Courage and Your Spiritual Life

We tend to associate courage with dramatic acts of heroism in exceptional situations. But when you think about it, almost every day offers opportunities for courage as we face life’s many challenges, whether large or small.

We show courage when we stand strong in our ethical principles and are true to our spiritual goals. We show courage when we make the sacrifices required of a disciplined life of meditation. We show courage when we give of ourselves to help others or stand up to injustice or unfairness against ourselves or others. We show courage by remaining positive despite a physical, emotional, or financial adversity.

The flipside of courage is withdrawal in fear. Like courage, fear manifests every day in big ways and small ways, such as all our little worries over money, relationships, success and failure. The sad thing about fear is how much of it is based on imagination. Yet it places so much stress on us and causes so much missed opportunity. As Leo Buscaglia wrote: “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”

Psychologists tell us that part of becoming a whole person is learning to operate from an “internal focus of control,” by which they mean an inner strength born of our own values and convictions, rather than of the pressures of external forces. Finding that strong inner center is one of the great benefits of a meditative and spiritual life.

Courage and Your Spiritual Life

Saturday, April 7, 1:00-5:00 PM
Science of Spirituality Meditation Center
4S175 Naperville Road
Naperville, IL
map it

If worry and fear are more a part of your life than you would like, consider attending our upcoming half-day retreat/workshop on this subject. It’s called  Courage and Your Spiritual Life, and is part of our popular half-day retreat/workshop series. See details on the left and on the Events page.

Markus Schramm, who will lead the program, quotes the poet Maya Angelou, to explain that “courage is the most important of the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” The workshop, Markus says, will explore this concept, but in a practical way that applies it to leading deeper, richer lives.

In his book, Empowering the Soul through Meditation, Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj describes fearlessness as one of the five inherent qualities of the soul:

Fearlessness is a quality of the empowered soul. Our soul lives in a perpetual state without fear. It is the source of all power and knows no fear. But tapping our soul, we can access this state of fearlessness so that we can face our fears and problems with renewed confidence, trust, and security.

Join us for Saturday’s program, which aims to provide practical ways to tap into the fearlessness that is inherent in us as spiritual beings.

Meeting the Challenge of Meditation

In his book 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, Stephen Covey has a wonderful expression that will likely resonate with meditators and spiritual seekers everywhere: We spend our lives climbing the so-called ladder of success, only to realize—usually late in life—that our ladder has been leaning against the wrong wall.

If you find yourself in that category, as we all do sometimes, there’s no time better than NOW to move your ladder.

Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj often uses the Hindi word vivek to describes this process. “Vivek” means discrimination, and, he says, it is the capacity that distinguishes humanity from the rest of creation. Each of us is free to decide our direction in life and take the steps to journey there. It’s not always easy. But isn’t that what spirituality is all about? Making the day-to-day choices that lead to deeper, richer lives.

Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj writes:

It is just a matter of making the choice that that is what we want to do. The steps to do this are simple. Step one is to stop identifying with the body, mind, and world outside, and identify with the soul. Step two requires that when we identify with our soul, that we shift our attention to the frequency of the higher realms and ultimately to God. That is all we must do. God did not make it hard for us to become aware of our true Home. It is we who have made it complicated.

90 Days to Happiness: Daily Meditation

Saturday, March 3, 1:00-5:00 PM
Science of Spirituality Meditation Center
4S175 Naperville Road
Naperville, IL map it

Register by calling 630 955-1200

On Saturday, March 3, Sara Schiffer presents a half-day retreat/workshop that will help you un-complicate this process. It’s entitled 90 Days to Happiness: Daily Meditation. Sara is an Instructional Designer and inspired trainer, with novel and practical approaches to addressing the challenges we all face in trying to lead spiritual lives.

In the write-up of her program, Sara asks, “What if we had enough faith in ourselves to actually do—right now—the things we always long to do? There is absolutely nothing like putting meditation first in our day and our life to show us who we are, and that we are made up of strength, joy, and peace.”

If you’re keen on recommitting yourself to your spiritual practices, but struggling with HOW to do so, this will be a rewarding program for you, as you chart out a practical plan to make that goal a reality.

We look forward to seeing you next Saturday.

Coping with Life’s Changes

Those of you who come to our programs regularly know today’s guest writer. Cathy Gallagher coordinates Science of Spirituality’s Chicago area community programs, and this Saturday offers one of her own—a half-day retreat/workshop on dealing with change in our lives. Join Cathy on Saturday, December 3 from 1:00 to 5:00 PM at the Naperville Center.

by Cathy Gallagher

Growing up in a family of twelve children, my behaviors and morals revolved around being  nice, kind, and helpful.  Getting to heaven meant being a good Christian, following the rules, and doing what others expected. Those who committed sins, I was taught, would burn in hell or pay up with pain and suffering here or hereafter. I accepted these beliefs, although certain aspects of religion puzzled me.  The beliefs which were to be blindly accepted were called “mysteries.” I wanted to find principles of life that were simple and clear.

Cathy's spiritual Master, Sant Darshan Singh Ji Maharaj, is the spiritual Master of Science of Spirituality who preceded Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj.

Then suddenly my father, at age 49, was diagnosed with terminal cancer with only six months to live. This shook up my life and my belief system. At fifteen I would have no father, no family stability, only uncertainty. My inner self kept asking what’s happening. Why my father? There must be a deeper more hopeful purpose for this life? Death must have some meaning. I would leave church feeling spiritually empty and hungry for something more satisfying.

My spiritual search seemed to take on special impetus when I met a priest who talked about mysticism. I read Thomas Merton’s, Seeds of Contemplation, Teilhard de Chardin, and the Inner Castle, a biography of Saint Teresa of Avila. I yearned for a meaningful prayer life, inner peace, and I hoped for a connection with my Creator. My challenge was that everyone around me seemed to be looking at life from an outer perspective.

In graduate school a friend told me about meditation. I was curious to learn about meditation, but I wanted to stay with Catholicism and not change religions. This friend assured me that Sant Mat meditation tells you to remain in your own religion.  After reading some of Sant Kirpal Singh Ji Maharaj’s writings I was impressed with his clarity, scope, and depth of understanding. I then met Sant Darshan Singh Ji Maharaj and was inspired by his loving ways. He loved everyone—more than I had experienced before in another person. He seemed special and exuded greatness and humility.

Bouncing Back from Life’s Challenges—Coping with Change

Led by Cathy Gallagher

Saturday, December 3, 1 to 5 PM
Science of Spirituality Meditation Center
4S175 Naperville Road, Naperville
call to register: 630 955-1200
map it

I met a few members of my friend’s meditation group and they gave me a special book called Mystery of Death. I could see that each life has a purpose—to connect with the holy Light and Sound of God. I could see there was hope for everyone to return to their eternal home with the Creator. As I continued my study of Sant Mat and the Science of Spirituality, some family challenges and commitments came to the foreground for me. But I chose this Path and accepted this lifestyle of daily meditation and vegetarianism. I also accepted the spiritual Master as my guide. As Sant Kirpal Singh Ji Maharaj wrote in Mystery of Death:

The way to the spirit and power of God is always open to the sincere seekers after Truth, but success on the path depends on the divine grace mediated through some Godman.

Life brought me to this point and the changes which have shaped my life have been unbelievably rewarding. Spiritual blessings have impacted my life through the guidance I have received  as a member of this path for over thirty years. I have seen and experienced what Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj speaks of when he says:

We can see how the Masters do not try to change us through criticism. Their example naturally inspires us to change. Their radiation bathes us in the sweet shower of love, grace and the Light and Sound that naturally cleanses our soul. 

Are you seeking a deeper, inner pathway that gives you lasting fulfillment? Or, are you interested in making some changes to help you lead a more balanced life? If any of these challenges interest you, please join us on Saturday  December 3, for a half-day retreat on coping with change. The change we will focus on is that which comes from inside ourselves. As the Indian sage Swami Ram Tirath said, “Wanted: reformers, not of others, but of themselves.”

Being resilient includes a whole set of skills, and we will open the topic with how to cope with some challenges within ourselves. As a group we will look into how challenges, our internal scripts, and ways of thinking impact our lives. We will practice a technique called Jyoti Meditation as a way of coping with change and connecting with the spark of the divine that is within each of us.

Science of Spirituality November Program Highlights

Science of Spirituality’s November schedule of Chicago area programs is now posted on the Events page, and we’ve got a pretty exciting calendar.

Programs with Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj

November’s highlight is the return of  Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj this week, as he wraps up a long program India and a tour to the United Kingdom. He will give two discourses locally, both on Sundays at 2:30: November 6 in Aurora and November 13 in Rolling Meadows. (If you’re out west, you can see him in San Diego on December 3 and 4.) The Aurora program will include simultaneous Spanish translation and be followed by initiation into the Shabd Meditation.


In the Sant Mat teachings, initiation is considered the greatest gift of a spiritual Master. But initiation is really a two-sided process; it represents a formal commitment on your part to the Shabd Meditation practice and Sant Mat teachings, and a commitment by Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj to your spiritual development. That’s a transformative combination that will open an entirely new dimension of your spiritual life. For those interested in taking the next step in their spiritual growth, this is an incredible opportunity. You can learn more about initiation on this page of our web site and in this past blog post. At the Aurora event there will be people who can answer all your questions about initiation.

Retreats

Other local programs include two extended events by special guest presenters. Pat Ambrosic joins us from Arizona this Saturday to lead a practical half-day workshop on preparing yourself for better meditations. On the Events page, see Setting the Stage for Meditation.

Andrew Vidich, PhD., will lead a program on November 19, entitled The Way of the Heart—Developing Patience and Divine Love. Andrew is the author of several books, including Love is a Secret: The Mystic Quest for Divine Love and Light Upon Light, as well as an audio CD of poetry and stories of the great Sufi mystic, Maulana Rumi.

Other Events

Bette Drew is serving up a great vegetarian cooking class to help you prepare a nutritious and delicious Thanksgiving meal.  As usual it’s free and on the second Saturday—this month on November 12. Also in the holiday spirit, Roseanna Biehn will lead a program in Downers Grove entitled Embracing Gratitude.

For those of you who have not yet learned the powerful Jyoti Meditation technique, Phil Vedova offers an introductory meditation course on three consecutive Mondays starting November 7. The class also makes a great refresher. And Bob Gallagher’s workshop in Chicago will focus on overcoming blockages in meditation.

Browse the November Events page for these and other programs. We’re sure you’ll find something of interest. And please do join us in welcoming Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj back to the Chicago area. Winter may be in the air, but he always brings with him the warmth of wisdom and spiritual love. We look forward to seeing you there!

Taking Your Spiritual Life Higher

We know many of you enjoy extended programs from Science of Spirituality. These workshops are especially rewarding because you and the presenter can explore topics in more depth, and the class intervals allow you to absorb and practice what you’ve learned. On Wednesday, October 5, Bob Gallagher begins a three-part series entitled Jump Start Your Journey Home: From Ego to the Higher Self. In today’s post, Bob gives an overview of the workshop series.

by Bob Gallagher

I’ve always been playful, adventuresome and creative. As an engineer I was awarded nine US patents for technology inventions−my creativity carried into my adult years. My adventuresome hobbies include mountain biking and skiing. As for playful, I have often have said, “I am still young at heart and don’t plan on growing up.”

Imagine my surprise when I learned that statement perfectly pegs me as a “7” on the Enneagram Personality Profile – “the eternal boy.” I rebelled at being a “number,” but as I read about the Enneagram, I realized how perfectly I fit that “7 ennea-type.”

That realization impacts how I act, e.g. when I am listening to someone talking, I often thought of a story I might tell even if it was off-tangent. Because I’m aware of my personality type now I stay in the moment actively listening to what is being said.

I understand that personality acts as a filter to reality, my own set of rose colored glasses, but I don’t have to exhibit it 7/24. At a deeper level I know personality is something I use, that can act as a filter limiting freedom and blocking realizing my higher-self.

The Enneagram is not part of Science of Spirituality teachings or practice, but this tool can help us realize our dominant mode(s) of thinking and acting. Each of us exhibits many types. But our dominant type points out what tapes or scripts we learned at a very young age that are still influencing how we think and act as adults−how our egos manifest each wakening moment. Second, awareness of our personality modes helps us stay in the current moment—this is liberating rather than confining us to replaying old tapes. Third, this awareness of how we are starting to replay old tapes liberates us to new potentials for growth.

In this three week course the paradox that we will deal with is while the Enneagram helps us become conscious of how our personality operates, our purpose in becoming aware of our personality type, is so that we can let go of it. We want to see how own personality keeps us from realizing our true higher-self. This transformation can take years or it can happen with a sudden insight followed by a commitment to be the observer of self. Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj writes:

We take our own personal characters to be real. We believe our name is real. We believe our body is real. We believe our personality and our mind are real. We believe all the ups and downs in life that happen to us are real. We think the people around us are real….While our physical body, our personality, and our mind are illusion, there is a spark of essence within us that is real. That is the soul, or the part of God divided out of the great ocean of all-consciousness to play a role in this world.

In week one we will do some fun tests involving cartoons and pick one sentence that best fits us to get a first look at which ennea-type matches our personality. We will have some interaction with each other questioning and/or validating this initial typing. Then going around the room we will hear what we have just found out about ourselves. We will watch excerpts of a video Out-of-the-Box.

In week two we move beyond the Enneagram to a discussion of how the personality formed and how it acts as a filter to reality. More to the point, how and why does our personality prevent us from growing spiritually?

In week three we focus on the ego barriers to spiritual growth, and how to overcome them. Again we will watch some DVD excerpts that help make this point. Finally we will each layout a lifestyle plan for our future−what and how can we transform ourselves from ego to the higher-self.


Jump Start Your Journey Home: From Ego to the Higher Self
3 Wednesdays, 7:30-9:00pm on October 5, 12, & 19
Science of Spirituality Meditation Center
4S 175 Naperville-Wheaton Road, Naperville, Il 60563


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 591 other followers