Practitioners groups are on-going groups that meet once a week starting in October and ending in the summer. For exact meeting dates, times, and locations, please see the CSS calendar. Practitioners may sign up for multiple groups. To attend a practitioners group you need to be a current CSS member who has completed the Foundation Studies course.
Practitioners groups are not "drop-in" groups. If you need to take a leave of absence from a group, or need to be absent, please let the teacher know in advance. In addition to these on-going year-long practitioners groups listed below, CSS teachers may also offer shorter duration classes, workshops, or seminars, which last a few days or a few weeks.
2021-2022 Practitioners Groups
Foundation Studies Class (David)
The Foundation Studies Class provides a systematic study and practice of the teachings of the mystics, following Joel's book The Way of Selflessness. It is a prerequisite for joining other practitioners groups. See Foundation Studies Class. for details.
Distance Studies Course
The distance studies course is a self-directed course of study following a set curriculum, with guidance from a CSS mentor. This is an alternative to the Foundation Studies Class. For details, see Distance Studies Course.
Practitioners Group (Todd)
Days and Times: Wednesdays from 3 pm - 4:30 pm, early October through June
Description: We will be contemplating excerpted readings from various traditions, with emphasis on practices bringing compassion into direct experience, here and now. We’ll begin with a selection of poems, quotes, and excerpts from mystics across many traditions and eras. Also, we’ll begin practicing calm-abiding meditation and reading some short pieces on that subject; gradually moving into spacious Awareness practice; then practicing sending and taking meditation for a few weeks, with encouragement on truly feeling emotions. Concurrent with these practices, we will be reading and discussing a few short excerpts from the following books:
The Bridge of Quiescence, by B. Alan Wallace (Tibetan Buddhism)
No Escape, by Pema Chodron (Tibetan Buddhism)
Silent Illumination, by Guo Gu. (Chan Buddhism)
Living Presence by Kabir Helminski (Sufism)
Know Yourself, by Ibn Arabi (Sufism)
Stepping out of Self-Deception, Rodney Smith (Theravada Buddhism)
Eternity Now, Francis Lucille (Advaida Vedanta, Hindu)
The Supreme Doctrine, Hubert Benoit (Zen Buddhism)
Gospel of Thomas, by Robert Wolfe (Christian)
Hakuin on Kensho, Robert Low, (Zen Buddhism)
I will be sending all readings out via email attachments, so there is no need to purchase texts. If we return to Saratoga, in person meetings at some point, it would be helpful for everyone to have reprints to which you will be able to refer, and for those unable to print them, I will provide you with printed copies.
Practitioners Group (Andrea, "Brave, Generous, Undefended")
Days and Times: Wednesdays from 6 pm to about 8 pm, 20 Oct. until summer.
Description: Detailed reading and commentary on this book based on the Tibetan Buddhist teachings that clarify how to become and live as a Bodhisattva - a practitioner whose goal is to awaken for the benefit of all sentient life. Emphasis and pith instructions on the Relative and Absolute practices of Bodhicitta heart/mind presence of wakefulness and compassion.
Guided and Silent Meditation.
Practitioners Group (Andrea, "Magic Dance")
Days and Times: Mondays from 5:30 pm to about 7:30 pm, 11 Oct. until summer.
Description: Weekly Reading and Commentary on "Magic Dance, the Display of the Self Nature of the 5 Wisdom Dakinis" by Dzog Chen Master Thinley Norbu. This is a detailed study of profound Vajrayana teachings of the Buddhist Master Thinley Norbu. Andrea received these teachings directly from Thinley Norbu Rinpoche, and would like to share this view with CSS practitioners who have completed Foundational Studies at the Center. We will do guided meditations, silent meditations and class reading from cover to cover, along with group discussion to clarify and draw out our deepest intention and wisdom at the core of our practices.
Practitioners Group (Andrea, "Trauma and the Unbound Body")
Days and Times: TBD, mid Oct. until summer.
Description: Detailed reading cover to cover, commentary and guided meditation on this book on the Healing Power of Fundamental Consciousness, " Trauma and the Unbound Body" by Judith Blackstone,PHD. This course is being offered again this coming season, due to its profound effect on prior participants and their feedback For new and repeating attendees - this class will continue to be offered, to deepen practice. This course includes very transformative subtle body and mind practices.
Practitioners Group (David)
Days and Times: Tuesday afternoon / Thursday evenings, starting late Sept./early Oct. until summer.
Description: Our basic procedure is to read, discuss, and practice teachings about the path to enlightenment. We do this to deepen our practice, for it is practice, not understanding, that reveals the truth of the mystical teachings. Our basic text is Joel’s book The Way of Selflessness. It is the fundamental presentation of the Center's teaching. Understanding its main themes gives a practitioner a solid foundation for practice. Other texts from all traditions are also studied.