experience. Yet for all of its possibility, most people go about relationship unconsciously. From Significant Other and family relationships to neighbor and co-worker, you will learn to create more fulfilling connections with the people in your life.
This class will provide you with the tools to experience relationship in an intentional and proactive way. Learn to take relationship to a whole new level by becoming more mindful, present, and available to relate to others, and to yourself. Open to a fuller experience of the goodness and love of Spirit, through relationship, on purpose.
Suggested Reading: How To Be An Adult In Relationships – The Five Keys to Mindful Loving, by David Richo.
The Science of Mind and Spirit for Beginners: An Easy Read-Through Based on the Classic by Ernest Holmes
Ernest Holmes’ classic work The Science of Mind is the reference book for most classes taught at Centers for Spiritual Living, and frankly, it’s not that easy to read. When people find the Center, often they ask about a good book to read to learn more about the teaching studied at the Center and I find myself hesitating to recommend this text. In part, it’s because the book was written so long ago in a style that, compared to contemporary texts, is difficult to take in. Also, the text, I am told, consists of compilations of talk Ernest Holmes gave and as a result the chapters don’t fully stick to the subjects suggested by the titles.
So I set about writing a beginner’s guide, reducing complex sentences into manageable ideas. I built a class around the text The Science of Mind and Spirit for Beginners: Four Chapters in Simplified Prose. Although you can purchase the eBook from the link above, the text is contained in the student handbook for the class with fill in the blank exercises completed in class. The eBook costs 99c, which is the lowest price allowed for Kindle books on Amazon.
The five week class, which begins on May 15 and continues through June 12, (6:30 – 9 pm) is a great introduction to this classic work for beginners and I believe it will also be an entertaining refresher for those familiar with Ernest Holmes’ writings.
There are no required texts for the class, although students will be invited to read each of the four chapters in the original text at the same time as the paraphrased version. We’ll take time to explore the sources Ernest Holmes refers to (often he doesn’t attribute his material, making it fun treasure hunt) and talk about the major themes present in these first four chapters.
The Science of Oneness and the Akashic Field
This four-week class looks at the scientific evidence for a single underlying energy field from which everything in the material world arises. Using the work of Ervin Laszlo, a respected systems theorist, and current scientific evidence from quantum theory, relativity, biology, and cosmology, we will explore the possibility that Oneness is a scientific reality that affects us in our daily lives. The class will look at how the insights of science deepen our understanidng and practice of Science of Mind, a spiritual practice based on the fundamental teaching that knowledge of Oneness opens up a new way of knowing and being in the world.
Seva: Servants of God
Seva is the spiritual practice of selfless, loving service performed without attachment to an outcome and with the attitude that the one serving is not the doer. Offering Seva to the community is both a way to make a significant contribution to the spiritual community and a spiritual discipline that awakens us to the greater truth of our being. Most of all, it is an opportunity to delve deeply into the questions, Who am I? What is making me move? What is my calling? and how do I answer?
Spiritual Mind Treatment: A Way to Pray
Centers for Spiritual Living are part of the contemporary metaphysical movement and of all the practices that we share in common with other faith traditions (service, meditation, study, devotion, etc.) Spiritual Mind Treatment may be the cornerstone of our unique approach to Divinity. In this course, students will look at the logic behind the steps of Spiritual Mind Treatment, compare them to the practice of our founder, Ernest Holmes, and explore how language can either solidify a sense of separation from God or lead us deeper into the awareness of our unity with All That Is.
Study as a Spiritual Practice
Each one of us has a unique learning style; ways of study that work for some do not work for others. In this class, we will help you identify what works for you specifically as you learn more about who youa re, what you are, and how you are. You will experience the power of study to open new ways of experiencing your self and your world. And you will learn how study can lead to a deeper knowing of how Spirit is actively working everywhere in your life.
This is a three week class introducing you to one of the world's most ancient holy texts. The Upanishads are a collection of philosophical verses which form the theoretical basis for the Hindu religion. You will learn about what people consider are the origins and traditions of the Upanishads and their relationship to the Vedas. In class, you will receive a student workbook with fragments of some of the more famous Upanishads for reading and discussion. This course is a brief yet powerful look into an ancient world of spiritual ideas that are at home in our modern world.
The Writings of Ernest Holmes
A three-week class briefly reviewing three works from the beginning, middle and later part of Ernest Holmes's writing career. This class provides a look into some of the ideas presented in Ernest Holmes's writing, asking the student to make up his or her own mind regarding them. Students may elect to read the assignments (provided each week) from each book; however, it is not required that you purchase and read the books referenced.
Creative Mind and Success, 1919: A companion to Ernest Holmes’s first book, Creative Mind. Creative Mind and Success surveys the basic laws and principles of Mental Science, and deducts from them the necessary steps to take in the acquirement of success. Starting with the premise that the right kind of thinking must, of necessity, produce success, the author offers exercises to develop right thinking.
This Thing Called Life, 1943: A timeless classic that will invigorate modern lives. This Thing Called Life explains the specific form of meditation to master outward conditions. Through this clear and simple system of thought and faith, readers learn how to empower themselves to experience life fully.
Basic Ideas of Science of Mind, 1957: A brief, straightforward, and user-friendly account of the Science of Mind philosophy and teaching, written in the last years of Ernest Holmes's life.