Posted by: theodorecosmosophia | November 27, 2012

New Seminary Electives Spring Semester

I will be offering the following courses through The New Seminary. These are all open to the public and can be accessed through teleconference. See below for registration information.

Interfaith Mysticism, Sunday, Jan 20 & Sunday, Jan 27 from 8:00 to 10:00 eastern.

Mysticism is among the most misunderstood and misused terms in religious studies. Often, it is conflated with the mere “mysterious” or the occult. In this class, we will explore the roots of mysticism as well as how it is expressed in the world’s great Wisdom Traditions. In doing so, we will attempt to understand the essence of these faiths. In this way, we will move toward an authentic interfaith, one that recognizes the paradox of the diversity of the world’s faiths as well as their essential unity. Finally, we will work toward mysticism as a way of moving toward a different way of relating to our world, one that seeks not to depart from the world or reject it but to create a more just, sustainable, and compassionate culture.

For an excerpt from Cosmosophia on Mysticism, go here.

Sacred Energies

[Taught with Sonya Jones]

Sunday, Feb 16 & Sunday, Feb 23, from 8:00 to 10:00 eastern

The “Sacred Energies” elective plans to explore the great universal energy as she is known by various names in the world’s religions, including Maha Kundalini Shakti in the Indian religions, Tummo/Windhorse in Buddhism, and the Holy Spirit in Christianity. Time will be allowed for Q&A as well as for sharing of experiences of the sacred energy.  Recommended texts (although not required):  The Sacred Power by Sw. Kripananda and Jesus Was a Shaktipat Guru by Dr. Sonya Jones (condensed version to be posted soon at www.jonesfoundation.net)

The Trickster

Monday, April 1, from 8:00 to 10:00 eastern.

Text: Trickster Makes This World by Lewis Hyde

Instead of a second class, a short paper must be submitted after the class for TNS students to receive credit.

Science, Cosmology, and Spirituality

Sunday, April 21 & Sunday, April 28, from 8:00 to 10:00 eastern

Throughout the Modern period, science and religion have been made to appear increasingly dichotomous.  Recently, however, scientific insights have revealed an understanding of the Universe that is far less rigid than the Newtonian. We will explore the ways in which the insights of evolution, Big Bang cosmology, and quantum physics intersect with various spiritual philosophies. In the second portion of the class we will explore some traditional cosmologies and how science can inform the emergence of a New Cosmology, one that might lead to a more just, sustainable, and compassionate civilization.

3 ways to register for electives:

1. Please send a check or money order ($50) ASAP for electives.  
Include your name and email address along with the names of the electives you wish to take.
Checks should be sent to :
The New Seminary
1350 Avenue of the Americas, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10019

2. Call RM Peluso @ 212-724-4880
Tuesday or Wednesday evening to process credit card payment. (Visa, Mastercharge, Discover, but not Amex.)

3. Less secure but... you can send your Credit Card info in two emails
1. Name on card
& expiration date
& type of card
2. card account number
& security code
& electives names

(use an email address that does not include your full name.)

Email to: revrmpeluso@gmail.com
Posted by: theodorecosmosophia | November 19, 2012

Buy Nothing (or buy a book from a small press)

Soon the insanity will begin. Mothers will fight each other over the latest baby doll; fathers will come to blows over a television set; old ladies will be crushed in stampedes to get the latest video games. This is how late capitalism celebrates the birth of a child in a manger, a symbol of simplicity and the rejection of the valuing of money over life, of spending over living. If only we could buy the right gift, the logic goes, we could make up for all the things we didn’t do over the past year.

Of course, the shopping addiction, like all addictions, doesn’t get to the heart of the matter.  A momentary high, followed by a crash and a return to the stark reality. Even more guilt and, in time, more shopping. It is no small irony that the high priests (otherwise known as “economists”) of an economic system based upon convincing people to buy things they do not need with money they do have now lecture us on “fiscal responsibility” and the utter evil of debt. Here are some alternatives:

If buying one of my books leads you to feel you are participating in the insanity, please don’t. I strongly encourage everyone to participate in “buy nothing day” on so-called “black friday.” But I acknowledge that many of us will feel compelled to buy something during the holidays. And there is nothing inherently wrong with buying a gift. But if you do buy gifts, consider two things: (1) buy from a small business, one that will most benefit those doing the work and will not contribute to the corporatocracy; (2) buy art, something that will not plug us in and tune us out, but will help us to come alive, deepen our inner lives and fortify communities.

My own publishers, Hiraeth Press and Homebound Publications, were created for the explicit purpose of transforming our way of thinking about the world through literature. In supporting them, you not only spend your money at a business that won’t be buying off politicians, you will also be learning and sharing ideas that use “creativity to transform consciousness, both individually and socially.” They were committed to revolution through poetry long before the Wall Street protests. This is where the role of the writer comes in: while the philosophy is brought forth through collective action, it is synthesized through the philosopher, the poet, the writer. Indeed, protest movements cannot and will not survive without poets. For the new paradigm they seek can only be expressed through the poetic voice.

The above titles, including The Crucifixion, are available through Homebound Press’s holiday gift set. You can still buy The Crucifixion here. It is available on Amazon and elsewhere, of course, but buying directly from a small publishing house benefits both the small business and the author most.

Finally, the above titles are available as a non-fiction gift set from Hiraeth Press, including Cosmosophia.

Posted by: theodorecosmosophia | September 20, 2012

The New Seminary Elective Series (Complete List)

I am adding several courses that I will be offering through The New Seminary. These are all open to the public and can be accessed through teleconference. See below for registration information.

Ecology and Spirituality: Facing Ecological Crisis from an Interfaith Perspective

Sunday, September 30 and Sunday, October 7, from 8:00 to 10:00 eastern

In the face of rapidly increasing pollution, global warming, and the greatest mass extinction in 65 million years, it is clear that technological solutions alone will not solve the problem of the ecological crisis. A change in our relationship to the Earth is needed, something that requires a spiritual shift. What do the great wisdom traditions say about our interconnectedness and our relationship to the earth? What can we learn from these traditions that can restore a greater sense of connection to nature?

Mythopoesis: Spiritual Poetry and Literature: A Writing Workshop

 Sunday, October 28 & Sunday, November 4 from 8:00 to 10:00 Eastern

This workshop will be an opportunity to explore some of the great spiritual poetry and to share poetry with others.

Interfaith Mysticism

Sunday, Jan 20 & Sunday, Jan 27 from 8:00 to 10:00 eastern.

Mysticism is among the most misunderstood and misused terms in religious studies. Often, it is conflated with the mere “mysterious” or the occult. In this class, we will explore the roots of mysticism as well as how it is expressed in the world’s great Wisdom Traditions. In doing so, we will attempt to understand the essence of these faiths. In this way, we will move toward an authentic interfaith, one that recognizes the paradox of the diversity of the world’s faiths as well as their essential unity. Finally, we will work toward mysticism as a way of moving toward a different way of relating to our world, one that seeks not to depart from the world or reject it but to create a more just, sustainable, and compassionate culture.

For an excerpt from Cosmosophia on Mysticism, go here.

Sacred Energies

[Taught with Sonya Jones]

Sunday, Feb 16 & Sunday, Feb 23, from 8:00 to 10:00 eastern

The “Sacred Energies” elective plans to explore the great universal energy as she is known by various names in the world’s religions, including Maha Kundalini Shakti in the Indian religions, Tummo/Windhorse in Buddhism, and the Holy Spirit in Christianity. Time will be allowed for Q&A as well as for sharing of experiences of the sacred energy.  Recommended texts (although not required):  The Sacred Power by Sw. Kripananda and Jesus Was a Shaktipat Guru by Dr. Sonya Jones (condensed version to be posted soon at www.jonesfoundation.net)

The Trickster

Monday, April 1, from 8:00 to 10:00 eastern.

Text: Trickster Makes This World by Lewis Hyde

Instead of a second class, a short paper must be submitted after the class for TNS students to receive credit.

Science, Cosmology, and Spirituality

Sunday, April 21 & Sunday, April 28, from 8:00 to 10:00 eastern

Throughout the Modern period, science and religion have been made to appear increasingly dichotomous.  Recently, however, scientific insights have revealed an understanding of the Universe that is far less rigid than the Newtonian. We will explore the ways in which the insights of evolution, Big Bang cosmology, and quantum physics intersect with various spiritual philosophies. In the second portion of the class we will explore some traditional cosmologies and how science can inform the emergence of a New Cosmology, one that might lead to a more just, sustainable, and compassionate civilization.

3 ways to register for electives:

1. Please send a check or money order ($50) ASAP for electives.  
Include your name and email address along with the names of the electives you wish to take.
Checks should be sent to :
The New Seminary
1350 Avenue of the Americas, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10019

2. Call RM Peluso @ 212-724-4880
Tuesday or Wednesday evening to process credit card payment. (Visa, Mastercharge, Discover, but not Amex.)

3. Less secure but... you can send your Credit Card info in two emails
1. Name on card
& expiration date
& type of card
2. card account number
& security code
& electives names

(use an email address that does not include your full name.)

Email to: revrmpeluso@gmail.com
Posted by: theodorecosmosophia | September 14, 2012

The New Seminary Elective Series

The New Seminary Elective Series: The following classes are open to the public as part of The New Seminary. Each class is available through teleconference and can be accessed from anywhere with a phone. Each class costs $50. To register, contact me or The New Seminary registrar, RM Peluso (rmnjpeluso@aol.com).

Sunday, September 30, 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm eastern & Sunday, October 7, 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm eastern.

Ecology and Spirituality: Facing Ecological Crisis from an Interfaith Perspective

In the face of rapidly increasing pollution, global warming, and the greatest mass extinction in 65 million years, it is clear that technological solutions alone will not solve the problem of the ecological crisis. A change in our relationship to the Earth is needed, something that requires a spiritual shift. What do the great wisdom traditions say about our interconnectedness and our relationship to the earth? What can we learn from these traditions that can restore a greater sense of connection to nature?

Sunday, October 28, 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm eastern & Sunday, November 4, 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm eastern.

Mythopoesis: Spiritual Poetry and Literature (A Writing Workshop)

This workshop will be an opportunity to explore some of the great spiritual poetry and to share poetry with others.

Posted by: theodorecosmosophia | September 11, 2012

Ten Questions We Should Be Asking During the Chicago Teachers’ Strike

As I reflect on the teacher’s strike in Chicago, I do so from multiple perspectives: A citizen of Chicago, a parent, an educator, a supporter of unions, the son and grandson of teachers. There are probably more. But I’d like to share what I believe to be some important questions about our schools that are too infrequently being asked, if at all. Far too often, the discussion falls into simple, dichotomous categories: long-days good, short days bad; high standards good, low standards bad; “reform” good, unions bad.

Since we are talking about education here, as well as labor, perhaps it would be useful to pause for a moment and ask some questions–it is, after all, in asking the right questions that true learning takes place. My concern is that we are having a conversation in which positions are being taken based on unchallenged and false assumptions. Specifically, there is the notion that the union is to blame because it is blocking “reform”. But while I can’t say that teachers are blameless–there is plenty of blame to go around in the schools and, of course, there are bad teachers–I would like to ask some questions about the form of this so-called reform. For all reform is not good; and, in education, reform must be based on asking the right questions.

1. What is going to happen during the extra hours that are being added to the school day? What, other than keeping kids “off the streets” is the purpose of our after-school programming? The assumption that the school is a factory and the kids are a product leads to the assumption that longer days yield better results. What is the evidence? And those who would criticize teachers for resisting this should spend one day in a classroom. It is hard work. A six hour day in the classroom is a lot harder than an eight hour day in the cubicle. The other argument for keeping kids in the container longer is that they will be “off the streets”–ie not killing or robbing anyone. If this is the only reason for a school, we need to ask some more questions.

2. How are the students eating? How are they moving their bodies? The students and teachers will be happier and learn more if they are healthy and moving their bodies. This has to be part of any education reform plan. As much as the information our kids are learning, we need to ask what they are physically doing all day. We learn with our bodies as well as our minds. And our kids must be spending time outside, learning about their ecological place in the world.

3. How are we involving parents in non-condescending ways? Teachers know that they will have far more success if parents are involved. The problem is that we usually don’t involve parents except to imply that they don’t know what they are doing. Let me be honest here: Parents can cause a lot of problems. But we can’t give up on engaging and involving them.

4. How are we meaningfully integrating the students emotional lives into the school day? One of the biggest reasons kids have problems in school is that they have trauma and stress and can’t deal with anger and other emotions. Why do we only talk about feelings when there is a problem? Moreover, the emotions are an important facet of intellectual discussions, too. Do we ask the kids how they feel in addition to what they think? A greater awareness of how we are feeling helps us become better problem solvers and engage in dialogue more productively.

5. How are we inspiring our students to be creative? Are we providing them with the right context and media to express themselves? The removal of the arts from many schools is tragic. Creativity is a fundamental aspect of a person’s development and should be integrated into every curriculum, not marginalized or removed. Creativity, the Imagination, and the arts is how young people explore and discover their place in the world; it is how they tell their stories and teach others.

6. Why do students get so much homework when there is no evidence for any educational benefit? This only frustrates students, teachers, and parents. I realize that many kids are watching too much TV at home. But let’s figure out how to foster more free play and encourage reading at home. This is a classic example of a solution that is presented because it makes for a good sound bite.

7. What, other than money, do teachers really want? I would suggest (and I am happy to be corrected by teachers) that teachers want to be respected as professionals as much as they want high salaries. They want to engage in a meaningful conversation about what it means to be educated. And they want to work in a place of growth and of joy, not a place that feels like a prison or a factory.

8. How do those who would blame the unions for the problems in our schools propose we have a respected, professional group of teachers? A society that doesn’t respect its teachers is truly lost. Go to a charter school and see how teachers are treated if you want to see what a world without teachers unions looks like. Those schools, while once promising radical reform and creativity, have become test-taking factories. They–and the teachers who work in them–can be bought and sold without consequence.

9. What the questions are our children going to ask us when they come home? We are so focused on the skills and information that our kids get in school that we forget that a truer sign of an educated person is curiosity. The problem is that we can’t test for curiosity, for a desire to explore, or to think paradoxically. So teachers can make a legitimate argument against so-called standards not because they don’t want to be held accountable, but because the basic for the reform (tests) is not educationally sound.

10. What, at the end of the day, will make them come alive? What will inspire them? And what kind of world, other than one in which they make a lot of money, will our children dream of creating? I will address these questions with a quote:

“The work of education, of course, is not to make better schools, but to make a better world.  Too often, I believe, educators forget this obvious and simple truth.  Discussions about education seldom reflect the kind of world we might imagine is possible; rather, they focus on achievement and success within a given paradigm.  They seem not to realize that the way we educate our children creates, reinforces, or shatters the paradigm. For example, when we assume that the purpose of education is to help students find a job in the global economy, we forget that the “global economy” is not some force of nature.  Humans created it.  It exists because of the decisions we made, decisions based upon how we view the world, which is based on the way we have been educated. While what goes on in a school is important in itself—after all, our children spend most of their childhoods there—the ultimate relevance of a school is what kind of civilization it inspires our children to create.  A school is not “good” if its students get good test scores but are so unhappy, so disconnected, and so unable to think critically that they go out in the world and commit acts of violence and destruction.  Such schools only give more power to the mis-educated.  I think I prefer the ‘bad’ schools.”  [From Creatively Maladjusted: The Wisdom Education Movement Manifesto]

For more about these and other questions, please visit The Chicago Wisdom Project. You can also find out more about my forthcoming book on education here: Creatively Maladjusted.

Posted by: theodorecosmosophia | August 23, 2012

“We Stand at the Edge of Our World” – #Cosmosophia

Posted by: theodorecosmosophia | August 17, 2012

Bookshelves are like people

Bookshelves are like people

Posted by: theodorecosmosophia | August 1, 2012

Happy Lammas/Calan Awst/Lughnasadh

[Thanks to Homebound Publications for the Photo]

Happy Lammas/Calan Awst/Lughnasadh. Lammas Day is one of the oldest medieval festivals/feasts. It is a celebration of the end of the growing season and the gathering of the harvest.
Here is a my post from last years August Feast:

Joy: California Redwoods, 2011

My little brown, beautiful girl

you do not see how cruel

the world can be

—I can see

this in your smile.

One day, they will try to tell you

that you are not good enough,

that your emotions cloud

the pure machine of Reason,

that you are not strong,

or good at math,

or fit to lead.

They will tell you

that what you are is not good enough,

your life, an exercise

in seeking their elusive approval.

You will probably know better than me

what to tell them.

But here is an idea:

Tell them that they may tear your heart out,

but they will only unleash the lion who lurks inside;

tell them that you may cry a torrent of tears,

but your tears are a raging tempest,

Bringing lightning and thunder;

tell them, little brown girl,

that their disapproval hurts you—

because it will—

but it defines them more than you;

tell them that you know

that the world spends so much time

hating you

because it fears your lioness roar

your thundercloud tears,

and that you are strong enough

to cry in this sad world

—to be brokenhearted—

without being broken.

Tell them, my little brown, beautiful girl,

that these long, sundrenched days

spent dancing to the rhythm

of the wisdom

that who you are

is already enough

is already enough.

But as the days grow short

and you come to know their fear,

you will tear open your heart for them,

because you will see

that this world needs

little girls who bring cries of thunder

and the courage of a lioness.

May, 2011

*For more on The August Feast, known most commonly by its Irish name, Lughnasadh, click here.

 

Posted by: theodorecosmosophia | July 9, 2012

The Chicago Wisdom Project: Become a Wisdom Teacher

The work of The Chicago Wisdom Project has grown over the last several years and is ready to expand into its next phase. We are seeking to train artists, teachers, activists, anyone with a stake in how we educate our youth–and this includes everyone–to implement this radical approach to education. As a recent news story in which we were featured suggested, The Chicago Wisdom Project provides an alternative solution to the violence that plagues our streets. But it also allows us to learn from our youth by empowering them to tell their stories as they become creators, not merely consumers, of culture.

This is a reminder that there is still time to sign up for The Chicago Wisdom Project’s “Wisdom Teacher Training” program. The class will be conducted through teleconference each Wednesday in August. THERE ARE PARTIAL SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE. Feel free to call or email us for more information (646-285-8263/ info@chicagowisdomproject.org) More information below or click here:  Click here for more information or to register.
For more information on the Chicago Wisdom Project, go to our website, http://chicagowisdomproject.org/
Wisdom Teacher Training
Do you feel that our educational system focuses too much on test scores?
Do you feel that our educational system is too rigid and mechanistic, with little room for exploration & creativity?
Are you looking for an alternative that addresses the whole person?
This August, on Wednesday evenings at 8:00 eastern, we will be conducting our first Wisdom Teacher Training telecourse. The comprehensive training program will do the following:
• By taking a deep philosophical look at education, we will explore the question of what it really means to be an educated person.
• Participants will learn our holistic pedagogy, including meditative practice, nature immersion, critical dialogue, and therapeutic work.
• We will explore and critique the dominant narratives of industrial civilization and learn how to empower youth to create counter-narratives.
• Participants will learn about and receive a copy of our curriculum, a radical approach to education that integrates mind, body, and soul, and includes nature retreats & rites of passage and creativity.

“The work of education, of course, is not to make better schools, but to make a better world.  Too often, I believe, educators forget this obvious and simple truth.  Discussions about education seldom reflect the kind of world we might imagine is possible; rather, they focus on achievement and success within a given paradigm.  They seem not to realize that the way we educate our children creates, reinforces, or shatters the paradigm. 

“For example, when we assume that the purpose of education is to help students find a job in the global economy, we forget that the “global economy” is not some force of nature.  Humans created it.  It exists because of the decisions we made, decisions based upon how we view the world, which is based on the way we have been educated.

“While what goes on in a school is important in itself—after all, our children spend most of their childhoods there—the ultimate relevance of a school is what kind of civilization it inspires our children to create.  A school is not “good” if its students get good test scores but are so unhappy, so disconnected, and so unable to think critically that they go out in the world and commit acts of violence and destruction.  Such schools only give more power to the mis-educated.  I think I prefer the “bad” schools.

“Modern industrial culture is ill equipped to deal with the crises of this moment.  For the first time in human history, we face a mass-extinction that threatens the viability of life on the planet.  This crisis was largely created by modern industrial culture.  Its values can only lead to more destruction.”

While we consider this work to be an organic process, one that cannot be reduced to specific outcomes, one that is different each time and for each student, and one that is full of surprises, we hope that we can say the following about our work:

  • Students should complete a creative project, giving them a sense of their ability to accomplish something meaningful
  • Students should expand their sense of who they are by seeing themselves as part of a broader community and as having deeper connections to their ancestors
  • Students should begin to see the future in terms of possibilities rather than limitations
  • Students should have the confidence, after completing their rite of passage and their project, to teach others
  • Students should have a sense of their passion, that which gives their lives meaning
  • Students should be aware of the issues that face their community and other communities around the world and how those issues are interconnected
  • Students should have a greater appreciation for nature
  • In addition, we have broader cultural goals. We believe that our students can become creators of culture, not merely consumers, and to challenge the assumptions of modern, industrial culture through the arts.
  • Through our work and the trainings we hold for teachers and youth workers, we hope to spark a debate about the true meaning of education beyond the test-centered and utilitarian focus of the current political discourse.
Posted by: theodorecosmosophia | July 6, 2012

The City Dark/The Wayfarer

“The Wayfarer”

“We are all wayfarers. . . for there is no end to wayfaring.”

Ibn Al-Arabi

I arrived in darkness.  From one vast, empty, black infinity to another, I arrived.  In the Pacific, like nowhere else in the world, the sea and the sky are mirrors.  One emptiness reflecting the other, interrupted only by islands and stars, stars and islands so much the same.  At night, the sameness and smallness is accentuated by the black emptiness of sea and sky.

I arrived tearfully and alone, in a smallish, raucous plane of Samoans, I the only foreigner.  It took exactly one day, one empty sea, one empty sky, for my bravery to abate.  I was alone, afraid.

Looking out the window, there was only blackness.  Nothing.  So I waited, watching the Samoans laugh and talk, happy to almost be home, back from a trip (to see relatives, probably) to the big city, Honolulu.

We landed, finally.  I had been traveling all day, from Chicago to Honolulu, Honolulu to Tutuila, one of the largest planets in the Samoan solar system, in the galaxy of the Pacific.

The islands of the Pacific are so small, so seemingly insignificant, that for thousands of years people have looked up to the great mirror in the sky to find themselves.  It was not with any consideration of ancient Polynesian navigators that I first looked upwards when I stepped off the plane; I was simply compelled to do so because I hadn’t been able to find this little island from the window of the plane.  I felt like I was landing nowhere; it was too dark.

I looked up, looking for light, looking for God.

Samoa 2000

Click here for more on the film The City Dark

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Categories