Mystics Without Monasteries:

The Chairs of Wisdom University

At the heart of Wisdom University is the commitment to provide a home for the wisdom teachers of our time. At a time when our attention is directed to infotainment, war and sensationalism, it is critical that we listen to the voices in our midst that direct us to a deeper resonance with the created order and with each other. While in traditional times, mystics largely resided in the monasteries and the cloisters, today, most of the wisdom teachers and the mystics live and work in the world, coping with the same issues and challenges of us all, This only accentuates the gravity of their messages and the importance of their presence. To date, Wisdom University has attracted several "Mystics Without Monasteries," a term coined by Caroline Myss. to join the University as Chairs:

Angeles Arrien (Cultural Anthropology)

Angeles Arrien is an anthropologist, educator, award-winning author, and consultant. She received her master's degree from the University of California – Berkeley, and her doctorate from the California Institute for Integral Studies. She lectures nationally and internationally; conducting workshops that bridge cultural anthropology, psychology, and mediation skills.

She is the founder and president of the Angeles Arrien Foundation for Cross-Cultural Education and Research. Dr. Arrien’s research and teaching have focused on values and beliefs shared by humanity cross-culturally, and on the integration and application of multi-cultural wisdoms in contemporary settings. She teaches universal components of leadership skills, communication, health care, and education. Her work reveals how indigenous wisdoms are relevant in our families, professional lives, and our relationship with the Earth.

She is the author of The Four-Fold Way™: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer and Visionary, published by HarperCollins, San Francisco and Signs of Life: The Five Universal Shapes and How to Use Them, winner of the 1993 Benjamin Franklin Award. In addition, she has written numerous articles and teaching modules on a variety of topics and has received three honorary doctorates.

Lauren Artress (Labyrinthian Mysteries)

The Reverend Dr. Lauren Artress serves as a Canon at Grace Cathedral. In 1996 she created Veriditas, a non-profit dedicated to introduce people the healing, meditative powers of the labyrinth. The labyrinth is a twelfth century mystical tool symbolic of the Path of Life that is re-introducing the walking meditation back into the Christian tradition. She travels world-wide offering workshops and lectures on the labyrinth and on Hildegard of Bingen. She offers a yearly program in Chartres, France called Walking a Sacred Path that nurtures spiritual maturity. In addition to her ordination as an Episcopal priest she is a spiritual director and licensed MFT psychotherapist in the State of California.

Lauren holds a Bachelor's Degree in Special Education from Ohio State University and a Master's of Education from Princeton Theological Seminary. She received her analytic training in Object Relations and Systems Theory at The Blanton-Peale Graduate Institute at The Institute of Religion and Health in New York City. Her Doctor of Ministry degree was granted in 1986 from Andover Newton Theological School in Boston Massachusetts in Pastoral Psychology. She is the author of Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool.

Matthew Fox (Creation Spirituality)

Matthew Fox is author of 28 books including Original Blessing, The Reinvention of Work, Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet, One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths, A Spirituality Named Compassion and his most recent A New Reformation. He was a member of the Dominican Order for 34 years. He holds a doctorate (received summa cum laude) in the History and Theology of Spirituality from the Institut Catholique de Paris.

Fox’s effort to reawaken the West to its own mystical tradition has included revivifying awareness of Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart and the mysticism of Thomas Aquinas. This effort, combined with seeking to establish a pedagogy that was friendly to learning spirituality, led him to establish an in 1977 an Institute in Culture and Creation Spirituality that operated for seven years at Mundelein College in Chicago and, beginning in 1983, at Holy Names College in Oakland. During the years at Holy Names College, Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI but then as chief Inquisitor and head of the Congregation of Doctrine and Faith (called the Office of the Holy Inquisition until 1965), tried to shut the program down.

The principle objections from Ratzinger to Fox’s work were that he was a “feminist theologian;” that he called God “Mother;” that he preferred “original blessing” to “original sin;” that he called God “child;” that he associated too closely with Native Americans; that he did not condemn homosexuals; that he had replaced the naming of the spiritual journey as Purgation, Illumination and Union with the four paths of Creation Spirituality: The Via Positiva (joy, delight and awe); the Via Negativa (darkness, silence, suffering, letting go and letting be); the Via Creativa (creativity); and the Via Transformativa (justice, compassion, interdependence).

Ratzinger silenced Fox for one year in 1988 and forced him to step down as director of. Three years later he expelled Fox from the Order and had Fox’s program terminated at Holy Names College. Rather than disband his teachings and faculty, Fox started his own University called University of Creation Spirituality in 1996 in Oakland, California. Its name has now changed to Wisdom University and Fox is president emeritus and a teaching professor there.

Alex Grey (Sacred Art)

Alex Grey is best known for his paintings which “X-ray” the multiple dimensions of reality, interweaving the physical and biological anatomy with psychic and spiritual subtle energies. Grey’s visual meditation on the nature of life and consciousness, the subject of his art, is contained in the monograph entitled Sacred Mirrors: The Visionary Art of Alex Grey, published in five languages. His second book, The Mission of Art reflects on art as a spiritual practice. Grey’s art has been exhibited worldwide including a mid-career retrospective at The Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, the Sao Paolo Bienniale, The Grande Palaise, Paris, and solo exhibition in Tokyo to accompany the Japanese translation of his book Sacred Mirrors. Grey previously taught for ten years at New York University as well as teaching at Rhode Island School of Design and Philadelphia College of Art. Grey’s art work has been used as album art for such multi-platiinum bands as Nirvana, Beastie Boys, Tool (Grammy award winner), and String Cheese Incident where the album art recently won a Jammy Award.

With his wife, artist Allyson Grey, Alex co-founded the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, a cultural and non-denominational spiritual center, now in its temporary location in New York City. The future Chapel of Sacred Mirrors will provide a permanent public exhibition of Alex Grey's most outstanding and widely appreciated works of transformative art, fostering a vision of the fully awakened human potential. The Sacred Mirrors speak to our highest aspirations as a species: universal compassion, respect for all life, a deep appreciation of all cultures and wisdom traditions, awakened consciousness and a full flowering of our human potential.

Andrew Harvey (Sacred Activism)

Andrew Harvey was born in South India where he lived until the age of nine, a period he credits with shaping his vision of the inner unity of all religions. He left India to attend private school in England, and entered Oxford University in 1970 to study history on a scholarship. At the age of 21, he became the youngest person ever to be awarded the Fellow of All Souls College, England's highest academic honor.

In 1977, Andrew became disillusioned with life at Oxford and returned to India to begin his spiritual search. He has since lived in London, Paris, New York, and San Francisco, and has continued to study a variety of religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity. Harvey has written and edited over 30 books. Honors he has received include the Benjamin Franklin Award and the Mind Body Spirit Award (both for Mary's Vineyard: Daily Readings, Meditations, and Revelations), and the Christmas Humphries Award for A Journey In Ladakh.

Among Andrew's other well-known titles are: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, edited with Patrick Gaffney and Sogyal Rinpoche; Dialogues with a Modern Mystic; The Way of Passion: A Celebration of Rumi; Hidden Journey; The Essential Gay Mystics; and Son of Man.

It is to Andrew that we owe the term "Sacred Activism" which he coined to express the interconnection between spiritual practice and social activism. The University is convening Sacred Activism conferences around the United States, in which Andrew is deeply involved. He has also produced a film by that name. Andrew has also been seminal in the envisioning and development of the New Chartres School.

Walter Link, (Wisdom Civilization)

Degree in Sciences Commerciales et Industrielles, University of Geneva, Switzerland. M.A. in Human Development and presently PhD candidate in Human and Organizational Development, Fielding Graduate University.

Walter chairs The Global Academy, which focuses on advancing the emergent Wisdom Civilization and leadership approaches, which empower it. He coaches leadership practitioners, advises organizations and facilitates multi-stakeholder processes. He co-chairs the Global Leadership Network. He serves on Europe and Central Asia Council of Human Rights Watch, the boards of Omega Institute and the Institute for Noetic Sciences, and formerly of Naropa University and the Greyston Foundation, which is empowering the homeless and socially excluded.

He was partner of B.Grimm, a 130-year-old South-East Asian and European Industrial Group, and is a pioneer in the worldwide movement for Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility (CSR). Co-founder & former chair of the Social Venture Network Europe, and co-founder & former director of Empresa, with 20 CSR organizations throughout the Americas. At Presidio World College, San Francisco, he co-created and taught in the US’s first fully accredited MBA in Sustainable Management.

He co-founded W.E., a network facilitating consciousness events through Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union and co-developed Vision of the Hearth, a psycho-spiritual work school with students throughout Western and Eastern Europe. His teachers included Shivanda yoga teachers and Krishnamurti, Sufi master Phir Valayat Inyat Khan and Zen master Thich Nat Hanh, Theravada Buddhist teachers from the lineage of Ajahn Cha and Ram Dass, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan teachers, and in particular Nem Karoli Baba and A.H. Almaas, founder of the Diamond Approach, an original teaching integrating depth psychology, ancient western philosophy and eastern spiritual approaches.

After 20 years of psycho-spiritual practice and teaching, diverse social and business entrepreneurship and civil society activism around the world, Walter understood that in the midst of the many crises, a Wisdom Civilization is emerging, reinventing all sectors of society, and integrating so called ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ work to facilitate a more conscious and humane, socially and environmentally sustainable world.

Caroline Myss (Energy Medicine)

Caroline Myss began her professional career as a journalist in 1974. She received her M.A. in Theology in 1979 and her Ph.D. in Energy Medicine in 1996. Caroline began her career as a medical intuitive in1984 when she met C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D., a Harvard trained neurosurgeon, who had an interest in the science of medical intuition. They began a colleagueship that continues to this day. During their early years together, Norm helped Caroline to develop her skills by having her conduct health readings on his patients. During Norm's interview with a patient in his office in Springfield, MO., he would phone Caroline for her assessment of the patient's health. The only information Caroline requires is the name and age of a patient and his/her permission. From that data, Caroline is able to profile the physical/psychological/emotional/and family history of the patient.

Through this research, Caroline developed the field of Energy Anatomy, a science that partners specific emotional/ psychological/ physical/spiritual stress patterns with the specific diseases that they create or influence. This research proved so accurate that it became the subject matter of a book co-written by Caroline and Norm: The Creation of Health. Eventually this ground-breaking research became standard classroom material for students studying the principles of holistic health, psychological stress patterns, and the alternative methods of healing.

In 1996, Caroline compiled her years of research in medical intuition with her work in the field of human consciousness, releasing the book, Anatomy of the Spirit. This book became a New York Times bestseller and has been published in 18 languages. Her next book, Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can also became a New York Times bestseller as did her fifth book, Sacred Contracts.

In 2003, Caroline, opened CMED (Caroline Myss Education), her own educational institute. CMED offers two programs per year, each three sessions long. The first is on Sacred Contracts and the second is on Mysticism, Intuition, and Healing. The Institute draws students from nineteen nations as well as across the United States. In 2004, Caroline released her sixth book, Invisible Acts of Power, which also became a New York Times bestseller.

Gabrielle Roth (Sacred Dance)

For the past thirty-five years, Roth has taken thousands of people on a shamans journey through the rhythms of their bodies and into the rhythms of their souls. Her books, workshops, and music recordings provide a context in which the spirit and flesh come together as one and dance like lovers upon a stage. Through the 5Rhythms™, her self-styled form of ecstatic trance dance, Roth uses movement to reignite shamanic ecstasy in a culture and people that have become trapped in a kind of physical and emotional inertia. Roth guides her students on an adventure into the often unexplored, sometimes daunting, region of their own psyches, and brings them back into alignment with the rhythm of their own souls.

Gabrielle Roth is the author of Maps to Ecstasy, Sweat Your Prayers, and her latest book, Connections. She is the artistic director of her dance/theater/music company, The Mirrors; and through her recording company Raven Recording (cofounded with her husband, Robert Ansell) she has produced more than twenty music compilations, considered to be on the cutting edge of shamanic trance dance music.

Rupert Sheldrake (Evolutionary Science)

Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and author of more than 75 scientific papers and ten books. A former Research Fellow of the Royal Society, he studied natural sciences at Cambridge University, where he was a Scholar of Clare College, took a double first class honours degree and was awarded the University Botany Prize. He then studied philosophy at Harvard University, where he was a Frank Knox Fellow, before returning to Cambridge, where he took a Ph.D. in biochemistry. He was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge University, where he carried out research on the development of plants and the ageing of cells. At Clare College he was also Director of Studies in biochemistry and cell biology.

From 1968 to 1969, based in the Botany Department of the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, he studied rain forest plants. From 1974 to 1985 he worked at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad, India, where he was Principal Plant Physiologist. While in India, he also lived for a year and a half at the ashram of Fr Bede Griffiths in Tamil Nadu, where he wrote his first book, A New Science of Life. In September 2005, he was appointed to the Perrott-Warwick Scholarship administered by Trinity College, Cambridge.

Rupert’s books include: A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Formative Causation (1981); The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature (1988); The Rebirth of Nature: The Greening of Science and God (1992); Seven Experiments that Could Change the World: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Revolutionary Science (1994) (Winner of the Book of the Year Award from the British Institute for Social Inventions); Dogs that Know When Their Owners are Coming Home, and Other Unexplained Powers of Animals (1999) (Winner of the Book of the Year Award from the British Scientific and Medical Network); The Sense of Being Stared At, And Other Aspects of the Extended Mind (2003); Trialogues at the Edge of the West With Ralph Abraham and Terence McKenna (1992); and Natural Grace: Dialogues on Science and Spirituality (1996) and The Physics of Angels: Exploring the Realm Where Science and Spirit Meet (1996) with Matthew Fox.

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