Monday, May 26, 2008

Spiritual study

A spiritual education is usually acquired through life experiences, personal challenges, travel, and / or great teachers. For those who want a more structured and disciplined course of study, there is the University of Santa Monica, which has a two year Master's program in Spiritual Psychology. This university embodies the principals of a soul-centered education. It is school the way you always wished it would be, like having to read books that you actually WANT to read, and papers that you look forward to writing. But the best part is going to class and being happy and excited about attending. It requires a commitment of one week-end a month (Friday nights are included in the week-end) and a week-long practicum at the end of each year. Having hundreds of people encouraging you and supporting you in attaining your goals as you do the same for them, spreads a sense of community that goes far beyond the school. Some spiritual teachers and writers, like Iyanla Van Zant (and moi), have graduated from this program, so there is something here for those who have traveled a way along the spiritual path already, as well as for those just beginning their journey.

If a two year course is too much of a commitment, then try a week-end course at Insight Seminars. Their course "The Awakening Heart" was the most profound education I have ever had in a seminar. Whereas the University of Santa Monica program is more focused on your communication and relationship to others, Insight (as the name suggests) is focused on your relationship with yourself. As corny as it seems, I really did gain insight into how I behave and think. It was also fun, and not many things that teach such profound lessons come packaged with so much fun. They also offer courses for teens and businesses, so you can share what you learn with your children and co-workers.

You may attend both programs concurrently, or just one. It's like choosing a cardio workout and/or a strength training workout; either one is good exercise, or you can alternate between both. These programs are not centered around or opposed to any religion, so people of all religions attend. Just as you may take vitamins with your antibiotics, you can have your religion and still grow spiritually.

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