Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent

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Friday 10/20/2017 - Sunday 10/22/2017
7:30 pm - 1:00 pm

Program Leader
Rabbi Rami Shapiro


The spiritually independent are seekers of wisdom who do not limit themselves to any one religion or body of sacred texts and teachings. Perennial Wisdom refers to shared insights at the mystic heart of all religions. The Second Axial Age is our current age of struggle and renewal. Blending conversation and contemplation in a search for a vibrant Second Axial spirituality rooted in Perennial Wisdom, this retreat invites you to celebrate your spiritual independence and deepen your spiritual life.

Friday Evening: Spirituality in the Second Axial Age. The First Axial Age happened between 800 and 200 BCE when the focus of religion shifted from magic to ethics, and fear to compassion. The Second Axial Age began in 1893 with the first gathering of the Parliament of World’s Religions. Like its predecessor, compassion is at its core. The difference between these two axial ages is simple: the First Axial Age was tribal, the Second is global. The impact of Second Axial spirituality on our lives is the topic of our opening conversation.

Saturday Morning: Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent. Like politically independent people who borrow ideas from a variety of political parties without aligning with any one party, spiritually independent people borrow texts, teachings, and practices from a number of religions without identifying with any one religion in particular. In this conversation we explore the four key teachings of Perennial Wisdom, and how they can speak to you and your life.

Saturday Afternoon: Perennial Wisdom and the Five Questions. Five questions shape the human search for meaning: Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? How should I live? and Why? In this conversation we will take up each question in turn from the perspective of Perennial Wisdom, and learn how to use them to enrich the quality of our lives.

Saturday Evening: Perennial Wisdom and the Sacred Art of Loving–kindness. Given the centrality of compassion to the spirituality of the Second Axial Age, we will spend the evening experimenting with tools for cultivating compassion.

Sunday Morning: Passage Meditation and the World Wisdom Bible in the context of Second Axial Spirituality. Passage meditation, a practice created by Eknath Easwaran, consists of memorizing and repeating sacred texts as a means of seeding our minds with wisdom. The World Wisdom Bible is an anthology of texts suitable for this practice. This conversation focuses on how to use Passage Meditation in your daily life.

Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award–winning author of over thirty books on religion and spirituality. Rami received rabbinical ordination from the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in 1981, a Ph.D. in religious studies from Union Graduate School in 1985, and initiation into the Ramakrishna Order of Vedanta Hinduism by Swami Swahananda in 2011.

A congregational rabbi for 20 years and a Professor of Religious Studies for 10, Rami currently directs the One River Foundation for the study of Perennial Wisdom and heads its World Wisdom Bible project. Rabbi Rami writes the Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler column for Spirituality and Health magazine, and hosts the magazine’s weekly podcast, Essential Conversations with Rabbi Rami (www.spiritualityhealth.com).

Among Rami’s many books are three central to this weekend: The Sacred Art of Loving–kindness, Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent, and The World Wisdom Bible.

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