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University of Creation Spirituality
Doctor of Ministry Degree/Certificate Program

July 2004 Intensive CA
July 26-30 2004

Art as Meditation: Rituals of Deep Ecumenism:  Direct Experience, Spiritual Practice, and Sacred Rituals, which Access the Divine Presence. - # 61083

Instructor: Hana Matt

Faculty Bio:  Hana Matt has taught “World Religions” at The Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, and at The University of Creation Spirituality, both for 8 years.  She has just returned from living in Jerusalem for 4 years, where she was writing a new college textbook entitled, The Spirituality of the World’s Major Religions.  Before that, she spent 2 years studying Buddhism in Sri Lanka and Japan; and 2 years studying Hinduism in India; and then 7 years studying Judaism and Islam in Jerusalem.  She also spent 3 years at The Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. studying Bible, in addition to Christian Spirituality, Spiritual Direction, and Comparative Religion.  She has also been teaching courses in “Spiritual Direction,” and sees clients privately. 

Course Description:   This is a living laboratory and practicum in the spirituality of each of the World Religions. It is not necessary to be taking the morning seminar in “The World’s Spiritual Traditions,” in order to take this course.  We will experience some of the spiritual practices and rituals in each religion.  We will choose practices which will not offend our own religious traditions.  How do we re-new ourselves, re-invigorate, and receive new inspiration and strength?  How do we find our way back to the Wellspring within us so we will have the energy we need to move from distress to awakening?  These practices can broaden and deepen our experience of Spirit.  We will learn practices to overcome burnout, anxiety, stress, resentments, depression, and fear.  You will be able to return to your own community and work, and bring an enlarged tool chest of ways to come to the Divine, which can be applied to deepen your own tradition.  These are effective practices for the individual and a group to directly come into Living Spirit.

Learning Objectives:                                                                           

Monday:  Indigenous, Native, Earth-based Religions.  What are native ways to come to access The Great Spirit, to come into empowerment?  Some practices are: meaningful ritual, music, chanting, drumming, simple body movements as a community, healing practices and individual spiritual practices.

Tuesday:  Hinduism.  Practices and rituals to access the Divine Self within.  The 8-Limbed Path to Spiritual Liberation. How can we embody this in everyday life?

Wednesday:  Buddhism and Taoism. 

In Taoism, we will explore ways to come into balance in our own lives.  Spiritual direction practices to enable one to see where one’s life is out of balance and bring it back into a harmony which will lead to a centeredness and more effective functioning. 

In Buddhism, we will experience several practices to awaken one’s radiant, luminous, true nature. We will engage in mindfulness practices, and other practices for overcoming unwanted behaviors, fears, stress, and depression.  How can one create a sustainable system within oneself, which is capable of re-vitalization and enlightened action?

Thursday:  Jewish Spirituality.  We will experience a joyous Jewish Shabbat service, with music, chanting, easy circle dancing anyone can do, sacred meaningful ritual, lighting the candles, drinking the holy wine, eating the ceremonial hallah, and telling spiritual stories.  We will explore how we can bring some of this into our own traditions to enliven them. How can we re-invigorate ourselves, have more vibrancy, and have a fuller direct experience of the Divine. 

Friday:   Islamic Mysticism.  We will experience a sacred Sufi ritual and practice, music, and simple dance movements which we do as a community.  We will also experience the body prayer of the Islamic daily prayer, incorporating sacred phrases in each of the various prayer poses and postures.  We will also experience the powerful teachings and practices of Rumi and his tradition of Sufism. 

Assignment:  Journal:  What have you gleaned from this direct experience of each spiritual tradition, in order to access the Divine Presence in your own life and in those lives in your community?

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