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.
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.
Everyone talks to themselves all of the time. We talk to ourselves with silent words, sometimes we verbalize them, sometimes the things we say to ourselves have been said so many times that they have become a feeling, or a mental image like a memory that keeps reoccurring. The longer we think a thought, the more likely it is to have become automatic and the truer it seems. It seems, too, that people tend to speak to themselves in predominantly negative ways; that is, until they wake up to what is going on and retrain themselves to speak more kindly. This class is designed to help you become aware of your affirmations in thought, words, action, and feelings.
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.
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.
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.
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 awakening means and how the teaching from the Center offers specific consciousness-raising methods that anyone can practice.
Textbook: Zen Mind, Beginners Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
Join our ministers as they share some inspiration from their favorite mystics. From the 13th century to the 20th century, these men and women shared a common direct experience of the One. Each one recognized the human world even as they saw through to their deeper Reality, providing everyday access to their and OUR own divine nature. Get a unique glimpse into the beauty, poetry and spiritual practices of Julian of Norwich, Catherine of Genoa, Meister Eckhart and Teilhard de Chardin. Revs. Ruth Barnhart, Joyce Duffala, Tara Steele and Kim Kaiser will also present their spiritual practices and invite you to explore the practices for your own spiritual journey.
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.
Textbook: The Prosperous Life Journal, Second Edition by Chris Michaels and Edward Viljoen
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.
People wish to be settled, wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson, “but only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.” Is there a spiritual response to the world of continual change that we live in that will allow us to embrace change without fear, without being unsettled? This class explores our world of continual change from a Science of Mind perspective. “We should never be afraid of change, never fearful of what will come. Instead, we should bring to bear on each new event the influence of the creative nature of our thought—an influence that is founded on an inward calm, a sense of certainty and peace, which will reflect in the changing scene of our everyday lives.
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.
Learn the Hawaiian Forgiveness technique Ho’o pono pono that is practiced around the world. Forgiveness creates new freedom, peace, and happiness to reveal a richer, deeper awareness of the Divine already present in you.
This five-week book study is an opportunity to experience the gift of seeing ourselves and others more clearly. This circle is not about fixing, saving, advising, or setting each other straight. We will learn to speak our own truth; listen receptively to the truth of others; ask honest, open questions of each other; and offer the healing and empowering gifts of silence and laughter. Based on Parker J Palmer’s book, A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life.
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.
Hindus see the origin of their faith as being in the cosmic mind itself. And as such it allows for inclusion, evolution, and evolution. 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 the 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 supreme truth, an Eternal reality of Being in all, and at the same time, many paths to realize it.
Most of what we believe has been given to us and not chosen by us. We are products of our culture, families, education, and much more. We experience our world and everyone in it in the light of beliefs that were unconsciously accepted without examination or evaluation. Some beliefs serve us very well, and many do not. This course uses science, psychology, and metaphysics to teach us how to identify, modify and release hidden beliefs that no longer serve us. We will explore some specific, practical methods for “What To Do When You Find Them.”
Recommended reading: Make Your Brain Smarter by Sandra Chapman
Rev. Tara Steele invites us into contemplation of what, if anything, Jesus represents in our life. What does Thomas Troward mean by pointing to Jesus as the Divine Ideal? What is the meaning of the death of Jesus? There will be readings from Troward, Ernest Holmes, and possibly others as well as much lively discussion.
This course invites you to an exploration of Jesus—in history, in religion, and in consciousness. We examine what we know about the first-century rabbi, his transmogrification from Jew to an emerging Christian philosopher, and the relevance of his consciousness and teachings today. Most important to the class is your willingness to explore your feelings, thoughts, and experience around Jesus. There will be readings, writings, conversation, and more, focused on learning about Jesus and his role, if any, in our own spiritual journeys. You will leave this class with more information on who Jesus was, how you relate to his teachings and a deeper understanding of what we believe about the “Christ Consciousness” in New Thought.
There has been much debate in Science of Mind (Religious Science) about whether we are a Christian denomination. Whether or not the term “denomination” is accurate, the founder of Religious Science, Ernest Holmes, was inspired by the teachings of Jesus as a mainstay of his philosophy. Arguably, many “non-Christians” (as well as devotees) continue to study and embrace Jesus in daily spiritual practice. Many Religious Scientists learned about Jesus by reading Ernest Holmes. This course welcomes you, wherever you are on the spectrum.
No required textbooks; however, participants will receive an annotated bibliography as well as selected readings distributed during class.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
One of the purposes of this class is to look at the Serenity Prayer through new eyes, taking it to an even deeper level. As we think about the meaning of each word – and participate in that meaning – we begin to take responsibility for our lives in a way we may not have done before. We find the courage to change because we realize we are not alone; the greatest Love of all is always with us. Even on days when we have said and done things we regret, the Beloved thinks we are nothing short of magnificent! Little by little, one step at a time, we come to understand that we are truly loveable; we are God’s gift.
This class seeks to deepen our relationship with the God of our understanding until we have a personal relationship with him/her/it that makes our God real to us. It is the experience of God that changes our life. Living the Serenity Prayer can bring us to that experience.
Recommended reading: “25 Words- How the Serenity Prayer Can Save Your Life” – by Barb Rogers
“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. Guided 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.
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 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.
Mary, mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene, one of his followers, expressed the Divine Feminine in different ways. Some might put them at opposite ends of a spectrum. In this three-week course we will explore their lives as examples and archetypes. Open to everyone intrigued by the Marys as well as by the Divine Feminine and Its expression within. Reading from scripture, fiction, and academe will enrich the conversation.
Our teaching, The Science of Mind, was put together in a time of great cultural creativity, an era of chaos and change as new ways of knowing and living life were happening. From the Transcendentalists in Concord to the Spiritualists holding seances in the White House, it was a time of experimentation and openness to ways of knowing the Divine. This course is about that time of cultural and personal ferment, similar to the times we are living in now, and the people who found in it new and practical ways to live the spiritual truths which transformed their lives.
Establishing a meditation practice can be daunting when going it alone. When practiced as a group, meditation can be a powerful experience that leads to new insights and discoveries. Each week we will experience meditation together with time to mindfully listen and share with other spiritual seekers. Meditation offers a way to gain more emotional and mental control of daily life. This class provides a safe refuge for self-care in this busy world.
Textbook: The Power of Meditation, by Edward Viljoen
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.
Recommended Reading: How To Be An Adult In Relationships – The Five Keys to Mindful Loving, by David Richo.
The poetry of Rumi, Hafez, and others greatly inspire and liberate the reader. There are great spiritual teachings in these works and there is also great love to be known and felt through hearing them. In this four-part course, we will meet the poets personally and receive the mystical teachings they have prepared for each one of us.
Love Poems from God, translated by Daniel Ladinsky
The Essential Rumi, translations by Coleman Barks
An old Native American story concerns a person who wants to become a shaman, a healer, for the tribe. They would approach an experienced shaman and ask to be trained. The shaman would not say yes or no but first gave the applicant a test: “Show me ten beautiful and amazing things first and then I will train you in healing.” If the applicant made the effort to take one step away to look for these ten amazing things, they would immediately fail the test. This course is about finding the miraculous and mystical right where you are, effortlessly. We will study the many effortless practices given by spiritual traditions to make us aware of where we are always, in the presence of Spirit.
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.
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 understanding 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 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?
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.
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.
Tao (pronounced “dao”) means literally “the path” or “the way.” It is a universal principle that underlies everything from the creation of galaxies to the interaction of human beings. Chinese artists, poets, painters, calligraphers, and gardeners have turned to the Tao as a source of inspiration. In this course we will investigate the ideas and practices of our own spiritual culture and those of the Tao.
“You, like all others, are seeking the joy of living. You wish to be needed, to be loved, to be included in the great drama of life.” So begins Ernest Holmes’ short, easy-to-read book, This Thing Called You. Let’s explore who we really are using this book as a guide. We’ll look at our core beliefs, intuitive living, and explore who we really are: divine beings capable of co-creating with the Infinite to live more freely and more fearlessly.
How can we reveal our immortal life while understanding the certainty of human death? Insights from the Bhagavad Gita, Buddhism, Sufi masters, and the great mystical saints illuminate this journey of the human soul. In this three-week class we will explore an eight-step plan to realize our immortality here and now.
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 Vajra Guru Mantra is associated with Padmasambhava, or Guru Rinpoche, the revered spiritual master of the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan. In an ancient text, known as the syllable by syllable commentary, Guru Rinpoche explains the chant’s many layers of meaning in a conversation with his spiritual companion, Yeshe Tsogyal.
For our class, we are focusing on only one of the explanations from the syllable by syllable commentary which explains how each word of the chant removes the blocks of desire, aversion, anger, pride, attachment, and envy.
In class study: each week, the class will meet for one hour to discuss concepts from our Science of Mind teaching related to removing blocks in consciousness.
*Home study: each week will be to view a video by Dr. Edward discussing concepts from our Science of Mind teaching related to removing blocks in consciousness (30 – 60 minutes weekly). At home practice will include reciting the mantra 108 times (30 min daily). A recording by Dr. Edward reciting the chant will be made available to guide students.
*Students must be able to commit to a daily 30-minute practice of chanting. Students are encouraged to keep a journal of thoughts and feelings that arise and share them in the weekly class discussion.
William James is possibly America’s most important thinker of the nineteenth century. He is known as the father of psychology in the United States, one of the founders of the pragmatic school of philosophy, and the thinker who initiated the academic study of religious experience. In addition, he was an influential supporter of New Thought teachings who stopped the New York state legislature from banning the public teaching of our movement. This course focuses on James’ classic essay, “The Stream of Consciousness” and his book “The Varieties of Religious Experience”. It also explores subsequent developments that have emerged in the wake of James’ pioneering work – including applications in social activism, hypnosis, psychotherapy, psychic healing, and consciousness research.
This is a shorter and less intense version of a required class that all ministerial students take at Holmes Institute, School of Consciousness Studies.
Textbook: The Varietes of Religious Experience, by William James
The mystics of these major spiritual traditions have taught the same thing, that anyone can have a direct experience of the Ultimate Reality, whether it is called God, Allah, Buddha, or Brahma. This class will trace the paths they recommended to all who would listen. Students will learn how each religious tradition had its own path to directly experiencing the Ultimate Reality. Through experiential practices in class and individual practice between classes, students will taste the unique flavor of each spiritual tradition. And by the end, each student will have a greater understanding of how different pathways can lead to the Ultimate but also have a new sense of their own pathway to the One.
Have you wondered why some prayers move you deeply and seem to reach into your very essence? In this course we will explore writing affirmative prayers as a way to access and nourish our connection to Spirit. We will discover how to access our own inner wisdom and the words that open our heart and mind to our own personal and unique expression of spiritual truth. We will practice writing prayers for ourselves and others and engage in nourishing feedback. Discover, re-discover and deepen the power of affirmative prayer as a tool in your spiritual practice.
Recommended reading “5 Steps to Freedom, an Introduction to Spiritual Mind Treatment” by John Waterhouse
A three-week course 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). Starting with the premise that the right kind of thinking must, of necessity, produce success, Holmes offers exercises to develop right thinking. The book surveys the basic laws and principles of Mental Science, and deducts from them the necessary steps to take in the acquirement of success.
This Thing Called Life (1943). A timeless classic, This Thing Called Life is now titled The Art of Life. It 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.