Consciousness & World Faiths

The Spectrum of Consciousness
& World Faith Traditions

Dena Blay-Stroba OCDS

6 Month Study Program
2nd Saturdays
June Thru November, 2012

Mothers Trust Mothers Place
Lakeshore Interfaith Community
6676 122nd Ave Ganges, MI 49408
616-293-6884

Class Texts or reading, see below...

For Registration Call: (616) 566-4318 or tatmalokananda@motherstrust.org
Click here, complete and return this form.

General Class Information: June through November, 2012

Consciousness is all! Consciousness is the ground and foundation of all manifest reality.  Behind this many is One, and this One is consciousness.  Other names for this One could be Emptiness, Spirit, Satchitananda, Godhead, EinSof, etc.

Saints, sages and mystics have been revealing to us this fruit of their deep spiritual experiences.  These transmissions have laid the ground-work of the great faith traditions of the world, east and west, and when written down by the followers of these wise seers, they have become the Sacred Scriptures of the world’s great religions.  These spiritual quests have been fueled in great part by the very human longing to know:  “Who am I, where am I, how did I get here and where am I going?”

During this six-month study program we will be investigating the development of the “awareness of consciousness” in our human history and our response to these levels of awareness in our great religious traditions.
Dena Blay-Stroba, OCDS

Class Texts or reading
Ken Wilber A History of Everything
Karen Armstrong The Great Transformation
Huston Smith The World Religions

A more comprehensive reading and resource list will be offered soon, so that participants can follow up with individual study in areas that capture their interest. Meetings will be on the second Saturday of the month, 10am to 3pm, June—November. A vegetarian lunch will be provided at noon.


June

PRESENTATION...

In our first gathering in June we will look at the process and trajectory of human consciousness.  Only when we acknowledge that humans develop this awareness at different rates not only in their personal lives, but also on a collective scale through the cultural expressions and worldviews at various levels, can we begin to have a firm foundation for any dialogue on any particular subject.


July

PRESENTATION...

The deep past of belief structures: Native American, shamanistic and tribal traditions.  In the earlier stages of human development we experienced a “magical” worldview.  We now inhabit a world in which every physical manifestation had a “spirit” counterpart.  Humans developed various approaches to access and influence these spirits. Through ritual, spirit journeys, trance states sensory deprivation and other methods the spirit world was incorporated into the physical world of our ancestors. What can they tell us about our roots in ancient human historical belief and culture?


August

PRESENTATION...

In our next stage of development: the mythical we come in contact with the older World Religions - Hinduism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and Judaism? As we develop beyond magical thinking and into the next level of human self awareness, we begin to develop the myths that help us to understand not only ourselves, but the universe around us.  Our rituals expand to better accommodate our new world-view.  Other techniques and methods were developed in order to access alternate states of consciousness.  Yoga and meditation came into our human repertoire.


September

PRESENTATION...

Our next stage of development brings us to the new world-view embodying rational thinking and an empirical approach to cultural and religious issues.  We can think in terms of:  The Reformers - Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity, Mohammedanism, and Protestantism?  From the “Axial” age around 600 BCE to the present time we have brought the ability to think in rational patterns to bear on our cultural and religious development.  Alongside the Perennial Philosophy we began with the Enlightment and Modern empiricism to deconstruct many of our most cherished religious outlooks and belief structures.  Our world-view is now colored significantly by “scientific method”.  A new secularism has arisen and the need for religious affiliation has severely diminished.


October

PRESENTATION...

Future Religion – We move into the postmodern world-view.  We are connected and integrated today like never before. What shall we believe and practice in the future?  We are now at the brink of developing a transpersonal psychology and spiritual outlook.  We are discovering that which saints and sages from time immemorial have known:  “That which by knowing, all else is known.”  New levels of mysticism and transpersonal states and stages are being experienced by a widening number of people.  What does this new way of “seeing” mean for the development of our human awareness of consciousness?


November

PRESENTATION...

The final gathering in Nov. will not be for study, but for celebration as we travel to various religious houses of worship and spiritual centers for a first hand “taste” of the traditions that we have been studying.

For our basic study text we recommend:


"Quotes"from Text Authors...

"Is this not obvious? Aren't you already aware of existing? Don't you already feel the simple Feeling of Being? Don't you already possess this immediate gateway to ultimate Spirit, which is nothing other than the simple Feeling of Being? You have this simple Feeling of Being now, don't you? And you have it now, don't you? And now, yes?... You feel the simple Feeling of Being? Who is not already Enlightened?"
Ken Wilber, One Taste , p. 302

Reality is composed neither of things nor processes, neither wholes nor parts, but whole/parts, or holons. (Ken Wilber: A Brief History of Everything, 2000).

“And sometimes it's the very otherness of a stranger, someone who doesn't belong to our ethnic or ideological or religious group, an otherness that can repel us initially, but which can jerk us out of our habitual selfishness, and give us intonations of that sacred otherness, which is God.”
Karen Armstrong

“Religion is not about accepting twenty impossible propositions before breakfast, but about doing things that change you. It is a moral aesthetic, an ethical alchemy. If you behave in a certain way, you will be transformed. The myths and laws of religion are not true because they they conform to some metaphysical, scientific or historical reality but because they are life enhancing. They tell you how human nature functions, but you will not discover their truth unless you apply these myths and doctrines to your own life and put them into practice.”
― Karen Armstrong, The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness

"A religion made up solely of heightened religious experiences would not be a religion at all. ...The major religious traditions address the mysteries (with or without entheogens), but they have other business to do: widen understanding, give meaning, provide solace, promote loving-kindness, and connect human being to human being." Huston Smith

"We are born in mystery, we live in mystery, and we die in mystery." Huston Smith


Class Texts or reading

Ken Wilber
A History of Everything

Karen Armstrong
The Great Transformation

Huston Smith
The World Religions

A more comprehensive reading and resource list will be offered soon, so that participants can follow up with individual study in areas that capture their interest.

Meetings will be on the second Saturday of the month, 10am to 3pm, June—November. A vegetarian lunch will be provided at noon.