Practitioners groups are on-going groups for CSS members who want to dedicate themselves to practicing the teachings of the mystics from the major religious traditions. These groups 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. The Foundation Studies course is a prerequisite to attend other practitioners groups.
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.
2022-2023 Practitioners Groups
Foundation Studies Class (Todd)
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)
Location: Zoom (possibly hybrid later in the year)
Days and Times: Wednesdays from 3 pm - 4:30 pm, early October 5 through May 31
Description: We’ll be reading select manuscripts and opening into direct experience through various meditations and contemplations. The readings and practices will begin with an excerpt from Judith Blackstone’s The Enlightenment Process. Then we’ll take up an excerpt from Chan master, Guo Gu’s book, Silent Illumination. Somewhere in here, we’ll also be reading a piece on tonglen from Pema Chodron’s book, Start Where You Are, and we’ll engage this practice for a few weeks. Then, we’ll discuss Zen Master Robert Lowe’s book: Hakuin on Kensho, and Tibetan Buddhist Rinpoche, Aanon Thubten’s Embracing each moment. Next is an article by Joan Tollifson, entitled Enjoying the Perfection of Imperfection and another article by zen practitioner Darlene Cohen, entitled: The only way I know of to Alleviate suffering, and finally an excerpt from mystic, Steven Harrison’s book Doing Nothing. I will be sending all readings out via email attachments to all participants, so there is no need to purchase texts.
Practitioners Group (Andrea, "Brave, Generous, Undefended, Part 2")
Days and Times: Wednesdays from 6 pm to about 8 pm, Oct. until summer.
Practitioners Group (Andrea, "The Practice of the Great Perfection, Part 1")
Days and Times: Mondays from 6 pm to 8 pm, Oct. until summer.
Description: Weekly classes Part 1. Commentary and Meditations following the Shambhala 2020 publication Practicing the Great Perfection by Shechen Gyaltsap Gyurme Pema Namgyal. This is an extraordinarily clear translation from the Tibetan into English by the Padmakara Translation Group.
Practitioners Group (David)
Days and Times: Two sections: Tuesdays 4:30-6:00pm / Thursdays 7:00-9:00pm, starting late Sept./early Oct. until summer.
Description: The Tuesday ("East") session is reading and discussing Salvadore Po’s book "Liberation Is: The End of the Spiritual Path." We read and discuss each chapter’s contents each week. So far people have enjoyed this procedure, as Po’s writing is stimulating, and different from much of what’s available regarding the spiritual path. The Thursday session ("West") is reading and discussing Nisargadatta Maharaj’s book “I am That.” We read and discuss this book, which is now considered a modern spiritual classic, and which stimulates much conversation.