ISM COURSE SUMMARY
ISM (InterSpiritual Meditation) is a seven-step contemplative process that can be shared by people from many perspectives and traditions. It can be practiced alone and in community with others. It pulls together key elements of contemplation and meditation shared by many traditions. In this process we gather in the language of silence and experience inter-connectedness. Joining in stillness, we don’t impose on others our own personal beliefs, rituals, or the names for our absolute truths, deities, or God. We honor and celebrate the wise and compassionate practices of all traditions. We discover a profound unity within our diversity. We flourish in the love, peace, compassion, gratitude, and the strength of our shared wisdom. We are of one heart. Quietly, each in our own way, we join in the following seven stages together. The sound of a bell leads us from one stage to the next.
In this course we will cultivate these qualities. Following is an outline of the course.
This 9-week online course is based on the following printed books that should be purchased for the course.
- InterSpiritual Meditation
- Meditations for InterSpiritual Practice
- Workbook and Journal for InterSpiritual Meditation
Our goals are to:
- Cultivate and refine our personal contemplative practice.
- Create a contemplative practice drawn either from a single tradition or from diverse secular and spiritual traditions.
- Develop a practice that resonates with our personal spiritual style.
- Build a mutually supportive learning and contemplative community wherein diversity is honored.
- Integrate our contemplative practice into our relationships, professions and service.
- Work towards becoming certified InterSpiritual Mentor.
This course engages contemplative experience, intellect, and interpersonal sharing. Our classes contain the following elements:
- Selected readings from “InterSpiritual Meditation.”
- Selected readings from “Meditations for InterSpiritual Wisdom.”
- Supplementary written, audio, and video resource materials.
- Weekly audio and video instructions by the teacher on each step on ISM.
- Daily individual and guided meditations.
- Weekly live webinars recorded for later listening.
- Personal journaling and reflections on each step of the meditation.
- Worksheets for each of the seven steps in the meditation.
- Work with a dyad partner and mentor.
My intention is to provide you with a process to engage in the inner art and science of meditation in a way that is compatible with your own life experience, spiritual perspectives, spiritual learning style, questions, chosen tradition, and the teachings and examples of others. It is meant to help you to recognize, cultivate, and utilize the special capacities of consciousness that can be your internal allies for transformation. It is also meant to help you bring together practices and perspectives you have gained in your previous studies with other teachers and traditions. In this way, these seven steps will provide a container in which you can include accumulated wisdom from may sources.
Your journaling will help to marry your intellectual understanding and your contemplative and meditative experience into a single, coherent, and comprehensive practice. Based on the extensive writings in your journal, you will create brief summaries of your personal purpose, content, and focus for each of the seven steps of contemplation and meditation. Each step in your meditation will be based on the summaries of your journal writings.
This online course also contains poems, stanzas, and scriptural passages from many spiritual traditions that pertain to each of the seven steps. These will help inspire and stimulate your own contemplative process to be recorded in the journal. If you have your own favorite poems, writings, songs, etc., to stimulate your journaling, please utilize these as well.
I am also providing lots of questions to stimulate your search for personally meaningful answers. These questions are designed to help you dig deeply, gain clarity, open up to the contemplative wisdom of other great teachers, and bring forth your inner knowledge. You needn’t be confined by the questions listed here. Rather, honor your own questions and trust that this contemplative process will help you find answers.
Through a process of systematic journaling and meditation on each of the seven steps, you will forge and refine a meditation that is at once rooted in your tradition, and/or a reflection of the sum total of your life experiences and experiments with truth.
Please remember that Steps 1–4 are contemplative. Here, as you focus on each topic, you will bring to mind your personal journal summaries for each. These summaries provide the content for your contemplation.
In Steps 5–6 you enter into the actual meditation. Here, you engage your mind in a more single pointed, non-conceptual focus on your chosen object(s) of meditation. This can be the meditation you already practice or one that you create for this particular process. If you don’t have a specific meditation practice, the breathing meditations explained in the two books will provide you with a place to begin. Your journaling will also help you to refine the ‘objects’ and purposes for these steps of meditation.
Finally, in Step 7, you return to the contemplative mode as you formulate the dedication you have developed in your journaling.