“Practical Mysticism,” is intended to provide support for the mystical journey on which one embarks when one begins to seek both deeper understanding of one’s spirituality and how that spirituality motivates and informs one’s spiritual, caring, and healing work in the world.
Program can support all students in healing modalities, spiritual studies, and life coaching. Courses can be cross-listed as Spiritual Studies, Cultural Studies, or Cultural Anthropology.
Certificate: 100 hours, 30 Credits
Mysticism, an Introduction. 10 hours, 3 Credits.
Students are introduced to various mystical traditions found in major world religions including, Khaballah, Sufism, Zen, etc. Study of sacred texts, poetry, chanting, meditation, and other practices is included. The relationship of mystical traditions to their “parent,” religions is explored along with their historical context.
Living Life as a Spiritual Being, pts. 1, 2, & 3. 10 hours, 3 Credits each.
Course meets for 10 weeks, 2 hours per week. Each session involves guided discussion of various mystical texts, still and moving meditations, breathwork and other appropriate esoteric practices along with personalized support for each student’s ongoing spiritual and healing work.
Texts: Part 1: “The Parliament of the Birds,” by Attar.
Part 2: “The Secret Garden,” by Shabistari.
Part 3: “The Seven Storey Mountain,” by Merton
Optional Texts: “The Imitation of Christ,” by a’Kempis, “A Bowlful of Saki,” by Khan, “Zen Flesh, Zen Bones,” by Reps, ed., and “This is the New Age in Person,” by Lewis.
Khaballah, an Introduction. 10 hours, 3 Credits.
This mystical tradition of Judaism has enjoyed greater exposure and public awareness while providing a growing number of people with deeper spiritual experience. Students explore basic tenets and practices while studying the historical context and traditions of the Khaballah.
Shamanic Traditions. 10 hours, 3 Credits.
Students will study the historical contexts in which shamanism arose, the contemporary cultures in which it remains active, and the differences and similarities between traditional and modern shamanism. Practices including chanting, breathwork, drumming, and trance will be explored.
Hildegaard, Eckhart, and the Christian Mystics. 10 hours, 3 Credits.
Writings, sermons, music, and the lives of Hildegaard von Bingen, Meister Eckhart, Thomas a’Kempis and other Christian mystics of the Middle Ages inform this exploration of the mystical tradition in Christianity.
Whirling, Chanting, Poems, Dancing: Sufism from the Deserts to the Heavens. 10 hours, 3 Credits.
Whether descended from the Mystery Schools of Egypt or the secret teachings of Mohammed, Sufism’s practices and traditions include poetry full of meanings within meanings, chants and prayers, moving meditations such as the “sema,” the turning dance of the Dervishes, the modern Dances of Universal Peace, and zikr, the returning to oneness with the Divine. Students will study the poetry of Rumi, Attar, Shabistari, Gibran and others, and explore various practices of this ancient and modern mystical tradition.
Beyond the Illusions of the World, Gnostics and the Union with All. 10 hours, 3 Credits.
Gnosticism informed Judaism and early Christianity so greatly that Gnostic Christianity was the dominant form of the religion in the first centuries of the Church. Gnostic cosmology, history, and traditions will be explored as well as texts including some found at Qumran. Students will also examine the similarities and differences between the ancient and modern expressions of Gnosticism.
Mystical Practicum. 10 hours, 3 Credits.
This capstone course provides support for student-created and student-directed service learning projects. Students will demonstrate how their spirituality and mystical journey supports and energizes their service and healing work in the community.
Program Organization, Course Order, & Intentions
Each course is intended to be experiential as well as academic. As appropriate, various chants, meditations, songs, dances, drumming, etc., and esoteric practices are included in each class session.
The Mystical Practicum serves to provide students the opportunity to create a project that demonstrates how their work in the world both supports and is supported by their spirituality. It also meets current best practices for community college service learning courses and requirements.
The introductory course in Mysticism is the prerequisite for all other courses. The three parts of Living Life as a Spiritual Being are best experienced in order, but can be joined at any part of the sequence as the order of texts repeats in a cycle. Any of the other courses can be taken simultaneously with the Living Life as a Spiritual Being courses.