Sacred Ecstasy in Sufism and Hasidic-Judaism
Sat-Sun, March 25-26, 2017
Led by Yuval Ron
This weekend retreat will provide an experiential spiritual exploration into the inner workings of devotional ecstatic Hasidic-Hebrew music and dance, and the Sufi practices of moving prayer-mediation ritual. We will explore how one transcends the limits of reality, reaching toward the non-dual state, using music and movement in these mystical practices. This will include the historic foundations as well as the growing body of music and variety of ways in which these two traditions create a devotional trance. Participants will discover how sacred sound facilitates in transcending mind-chatter, tuning into the heart for a deeper experience of Oneness and inner peace. Yuval will bring his gifts of live Oud and percussion music to this work.
Full Retreat: $195
Admission to each individual 2-hr session: $30
Sat, March 25:
Session 1 – 10am-12pm: Hasidism, its meditations and devotional Nigunim music
12:15pm – lunch break
Session 2 – 1:30-3:30pm: Hasidic teaching stories and ecstatic songs
3:30pm – Tea and refreshments at the bookstore
Session 3 – 4:30-6:30pm: Hasidic dances and Kabalistic concept of Sacred Ecstasy
Sun, March 26
Session 4 – 10am-12pm: Sufism, its ecstatic chanting and the Union with the Beloved
12:15pm – lunch break
Session 5 – 1:30-3:30pm: Sufi teaching stories and devotional songs
3:30pm – Tea and refreshments at the bookstore
Session 6 – 4:30-6:30pm: Sufi ecstatic movement and chanting rituals
Bring your own lunch!
Tea and refreshments will be served at the bookstore at 3:30pm each day.
Yuval Ron is an internationally renowned World Music artist, composer, educator, peace activist and record producer who was the featured artist in the Gala Concert for the Dalai Lama’s initiative Seeds of Compassion in the Seattle Opera Hall in 2008, and has collaborated with the Sufi leader Pir Zia Inayat Khan since 2006. Yuval is a noted lecturer and has been invited to speak at numerous schools including: Yale, John Hopkins University, UCLA, Middlebury College, MIT, University of Chicago, Pittsburgh University, and numerous others. His book Divine Attunement: Music as a path to Wisdom, won the Gold Medal Award for Best Spirituality Book at the Indie Book Awards 2015.
Tickets may also be purchased over the phone Monday – Thursday 10am – 4pm at: 323.663.2167 ext.112
Click here for more information on The Living Wisdom Concert Series: Music to Nourish the Soul.
Please join us for an evening of tea, conversation, and poetry in the UPR Bookstore! We are pleased to announce that author, researcher, and UPR undergraduate faculty member, Sabrina Dalla Valle, will be reading from her lyrical memoir, 7 Days and Nights in the Desert (Tracing the Origin) the evening of Tuesday, August 19th. As an integral part of her creative and scholarly process, Sabrina will use this evening to share her knowledge on poetic method and how it connects with philosophical research.
About the book: Composed in a hybrid form that braids personal narrative with philosophical reflections, Sabrina Dalla Valle’s book ponders the complexities of human communication and perception. It time-travels from the historical present to the ancient past through the reverberating voices of the oldest known thinkers. Along the way, it reaches out to mirrored existences that are as fathomless as the infinitesimal connections between our cells. In her desert journal, philosopher’s notes take the form of old chants and tales that emerge anew as thought-scapes embodying a timeless ritual of gazing at the gods.
▧▨▩ In conjunction with this event, we invite our Los Angeles community to bring their creative work to share with one another and, if so inclined, submit them to UPR to be reviewed for publication in a digital Quarterly Arts Journal beginning this Fall quarter (with the commencement of our new B.A. in Liberal Studies program). We will accept material in the following areas: poetry, short fiction, reviews, 2D artworks (or 2D documentation of artworks), and multimedia (sound/video) works.
Each quarterly journal will trace a theme inextricably woven by the textures of the submissions received. A juried panel will locate the pattern inherent within each body of submissions, thus determining the title and context of that quarter’s journal. Submissions for the Fall publication will be accepted and reviewed until October 1st. Material may be submitted in person or online at: email@example.com, subject: submission.
Please Note: The Arts Journal is to be a juried publication. Publication is not guaranteed upon submission.
Sabrina Dalla Valle, MFA, is an experimental writer and researcher of integral awareness. Her work is anthologized in Best Poems of 2012 by Kore Press (2013) and in Alchemical Traditions by Numen Books (2013). Sabrina lives and works in Los Angeles. Sabrina will be teaching two courses in UPR’s Bachelor’s program on integral creativity and the ethnographic imagination.
Please visit the following link to purchase a copy of 7 Days and Nights in the Desert
SABRINA DALLA VALLE, M.F.A.
M.F.A., Writing and Consciousness, New College of California, S.F., CA
B.A., Linguistic Anthropology, Reed College, Portland, OR
Sabrina will be reading from her lyrical memoir, 7 Days and Nights in the Desert (Tracing the Origin)
Composed in a hybrid form that braids personal narrative with philosophical reflections, Sabrina Dalla Valle’s book ponders the complexities of human communication and perception. It time-travels from the historical present to the ancient past through the reverberating voices of the oldest known thinkers. Along the way, it reaches out to mirrored existences that are as fathomless as the infinitesimal connections between our cells. In her desert journal, philosopher’s notes take the form of old chants and tales that emerge anew as thought-scapes embodying a timeless ritual of gazing at the gods.
Click here to view an interview with Sabrina and Kelsey St. Press
Suffering: Spiritual and Psychological Approaches
January 11-12, 2014,
Start Time: 10:00 am
At the University of Philosophical Research
(Upstairs Lecture Room)
3910 Los Feliz Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90004
Please Call 323.663.2167 ext.112 for details on the recent changes made to this event
A new, psychologically-oriented approach to spirituality and a new God-image are emerging alongside and within the Judeo-Christian tradition. Our understanding of the sacred is being re-imagined both inside and outside traditional cultural containers. This form of spirituality expresses itself from the depths of the psyche, and stresses personal experience rather than belief or sacred texts. Depth psychology gives us a contemporary way to express this evolving step in the history of religious consciousness. This unique ten-hour intensive, created by Lionel Corbett, M.D., integrates depth psychology, nonduality, and the study and experience of the sacred.
A psychological approach to spirituality seems to be helpful to at least two groups of people. For some of us, traditional ideas about God and religion do not express our personal spirituality, because we experience the sacred in ways that are not fully articulated in the traditional teachings. For those of us who are committed to a traditional religious practice, depth psychology can deepen our relationship to the tradition and our understanding of its archetypal underpinning. Sometimes a new language enables things to be said that have not yet been articulated, and depth psychology is providing this voice.
This course will have both an academic and an experiential component. The academic focus will explore various religious ideas through the lens of depth psychology, in order to unfold the archetypal structures that underlie traditional assumptions. The experiential aspect will focus on personal experience of the numinosum, or the holy, its relationship to the psychology of the individual, and its effects within the personality. Because we have no presuppositions about the ways in which the numinosum may appear, the depth psychological approach is open to personal manifestations of the sacred that may not be recognized as such within traditional Judeo-Christian thought. The depth psychological approach to the sacred focuses on revelation by means of dreams, synchronistic events, creativity, relationships, the earth, the body, sacred places, and attention to our complexes. A background in either depth psychology or religion is recommended.
This Workshop has been reformatted to be a series of one hour lectures and discussions. Approximately 5 hours each day, beginning at 10am
Attendance for both days of the Workshop: $200.
Single day attendance: $100/day
Lionel Corbett, M.D., trained in medicine and psychiatry in England and as a Jungian analyst at the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago. Dr. Corbett is a core faculty member at Pacifica Graduate Institute, teaching depth psychology, and a professor in the University of Philosophical Research. He is the author of Psyche and the Sacred: Spirituality Beyond Religion, The Religious Function of the Psyche, and The Sacred Cauldron: Psychotherapy as a Spiritual Practice. He is co-editor, with Dennis Patrick Slattery, of Depth Psychology: Meditations in the Field and Psychology at the Threshold: Selected Papers.
Once Upon a Time
How Fairytales Shape Our Lives
Jonathan Young, Ph.D.
When the people of Hamelin refused to pay the Pied Piper what they had promised, he led the children of the village away with his magical music. This key moment in a familiar fairy tale carries many insights. It is, at once, a commentary on social values, a vivid example of family tragedy, and a bit of personal psychology. Folklore is compacted wisdom literature that yields more information with each reading.
There is much we can learn by reflecting on the stories heard in childhood. Magical characters such as the Pied Piper, the talking frog and the fairy godmother are likely to remain in the imagination for a lifetime. The adventures these stories describe often reflect challenges we face in our journeys. The tales hide a wealth of insights just below the surface. They are clearly more than mere entertainment for children.
My own first hearing of many of the old stories was in the places where they originated. Throughout my childhood, our family traveled abroad for several months every few years. There were six children. Keeping all the kids quiet took some imagination. My parents came up with an ingenious, and life-changing, idea, which was to have us study the local tales.
When we were in Denmark, we visited the home of Hans Christian Andersen, and discussed his stories, such as The Little Mermaid. In Germany, we went to the village of Hamelin, where the tale of the Pied Piper takes place. In each location, we would thoroughly examine a story and the sites associated with it. In Baghdad, it was the Arabian Nights. While visiting Greece and Egypt, we would discuss mythology. In the temples of India and Japan, the tales of Asia came to life. Seeing how the adventures reflected their settings and how the stories are still alive in those places was a powerful experience. It shaped my sense of the world.
Various people can imagine the tales quite differently. I had heard the stories before and had pictures in my mind about what the places looked like. When I saw, for example, the spot in Germany where the Pied Piper supposedly led the children away, it didn’t look exactly the same as I had imagined. In a way, noticing that difference made me aware of how our creativity works. It was a glimpse into the power of imagination.
I later learned how these stories portray life issues in miniature. The story of the Pied Piper reminds us that every parent has to deal with letting go of their children and every former child has to cope with feelings about how it is to leave home. If we take the tale as a reflection of the inner landscape, we see that all the characters can represent aspects of our own personalities. The village leaders may symbolize a practical, thrifty side that does not sufficiently appreciate our magical qualities or artistic abilities. If we cheat the imagination of appropriate time and resources, things may go badly. Creativity and play engage the childlike energies that can leave us in a state of depression if they depart.
These tales are psychological mirrors and we become more complex as we mature. The storytellers intentionally loaded the adventures with heavy symbolism to reveal more meanings as we develop a deeper awareness of ourselves. Bedtime stories have enormous influence over our identities. People identify with certain characters in the stories they heard in childhood. To some degree, many live out these stories, largely unaware of how much the old tales may be shaping our lives.
It is a great treasure to know and reveal which tales from our childhood have a hold on us. Once the general pattern or storyline becomes evident, the challenge is to participate in the rewriting of our own story. We may not be able to create the rivers that carry us along but we can certainly navigate the little boats of our lives.
Mythic stories make up a kind of collective dream that we all have together. If we want to understand our dreams, in many respects, we can look at these stories and study them. If we want to understand the stories better, we can study our dreams. There is a great inter-relationship between these two forms of our imagination.
A talking animal in a story is often the voice of nature. Among other messages, we are being reminded that we are also animals. We are walking around in animal flesh. We sometimes forget this in our excessively mental, all too industrial culture. We are, first of all, animal creatures. We are not just visitors to nature, or merely caretakers of nature. We are nature. Guiding animals are crucial in mythic stories. Psychologically, this might well represent the wisdom of the body.
Sinister or wicked characters may represent aspects of ourselves that have been neglected or rejected. Carl Jung noted that the shadow energies in dreams and stories often appear as threatening witches or wolves. Jung insisted that something good can come from this darkness. Something valuable waits for us in the shadow. We are not to exclude that from how we define ourselves. Ultimately, inclusion is the goal. The challenge is to integrate these elements into identity in a constructive manner.
The darker elements in some tales often reveal shadow energies in an action, an image, or even a setting. The deep dark forest is a common representation of the feared elements within. The monsters live in the forest. The forest can reflect parts of ourselves that are never entirely tamed, that are always somewhat dangerous and chaotic. These elements sometimes come up in nightmares. They are important parts of ourselves. In some ways, they are the most creative aspects of our inner world. We need to go into the dark forest. It is difficult and mysterious. Still, fresh energies and new ideas come from that place.
Often we need the experiences in life that seem like setbacks and shadows. These can be difficult times. On the first reaction we wish we could avoid them. Ultimately, in hindsight, we realize those were enormously valuable moments. Such experiences force us to claim aspects of ourselves that we have neglected to develop. We become more than we thought was possible.
There is a tale about a farmer who plowing in his field. Suddenly, his plow catches on something. The farmer digs down to see what the plow has snagged on and he finds it has hooked a large ring. He digs farther, gets the plow unstuck, but sees that the ring emerges from a large flat stone. After more digging, the farmer lifts the ring and the stone. As the stone rises, it reveals the entrance to a deep underground cave filled with treasures.
The parable suggests that when something interrupts what we are trying to do, we should not be too sure this is a negative event. If we look into the impediment to our progress, we may open up hidden places in our souls and reveal secret riches. After discovering the buried treasure, we have the task of integrating these deep realms of beauty into our daily lives.
As a psychologist, I have worked with people who feel hopelessly stuck in their lives. They have experienced some terrible misfortune and just can’t seem to recover. In therapy, the task becomes finding a new way of seeing their challenges and resources. The facts don’t change, only their perspective. The new sense of how the story can unfold allows them to move towards the rewards.
Learning to find the guidance in familiar adventures is not difficult but does take a little effort. The starting point is understanding symbolism. Certain significant images communicate helpful information. The key is knowing how to decode the messages. The farmer getting stuck shows how trouble can interrupt our journeys for good reasons that we may not immediately grasp. The tale is a visual experience. Any one of the symbols in a classic story is worthy of a close look. If we meditate on the flow of images, and reflect on the meanings it presents to us, the rewards can be great.
The ancient tales have their own lives, each with unique, eccentric qualities. Part of the richness is that the same story will have different lessons for each person who listens. Stories can be like the Holy Grail, which, when passed from person to person, let them drink what they alone desired. Also, when we come back to the same story after a time, it will tell us new things. Stories can speak to us in several ways at once. The practical aspects of our personalities appreciate the assistance they provide in prudent decision-making. Our playful child-like energies find the stories to be great fun. The quiet, spiritual side is grateful to have some time invested in reflection.
Poet William Stafford had a favorite image. He said that the work of creativity is to “follow the golden thread.” Something catches your attention, a feeling, an image, an idea, the events of a moment. The challenge is to pay attention to that subtle urge and follow it gently. We must roll out the golden thread with care or it will break. Opening ourselves to greater significance in familiar stories requires a certain tenderness of spirit. The notions will be fragile at first. We must hold them gently for a time until they deliver their message to us. The effects of what we learn might well last for a lifetime.
Jonathan Young, Ph.D. Clinical Psychology
Founding curator of the Joseph Campbell Archives and Library, Creator and former chair of Mythological Studies at the Pacifica Graduate Institute. Director of the Center for Story and Symbol in Santa Barbara, California
Currently teaches PSY 512: Mythic Stories in Depth Psychology at UPR.
Conversations on Serious Topics
Written and directed by Giedrė Beinoriūtė
7:30 PM Thursday,
December 12, 2013
At The University of Philosophical Research
3910 Los Feliz Blvd, Los Angeles 90027
Conversations on Serious Topics, Lithuanian’s Official Oscar Entry for Best Foreign Language Film will be screened at the University of Philosophical Research in Los Angeles.
Written and directed by Giedrė Beinoriūtė, Conversations on Serious Topics, was recently awarded the Special Diploma for “Close attention to the problems of Children’s Soul” at the International Film Festival Listapad, in Belarus and was voted Best Film at the DocuDays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Ukraine.
Inspired by acclaimed Lithuanian writer Vanda Juknaitė’s book “Tariamas is tamsos”, who interviewed several children with special needs, disabilities and children from foster homes and in jail – Conversations on Serious Topics, takes a profound insightful look into the world seen through and experienced by Lithuanian children and teenagers. With their own unique ability, they describe their surroundings and draw you into intimate conversations that reveal their view of the modern world – occasionally melancholic, sometimes comical, and at times shocking and intense. Shot in a minimalist fashion, the film raises questions about loneliness, love, God, the world and human relations. “The world is people.” “Don’t you believe in God? I can teach you how to start believing…”
The University of Philosophical Research and Philosophical Research Society are pleased to bring Conversations On Serious Topics to its students, faculty, and fellow researchers in the Los Angeles area. We hope that such a film can foster further insight into the nature of human existence and continue to hone a greater sensitivity within our community.
“Who, by thinking, can go further than the limits of the mind? It is like the difference between thinking of a journey to a great city and actually going there. You may have thoughts of God. But the real traveller meets the divine through the soul that covers the greatest distance and never tires.“
-Obadiah Harris, UPR President
A Monoklis Production, CONVERSATIONS ON SERIOUS TOPICS is produced by Jurga Gluskinienė
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
The Lighthouse Company
(818) 954 8486 * firstname.lastname@example.org
The Tenth Karmapa, Chosying Dorje (1604-1674) was considered an eccentric in the history of Tibetan Buddhism and his story remains both fascinating and relevant to us today. In his lifetime, Tibet experienced a major shift in ideology and ruling structure. In 1639 the Mongols invaded and installed the 5th Dalai Lama to rule Tibet, who chose to solely emphasize the Gelugpa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. This institutional homogeneity forced the Tenth Karmapa, head of the Kagyu School, to flee Tibet.
Unconventional in nature, the Tenth Karmapa was a great bodhisatva, intellectual and artist. He left us many autobiographical accounts that shed light onto the political and ideological turmoil of his time as well as beautiful artifacts and renderings from his lifetime of artistry. It is wonderful to see that his story continues to flourish and inspire today’s minds in the chronicling of history. We are proud to share that one of UPR’s own professors, Irmgard Mengele, has just published a critical and in depth work on the Tenth Karmapa. Fresh off the printing press, this book gives us a contemporary and thoughtful analysis on the Tenth Karmapa and his fascinating life.
To order or learn more about Professor Mengele’s new book, Riding a Huge Wave of Karma: The Turbulent Life of the Tenth Karmapa, please visit:
An expert in the field, Professor Mengele (Ph.D.) studied Tibetan Studies at Hamburg University and currently teaches Buddhism in the Modern World (REL 523) at UPR.