While brief bursts of inspiration can reignite our commitment to our spiritual journeys, many of us are challenged to sustain the same level of enthusiasm over time. Why is this? I recently asked about 40 people in a journaling workshop I facilitated what barriers they have encountered in using writing as a spiritual practice. Their answers, while focused on writing, were identical to the types of challenges I commonly hear people in my interspiritual coaching practice express as challenges on their spiritual journeys: 1) self-judgments, 2) not having enough time for practice, and 3) lack of clear intention.
Many people today are attracted to the world’s indigenous cultures, sensing these ancient ways touch the enigma of the soul which is so fundamentally lacking in mainstream society. Yet there might be a blind spot in this approach to ancestral spirituality, one that became apparent to me while living alongside indigenous elders for many years. Helping to unite this gap between worlds has since become my life’s work.
At the end of a silent meditation retreat at Triple Crane Monastery, we often hear that people experienced many kinds of benefits such as: increased flexibility, increased energy, a reduction in stress and anxiety, a feeling of being more connected to their own senses, more happiness, a discovery of their innate abilities, more insight, and an increase in wisdom. However, some may say these are only the superficial benefits of meditation. Are there greater benefits from a truly deep meditation?
The Center for Consciousness Science at the U-M Medical School was inaugurated in June 2014 by its Founder and Executive Director, Dr. George Mashour. That was around the same time that Dr. Tarik Bel-Bahar arrived in Ann Arbor. We were approached by Bel-Bahar in mid-2015, who suggested that CCS’s mission and activities might be ripe for a story in the CW Journal. We agreed. So what follows is an interview with Dr. Bel-Bahar, about the Center and its work. For long-time Crazy Wisdom Journal readers, this is a “must-read” about exciting work on the frontiers of consciousness research being done right here in Ann Arbor, right at the University, in the Medical School, no less.