Truth, Wisdom, Choice
A 3-Part Series
Truth, Wisdom, Choice
A 3-part virtual series. On zoom.
A recording of this event will be provided to all those who have registered for this event. The recording is exclusively for registrants only.
Given all that these times have brought us in challenges and also transformative opportunities, The Sophia Institute is offering an uplifting and meaningful focus on Truth, Wisdom, Choice through the lens of the mystics that will awaken and sustain our awareness for the greater good in our lives and our world.
We are undergoing a profound shift in consciousness, and we need now more than ever Truth, Wisdom, Choice that is ever present and that the Divine offers us. We are blessed by it and guided by it, too, as we navigate the transformation we are going through.
Previous nun, bestselling author, and international speaker Kelly Deutsch explores the question “What does it look like to be a mystic today” through the lives of two little-known modern mystics Etty Hillesum and Catherine de Heuck Doherty.
Focusing on the “Holy Ordinary” Mirabai Starr will “draw on vibrant teachings of women mystics across the spiritual traditions, reclaiming wisdom and truth as embodied experiences rather than abstract beliefs.”
Matthew Fox refers to Rabbi Heschel who says, “To be spiritual is to be amazed.” And Matthew concludes, “To be amazed is the beginning of Truth, Wisdom, and Choice, therefore love-filled and truth-filled choice making.” Let’s attend to this perspective as we join together in June.
We are pleased and honored to have Kelly Deutsch, Mirabai Starr, and Matthew Fox as our guides for the journey as we focus on Truth, Wisdom, and Choice. June 8, 15, 22. 6:00-7:30 pm EST.
June 8 – Kelly Deutsch
What does it look like to be a mystic today?
Historically, it is easy to think of mystics as medieval nuns and monks, far from the realities of our daily life. What do they possibly have to do with our tax returns, deciphering Medicare coverage, or bearing the onslaught of polemical news and mindless media?
Join bestselling author and international speaker Kelly Deutsch in exploring this question through the lives of two little-known modern mystics.
The first, Etty Hillesum, is an interspiritual mystic who died in the Holocaust. Born a Dutch Jew, Etty found her path to mysticism through Jungian psychology and the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke. When her neighbors were detained in the transit camp en route to Auschwitz, she volunteered to join them. She made it her mission to become the “thinking heart” of the camp, doing her best to not only console the terrorized, but even to recognize the humanity of their Nazi captors.
“In spite of everything,” she wrote, “life is still beautiful.”
The second mystic, Catherine de Heuck Doherty, is perhaps most widely known for being Thomas Merton’s mentor before he entered the monastery. Yet her greatest work was done in interracial justice (long before the civil rights movement) as well as being the key figure to bring Russian spirituality to North America. Without her influence, the practice of Christian meditation may have remained completely hidden in monasteries.
Both were fiery women, seeking union with the divine mystery that emblazoned their hearts. From their stories, we will learn:
- — What it means to see the world alight with the Holy
- — The true goal of all spiritual practice
- — How to be a contemplative in the messiness of our own lives–even racism and oppression
- — Why these women were both drawn to the mystical heart of Russian spirituality
- — Why contemplation always leads to action, both in working in ourselves and for a more just world
Join us for a thorough steeping in mystical wisdom–and to learn how we might follow in that same path.
June 15 – Mirabai Starr
The Holy Ordinary
In this gathering, Mirabai draws on vibrant teachings of women mystics across the spiritual traditions, reclaiming wisdom and truth as embodied experiences rather than abstract beliefs. Feminine ways of knowing — which belong to people of all genders — open the gates to a grounded awareness of the sacred that permeates our blood and bones, lifts and shifts our hearts, and energizes us to make a meaningful contribution to alleviating suffering in the world. Now is a time when we urgently need direct connection to the life-giving insights of such luminous beings as Teresa of Avila, Hildegard of Bingen, Rabia of Basra, Mirabai and Lalla, and other great poet-mystics to guide our way into a full encounter with the sacred at the heart of our everyday lives. Through contemplative readings, reflections, and engaged dialog, Mirabai invites you to cultivate intimacy with these fierce and tender allies so that they may accompany you on your path of waking up and stepping up as the mystic-prophet you are meant to be.
June 22 – Matthew Fox
Carl Jung has said that “it is to the mystics that we owe what is best in humanity.” Today we struggle with coronavirus and climate change (and with those in public places actually denying climate change or refusing to do anything about slowing it down). And with patriarchy and its exposed reptilian brain and authoritarianism rising in our midst and on display in the atrocious war against Ukraine. Given this confusion, it would seem that we might call on the mystics to bring forth what is best in us as a species. “Fight the worst with the best,” says mystic and prophet Wendell Berry.
We will call on two amazing but long neglected mystics of the past, Julian of Norwich and Hildegard of Bingen, for what they teach us about Truth, Wisdom and Choice. Both insist on justice being integral to love (a substantive teaching from the Hebrew Bible) and how eros and the passion for living are central also. Hildegard compares God’s love of creation to the love between husband and wife; and Julian declares that love is what holds the entire universe together. Both mystics begin their view of the world—not with the human—but with the whole, with the universe, with nature and creation and invite us back to nature to rediscover the beauty and the goodness that is found there and that arouses and nurtures our love. Neither is weighed down with the burdens of modern consciousness which starts not with creation but with the human (“I think therefore I am” and other acts of species narcissism). Hildegard and Julian are graced by beginning with cosmology therefore and its sister ecology (“functional cosmology” according to Thomas Berry). The first book of Genesis also begins with cosmology and the beauty and goodness of all of creation.
As Rabbi Heschel puts it, “To be spiritual is to be amazed.” To be amazed is the beginning of Truth, Wisdom, and Choice, therefore love-filled and truth-filled choice making.