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Seven Pillars House of Wisdom > Calendar > BIG NEWS! Wisdom Weekends to Launch in July!

BIG NEWS! Wisdom Weekends to Launch in July!

Lee Irwin & Rabia Povich Lead an Exploration of Our Sacred Heritage & The Great Mystery

July 18-20, 2014

New Lebanon, New York

We are delighted to announce an immersive, two-day program (beginning Friday evening and ending early Sunday afternoon) exploring Pillar Three, Our Sacred Heritage – contemplating the rich record of the human encounter with the divine – and Pillar Four, The Great Mystery – awakening to the numinous nature of reality.

Facilitators: Rabia Deborah Povich and Lee Irwin

D  E  T  A  I  L  S

Our Sacred Heritage: Honoring the legacy of the prophets and sages of the world’s great religious and indigenous traditions, and others who embody illuminated aspects of human character, we can glimpse our own potential as bearers of the sacred. To better understand this inner potential, we will explore various aspects of the “sacred human” within spiritual traditions and select areas of humanistic studies, and as a shared avenue to personal development.

We will investigate the creative tensions between tradition and post-traditional perspectives, honoring both. We will explore participants’ own relationship to Our Sacred Heritage and seek to discover how those traditions might inform a heart-centered approach to spiritual illumination and challenge the normative aspects of our lives and our cultures. Our goal is to support a creative relationship with traditions and sacred texts while fostering individual practices suitable to the needs and aspirations of each participant. How do we relate to different traditions? What wisdom can we gain from the lives and actions of spiritual messengers?

The Great Mystery: Here we enter the numinous whole of reality. The heart is unveiled, awe arises, and we discover that everything is interconnected within a sublime and all-pervasive unity. How do we encounter and integrate this Mystery into our daily lives? We will explore the various ways of sacred encounter and the importance of silence, visions, dreams, and intuitions. What is the role of imagination in this process? In heart-centered dialogue we will explore how experiential encounters are shaped and informed by faith and belief.

Throughout the weekend, participants will be guided to open to and experience the vastness and potential of all that is, through encounter with the Great Mystery, which goes beyond words and ideas. Participants will be invited to share personal experiences and struggles in the process of developing their spiritual practices. Knowing that each person has a path whose contents are vital and unique, we will encourage an exploration of those contents, while intentionally honoring the integrity and sensitivity of each individual. How can we cultivate a greater sense of participation in the Great Mystery?

Practice: We will use The Seven Pillars Pathways of Heart-Centered Conversation, Sensing Presence, and Creative Expression to explore the wisdom of these topics. Click here to learn more about the Pathways.

Registration: Registration for this weekend program will open soon. To be added to the list for exclusive program updates, sign up for our newsletter using the "Join Our Email List" box at the top of your screen or email us at wisdom[at]sevenpillarshouse[dot]org.


B  I  O  G  R  A  P  H  I  E  S

Rabia Deborah Povich: Although neither scholar nor clergy, my life has been a quest for inner knowledge and understanding. My path to the Great Mystery has led me to explore the lives of sages, saints and prophets. They intrigue me. How did they negotiate the challenges of their time while developing and maintaining a deep connection with the Source? Through prayer and meditation, my encounters with awakened beings have provided support and guidance. Practices from sacred traditions help me connect to a chain of wise teachers. They serve as doorways to the source of inspiration and guidance.

Since 1975 I have been a student of universal Sufism as taught by Hazrat Inayat Khan, connecting me to a spiritual lineage. I studied first with Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan and now Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, both links in a sacred chain. The depth and authenticity of their teachings have illuminated a path of meaning and purpose for me. In my journey on this path, I have found the retreat process to be especially transformative. As a retreat guide I, along with my husband, host a small retreat center in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia where we support the inner explorations of friends of any faith or tradition.

In 1976 I met Reb Zalman Schacter-Shalomi who helped pave a path for me to Judaism through his Renewal teachings. His updating and translation of traditional prayers and practices, inclusiveness of women, and appreciation for ecumenism made Judaism’s practices and prophets accessible. He opened the door to meaningful rituals that celebrate human, historical and seasonal events.

Both of these sources of wisdom have impelled me to act from my heart, and increase my understanding of what is required to pursue justice and relieve suffering. In this effort I have had the privilege of working in leadership roles at organizations that advocate for ethics in government, campaign finance reform, human rights, affordable housing, and currently, to increase opportunities for low-income working families through education, skills development and work supports. In addition, I have been blessed to serve on various boards including the Sufi Order and, currently, Seven Pillars.

Lee Irwin: As a faculty member in the Religious Studies Department at the College of Charleston, I teach world religions with an emphasis on Native American traditions, western esotericism, hermeticism, contemporary spirituality, mystical cosmology, and transpersonal religious experience as related to dreams and visions. I have been studying and reflecting upon world religious traditions and sacred heritages for over thirty years and I have studied and taught every major religious tradition.

My primary interest in sacred heritage is in interspirituality and the interaction between traditions in the context of global ecumenicism; adopting a heart-centered approach to traditions, I encourage exploration, comparison, and shared insights as part of the process of developing a personal orientation to and with sacred traditions. My own orientation is a form of Hermetic spirituality, a process of gradual soul development that engages dreams, mystical states, and paranormal perception as intrinsic to the unfolding of the sacred human.

The heart of my practice engages the Great Mystery as an profound source of inspiration, challenge, and illumination. Through the study of dreams, visions, and mystical encounters, we can construct a visionary world that best expresses our deepest concerns for well-being and world harmony. The variation and diversity of these worlds reveal how multiple spiritual traditions support the emergence of the "sacred human" through many different paths and distinct ideals.

My teaching and research have emphasized the importance of individual encounter and participation in Mystery as the greatest resource of understanding the sacred human. Through heart-centered dialogue and personal sharing of stories we can explore the unitary ground of our experiences in the context of developing greater insight into the importance of tradition as resources for developing a personal pathway. I have explored these ideas more fully in my published works, particularly in: The Dream Seekers; Visionary Worlds; Awakening to Spirit; and The Alchemy of Soul. For more information on Lee's published works, click here.

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