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The Seven Pillars: Journey Toward Wisdom

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Seven Pillars

Tag: mysticism

Does the Universe have an Inner Life?

According to Sir Arthur Eddington, a prominent astronomer who confirmed Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, 1927 was the year when it became possible to reconcile science and religion. It was the year of the Solvay Conference in Belgium where leading scientists met to discuss the newly emerging field of quantum mechanics. In marking that year as a milestone, Eddington was referring to the replacement of the strict determinism of classical physics by the indeterminacy implied by the uncertainty principle inherent in quantum physics.

Spiritual Principles in Action

I grew up in an England still dreary in the post-war years. Rationing only ended the year I was born. In my childhood there was religion but no spirituality. I went to church every Sunday, sang hymns and recited prayers. But nowhere was there the suggestion of spiritual states of consciousness. Spiritual bookstores did not exist. Christian mystical writings were present but just as historical texts rather than experiences to be lived. It was a grey world aspiring to middle-class materialism—a TV, a washing machine, even a car! Then in the mid- to late-sixties, another color entered the spectrum.

Sacred Ecstasy

I could hear the seagulls’ calls and smell the salty air of the Sea of Marmara from the small café by the grand Blue Mosque of Istanbul. An old man pushed a cart loaded with freshly baked round bread covered with sesame seeds. I felt at home. It was a beautiful warm day in early June 2011, and I was getting ready to start a Peace Mission tour of Turkey.

My Sacred Garden

I am sitting here waiting for the words for this blog to appear. A quote from Neruda is the first sign of what is to come as it brings to my awareness the ones who watch over me. No longer are they unknown to me, for I have been learning how to allow them to guide me on this journey through life. These knowers of Truth—the prophets, prophetesses, saints, and mystics of all traditions, whose words appear in the scriptures and texts that make up our sacred heritage—have become the gardeners of my soul.

Heaven Is Not a Zip Code

What if we have gotten Heaven all wrong? Many Christians, Muslims, and some Buddhists imagine a heavenly place as an eternal reward for the faithful. While this ‘place’ is often described as a garden of serenity and tranquility, we often see many faithful arguing about who can and cannot have access to this place in ways that are in no way serene and tranquil. Not only do we argue about the place, we also argue about who can get in, and who is locked out. What if we have it all wrong?

Listening to the Hidden Heart of Seeds

Initiated by physicist and environmental leader Vandana Shiva, and compiled and edited by The Global Peace Initiative of Women, Sacred Seed offers contemplative essays from 34 spiritual leaders and practitioners on the sanctity of the seed. “Every seed carries a secret. We will never come to fully know this secret, because it belongs to the mystery of creation. Yet we can learn again what hundreds of generations did before us, namely to live with the secrets, to use them as gifts, and to honour them as a source of life on this planet.”

One Path, Many Paths

Seven Pillars’ founder and board member, Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, recently sent a letter to Adam Bucko and Zachary Markwith, two individuals with “a deep sense of the sacred, but…quite different approaches to religion and tradition,” inviting them to participate in a dialogue about the relationship between religion and spirituality. Pir Zia was inspired to send the invitation after reading the recently published manifesto, “New Monasticism,” written by Rory McEntee and Adam Bucko. Both Adam and Zachary embraced the opportunity to discuss this question and the first installment of their correspondence is published herein.

Following the Old Indian Path

Several months ago, on an exquisite early autumn morning, I dropped my children at the school bus before beginning my first commute to the Seven Pillars House of Wisdom’s office in New Lebanon, NY, where I had recently accepted a staff position. As they crossed the parking lot, I watched closely to make sure they were being wary of the other cars, and that those drivers were wary of them. Trailing his twin siblings, my youngest turned back, waved and smiled before he disappeared up the bus’s first step.

Poetic Offerings

“The Dragonfly and the Hummingbird,” “Mystcism and Science” and “The Dark Winter Afternoons in Portland”

Announcing New Leadership Team

It is with great pleasure that we announce two new developments at Seven Pillars—developments that will help build a stronger organization to galvanize momentum for the unfolding of a living wisdom in our time.

A Planetary Consciousness

In this excerpt from his book, Apprenticed to Spirit: The Education of a Soul, David Spangler, a Fellow since Lindisfarne’s inception, writes of his initial meeting and soul connection with William Irwin Thompson, founder of the Lindisfarne Association, and the early years of the Fellowship. 

The Lindisfarne Association

Several years ago we made a new friend. Pir Zia Inayat-Khan had been reading the writings of William Irwin Thompson, the oracular cultural historian, and invited him to visit. This was in 2007, at the very beginning of Seven Pillars’ life, and it quickly became evident that our work descends from a long lineage of individuals and groups dedicated to the realization of a new planetary culture.

Remembering Lynn Margulis

Lynn Margulis, my mother, had a stroke on November 17, 2011 and died five days later in her own bed. The following text is slightly modified from a reading, written for my nieces and nephews, given before scattering her ashes in a private family ceremony at Puffers Pond in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Seven Pillars Open House, a Beautiful and Fun Evening!

On Friday June 15th, nearly fifty people joined us for Seven Pillars’  first official Open House at our headquarters in New Lebanon, New York.  The purpose of the Open House was to orient an ever-growing, extremely supportive local community to Seven Pillars’ physical location, as well as to provide a more concrete outline of our plans for the remainder of this year, and into 2013. Of course, we were also excited to have time to just be together with so many wonderful friends and fellow wisdom seekers!

A Hidden Treasure

Imagine yourself floating in space with outspread limbs. Thus suspended in midair your recumbent form gives itself over to a delicious languor,  and one by one your senses close down. The eyes cease to see and the ears cease to hear. Smell and taste go dormant. Afterimages linger for a time, but in the absence of new stimuli the eidola that haunt the halls of memory slowly fade into oblivion. The void that surrounds you now pervades you. You are dead to the world—and yet you live.

The Practice of Presence, Part Two

The mystery of the human experience is inseparable from our capacity to recognize the multiple fields of awareness that infuse our day-to-day consciousness. This flow of consciousness is the experiential ground of Being and Spirit, and as such this flow is the participatory medium through which our capacity to be “a light unto the world” is actualized.

The Practice of Presence, Part One

The practice of presence is no easy task and, spiritually, it is perhaps the most elusive of all practices. Imagine for a moment being fully present to yourself and to your situation. That is, imagine being fully aware of all that passes through and within you and also simultaneously aware of all that impacts you from the surrounding environment—people,  places, atmosphere, sensory sensations, integrated with inner thoughts,  feelings, memories, and bodily reactions.

Dispelling Ignorance and Developing Harmony

What ignorance are we addressing here? I am considering ignorance here from the point of view of a westerner. We live in the global village, we share the same roof, we are interdependent and co-responsible for care of the Earth. And yet, we still think of ourselves, and our religion, as separate, distinct, and unique.

Reflections on the Life of a Mystic

When I first met my teacher, Irina Tweedie, I sat in her small room, looked into her blue eyes and I knew that she knew.  From that moment, without knowing why, more than anything, I wanted what she had. Much later I understood this as the knowledge that can only come from direct inner experience, which for the Sufi is imaged as Khidr. Khidr is the most important Sufi figure, the archetype of direct revelation.

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