Newsletter of the Center for Sacred Sciences

Vol. 33, No. 1 • Winter 2020


Merry Song's Account of Awakening

Merry Song, Joel, and Todd


At a special CSS community night meeting on the evening of November 6, 2019, long-time CSS practitioner Merry Song shared an account of her spiritual path and series of Awakenings leading up to her accepting the role of a teacher at the Center. After a spontaneous spiritual initiation to awareness by intense fear, she was compelled to follow a deep spiritual longing that took her to Breitenbush where she experienced a profound opening to radiant selflessness, years of devoted Vipassana training with Ruth Denison, and practice at CSS with Joel, who gave her a teaching to "Go as Nothing" which stayed with her for decades.

Merry Song first met Joel and joined the Center in 1993 and has been associated with the Center ever since. An edited transcript of Merry Song's account is available here, as well as a video here.


Fall 2019 Retreat: Following Where Love's Camels Turn


Front Row: Trudy Naylor, Maura Scanlon, Marijke McCandless, Matthew Sieradski, Joel, Hiromi Sieradski, Darla Heil, Hillery Kyablue, Shannon Wylie. Middle Row: Debra Meadow, Jay McCandless, Aileen McNamara, Shirley Chase, Liba Stafl, Nancy Miller, Sally Snyder, Laura Betty, Mike Barkhuff. Back Row: Jim Zajac, Jack Yousey, Laurina Peters, Matt McNall, Jim Carson, Bev Forster, Mora Fields, Rick Ahrens. Not pictured: Fred Chambers, Jim Patterson

Retreat Report by Laura Betty

We went on an epic journey with Joel in search of the Beloved during the 2019 fall retreat entitled "Following Love's Camels." Joel took us on a caravan of love across the landscape of the soul in search of the Divine.

We were introduced to Merciful Breath and the Mother of the World, images representing the arising power of breath and dissolving (out) breath of appreciation.

I found myself asking for help: Help to long for the Beloved. And, what does that feel like, that longing? A quiet sound and image came to me: " I am always with you." The image and quiet sound seemed to emanate from my heart.

Joel said, "The whole path is facing death!" The biggest fear is our own death — the death of the ego.

While we were in a meditation to "surrender all effort — do nothing," my guru appeared to me in two forms: One as a young, happy, laughing image in my heart and then, also, as an old, fragile, bent-over person at my right elbow. At first I was irritated with this "person" at my elbow. Then I welcomed the image. What a contradiction! But the "elderly" image said nothing. It seemed to want to get my attention, to take me by my elbow...

Thank you Joel. Thank you Sangha. Thank you to all the mystics who have illuminated this Path.

-Laura, CSS Retreat Coordinator

Retreat Recap by Joel

The title of this retreat was "Following Where Love's Camels Turn," taken from a poem by the 13th century Sufi shaikh Ibn 'Arabi:

My heart is capable of every form;
A cloister for monks, a temple for idols,
A pasture for gazelles, the worshipers' Ka'ba,
The Tables of the Torah, the Qur'an.
Love is the creed I hold; wherever turn
His camels, Love is still my creed and faith.

Our caravan began its journey in the Land of Delusion where we had been living in exile. Our destination was the Abode of the Beloved, which was our original home, our true nature. The journey would be an interior one, across the landscape of our souls.

Joel leading a "Camel" at Cloud Mt. (photo by Rick Ahrens)

Our first task was to learn to ride our camels by practicing the breath-of-the-all-merciful (concentration meditation), which we then expanded into the mother-of-the-world (choiceless awareness meditation). Having mastered these contemplative skills, we collected our camels from the Pastures of Passing Pleasures, where they had been absent-mindedly grazing, and set out on our journey.

The first leg took us across the River of Impermanence to the Rock of Renunciation. Here we surrendered all hope of attaining happiness by pursuing the fleeting things of this world, and set our hearts firmly on reaching the Abode of the Beloved.

Next we entered the Desert of Detachment, where we lightened our load by allowing everything we falsely identified as belonging to our separate selves — bodily sensations, desires, aversions, feelings, thoughts, memories and stories — to self-liberate. We also learned how to transform the love and longing which lies at the root of all our afflicted emotions, caused by worldly circumstances, into love and longing for the Divine Beloved. This brought us into the Valley of Surrender where our camels picked up the scent of the Beloved.

Following that scent led us into two gardens: The first was the Garden of Inner Treasures, where we realized that all our interior experiences — our breath, bodily sensations, sounds, tastes, smells, sight, and even our thoughts — were actually activities of the Beloved; Then, we entered the second Garden of Outer Treasures, where we realized that everything outside of our selves — the rocks and trees, earth and sky, cougars and bears — were, likewise, all expressions of the Beloved. Finally, after exploring these treasures, we paused to drink from the Well of Oneness, where we blissfully tasted the Truth that the distinction between 'inner' and 'outer', 'self' and 'world' is only imaginary, and that, ultimately, every 'thing' is a manifestation of the One Beloved.

When we tried to move on, however, we were surprised to discover our caravan had run into a dead end in the Canyon of Desolation. Here, our practices no longer seemed to work. We could no longer get our camels to advance by our own efforts. The only way out was to surrender our self-will to the will of the Beloved. And the more we were able to do this, the more we were able to catch the breeze of grace that's always blowing.

Grace, in turn, guided us to the Sun of Mercy, which melted away all those deep-seated feelings of pride, guilt, shame, and/or despair that had continued to fuel our delusion of self at an almost subconscious level. Having been forgiven our own most secret sins, we then emerged onto the Field of Forgiveness, where it was now easy to forgive those who had sinned against us. But there was still one more painful memory we had to confront before we could move on.

Descending even deeper into ourselves, we entered the Cave of the Broken Heart, where most of us uncovered a last worldly hope to which we still clung. This was the hope that a primal wound, a major heart-break we had suffered in the past would someday be healed and then we would at last be happy. But now we realized it was time to let go of that fantasy and allow our hearts to break open completely. Only then would we be truly naked and ready to meet our Beloved face-to-face.

With our hearts completely open, we emerged from the Cave of the Broken Heart to find ourselves surrounded by a thick fog of bewilderment. Now, in a state of emptiness (kenosis), stripped of all desires, aversions, regrets, expectations, hopes and fears, there was nowhere to go and nothing to do. Even our camels had wandered off in the mists. All we knew was that somehow we had reached the top of a mountain from which it was impossible to either ascend or descend.

This was the Mount of Self-Sacrifice, the end of the road for our caravan. And it was here that we received from our Beloved the "kiss" of Enlightenment, which put to death our deluded selves and revealed our true nature to be none other than the Beloved, Herself.

Having Realized our true nature, the fog of bewilderment instantly lifted, and we began our descent down the mountain, back the way we had come: through the Cave of Broken Hearts, the Field of Forgiveness, the Canyon of Desolation, the Well of Oneness, the two Treasure Gardens, the Valley of Surrender, the Desert of Detachment, the River of Impermanence, even the Pastures of Passing Pleasures — where our camels were once again contentedly grazing — and we saw that it was all the Abode of the Beloved! In fact, we had never really left home. Our apparent exile in the Land of Delusion had been nothing more than a bad dream — a nightmare from which we were now finally and forever Awakened!



New Distance Studies Graduate Sara Jensen

I have always been on a spiritual quest, ever since receiving my first bible at the age of nine. There were many trials and errors in fitting into a specific faith tradition. I started Transcendental Meditation in the 70’s and felt there was “something” there. But I was wrapped up in my career, finding a husband and settling into an acceptable middle class lifestyle.

Sara Jensen

After a very abrupt end to my physically abusive marriage, I began again to find a spiritual path that resonated with me. I was raised Christian and enjoyed the rituals and quietness of Sunday service but I couldn’t buy into the dogma that came along with it. I found yoga in 2003 at the time both of my parents were dying of cancer. Yoga was a refreshing outlook on existence. The only person guiding me was myself rather than outside rules and expectations. That led me to yoga teacher training in 2005. Along the way, I met Jim and Kimberly Carson and attended one of their retreats in 2017. My curiosity was awakened. My focus turned from a purely physical yoga practice to the more subtle effects of meditation. I had glimpses of that stillness and Oneness with the universe. One of the recommended books leaving the retreat was The Way of Selflessness. I devoured it during the next year. I was on my own then, reading and practicing the meditations. I wasn’t consciously aware that the Center for Sacred Sciences existed. After the second retreat with the Carsons, it was suggested I listen to Joel’s audio recordings.

Once I got to the website, I discovered the Distance Studies Course. I applied, was accepted and Annie O’Shea was assigned my mentor. More was revealed the second time through the book, and having Annie to discuss my experiences and questions was invaluable. It was comforting to have someone who told me I’m not crazy. Annie was delightful in our conversations in that she gently guided me in understanding Joel’s teachings, whether in the book or audios. The most important thought Annie kept emphasizing to me was to trust my inner wisdom and teacher. I didn’t have to have a timeline to complete the course. I didn’t have to stick with practices that weren’t resonating with me. Trust my True Self. Let Consciousness guide me.

Reading The Way of Selflessness is wonderful. The audios are enlightening. But having a mentor — someone who has walked the path — is invaluable in the delving into the nuances of the Distance Studies Course. I’d recommend it to anyone who is serious and dedicated in finding their True Self.

-Sara Jensen


CSS Building Goes Solar

New metal roof
Late this summer CSS installed a new metal roof with a photovoltaic (PV) solar electric system. Our metal roof panels were manufactured in Salem, OR, have a lifetime warranty, and are Class A fire rated. In addition, unlike other roofing products, after it's very long life the steel is 100% recyclable and is recognized as a sustainable building product.
The solar electric system we installed uses 10 Sunpower PV commercial solar panels, or modules, coupled with SolarEdge optimizers, which allows each module to operate independently, guaranteeing a high rate of harvesting sunlight into usable power for the building. Our system is capable of producing 3.95 kWp (kilowattpeak), and was sized based on our annual electric consumption. Estimates by our contractor show that it will offset approximately 97% of our annual electricity usage.
Solar panel installation


So, how does it work? The solar PV modules convert the energy in sunlight to direct current (DC) electricity. This DC electricity is then converted by an inverter to standard alternating current (AC) electricity. Our system uses new “micro-inverters,” which were installed with each solar PV module. These micro-inverters can have a much longer lifespan (all the way up to 25 years) than a central inverter, and if one does fail, it won’t shut down our entire system.

When the solar PV modules are operating, they will convert the sun’s radiance into electrical energy, which is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). Our solar PV modules will produce approximately 4345 kWh a year. CSS consumes on average around 12 kWh per day, totalling 4380 kWh per year. Our system was installed following guidelines from EWEB, using a system known as net metering. With net metering, the EWEB meter records the net amount of energy generated through the solar PV system. When the solar panels are creating more electricity than we're using, the meter will spin backwards and the excess electricity is sent to the electric grid. This helps to offset the cost of our electricity usage at night or on cloudy days when we are using more electricity than the panels produce.

Solar panels

Speaking of cloudy days, solar PV modules work just fine when it’s cloudy, rainy, and/or cold. Although they are most effective in direct sunlight, solar PV modules can still generate power when the sun is blocked by clouds – more than enough, in fact, to remain a viable source of electricity. As for winter, there’s some even better news: solar PV modules are powered by light, not heat, and because of the way the technology works, they’re just as effective in cooler temperatures. The earth can absorb more energy in one hour than the world uses in one year, according to former US Energy Secretary and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Chu, so harnessing solar energy is something of a no-brainer!

(EWEB fun fact: currently there are approximately 600 residential customers and 120 business customers with solar PV systems installed.)


Retreat Experiences

The Fall 2019 retreat inspired the following contributions from retreatants.

The Poverty of Autumn

by Debra Meadow 

They are a couple of show-offs,
Glowing ember red in the just right light.
What right do they have to wear rubies?
Ah, but they know their birthright
And nothing was unlearned to claim it.
They own nothing,
Not even the amber big-leaves
That came to rest in their arms,
Like a baby does,
To be comforted, not possessed.

Each one of us holds our breath as we pass the pair,
As if that will make time stand still.
Maybe, she hopes, if I do not breathe
God will forget to change the scene.
Maybe, he thinks, the red dress will forget it means to fall away
And rot
And send out just such a musty smell
As to recall a long-ago romp in a raked-up pile,
The warmth of being embraced,
Not owned, by time.


Drishyam shariram (“Everything perceived is ones true body”)

by Jim Carson

Well past noon on a clear crispy cold autumn day.
Scarlet red Japanese maple leaves greet the eyes by Diamond Hall.
Hot ginger tea pleases along with a bit of honey.
Fluffy furry kitty sweetly meows & stops to be scratched.
Brook gurgles, swirling down and around.
Faint scent of wood smoke from yesterday’s bonfire drifts by.
Tall adolescent Doug firs reach for the blue sky.
Brilliantly orange-colored tiny mushrooms mirror the sun.
Shadowed ground patches covered by frozen dew-fall weakly resist, then emit a loud “crunch” as they give way to foot steps.
Lime-green miniature moss grows gratefully in the sunlight.
Stag scat glistens as it defrosts.
Mountain stands forth big bright & white completely unveiled.
Hawk screeches & soars circling overhead.
Gun shots resound in the distance.
Train whistles, & chugs slowly by.
Heart calmly rejoices.
Mind gives thanks.

Oh Maple Leaves, Oh Maple Leaves

by Mike Barkhuff

Here upon the group you lay
Piled higher day by day

Falling from the trees like snow
More so when the wind does blow

Gold, yellow tan and brown
The rain will come and pound you down

Right now you are ankle deep
But nature says you are to seep

Into the ground
So again you may come around

To nourish and renew
The young green leaves that come after you.


Retreat Summary and Experience

by Marijke McCandless

I found my room on the backside of Diamond Hall and peaked in, breathing a huge sigh of relief: my own hermitage, a room of one’s own. For the next nine days and nights I would retreat to this abode while sojourning inward to the abode of the Beloved.

I had heard that the title of this year’s retreat was “Following Love’s Camels.” Oh, how that title alone whispered sweet nothings in my ear, calling to something deeper, although I had no idea what it meant. Camels?

On the first day Joel read from Ibn Arabi, whose writing inspired the title:

Love is the creed I hold;
wherever turn His camels,
Love is still my creed and faith.
~Ibn Arabi

Joel explained this would be a different kind of bhakti retreat, and, as if to mark this distinctly different retreat, he even ended the first day without the usual quote, but instead:

Come, come whoever you are.
Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving.
It doesn’t matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times.
Come yet again, come, come.

Joel told us we would form a caravan of love and wend our way across the landscape of the soul in search of the Divine Beloved. We would be led by our heart’s intuition. Our caravan of no despair would travel from the Land of Delusion to the Abode of the Beloved, visiting important terrain landmarks and milestones along the way.

Although we did not learn ahead of time where we would be going, by the end of the retreat, we had passed through each of the following, entering on our own and investigating that very different terrain in our own heart:

  • Land of Exile
  • Pasture of Passing Pleasures
  • River of Impermanence
  • Rock of Renunciation
  • Desert of Detachment
  • Valley of Surrender
  • Gardens of Inner and Outer Treasures
  • Well of Oneness
  • Canyon of Desolation, where we might look for the
    Wailing Wall
    Breeze of Grace
    Sun of Mercy, before arriving at the
  • Field of Forgiveness
  • Cave of the Broken Heart
  • Fog of Bewilderment
  • Mountain of Self Sacrifice

Our journey was uniquely fueled as well.

The first full day we launched into our normal meditation practices: concentration and choiceless awareness, but this time with a Bhakti twist.

Joel directed us to our hearts and read from several mystics who each independently call out the heart as the Abode of the Beloved.

Our concentration practice, he said, would be a bit more than a simple paying attention to the breath. On this retreat, with every breath during concentration practice, we would imagine we were breathing in the “Breath of the Merciful One,” who created life anew in each moment. And, during choiceless awareness, we would imagine ourselves to be “The Mother of the World.”

For me, the great takeaway of this retreat was found in this very first lesson—this Breath of the Merciful One.

My own meditation practice had started over twenty years ago with a mantra practice that was not tied to the breath. I had found that when I tried to switch to breath meditation I was subtly controlling the breath. I most often resorted to mantra meditation or choiceless awareness. But on this retreat, even if we had a mantra practice we were encouraged to combine it with a breath meditation, so the opportunity was ripe to thoroughly investigate breath meditation.

We were reminded of the importance of our night practice and instructed to pay attention to and write down our dreams. My dreams, though exceedingly simple, quickly set the tone and further instructed me.

Early on I dreamt about a “Quality Assurance Manager,” who was the Overseer of Human Bodies. The Quality Assurance Manager in my dream was an odd mix of Laura (our retreat coordinator) but with the face of a guy at work. It took me a while to make the connection, until I realized that person’s title at work is the “Controller.”

Multiple mid-retreat dreams had to do with variations of “to do” lists. In one I was giving a presentation of multiple car accidents, making “to do” lists of the areas that needed to be fixed.

On the last day of the retreat, my last dream image was of a fading vision just as I awoke. I quickly scribbled it in my journal, recognizing it as one of the Osho Zen Tarot cards. What was it? It turns out it was the King of Clouds, or “Control” card—a reminder to remain uncontrolled, flowing, alive.

So, for me the retreat was about letting go of control and doing—and it all started with the breath.

Just before this retreat, I had read that there are two areas in the body responsible for breathing: the autonomous respiratory system and the brain. The difference between the two: autonomic breathing requires no attention to maintain, whereas voluntary breathing involves a given amount of focus.

Somehow, whenever I began breath meditation, I was triggering the control mechanism. I was approaching breath meditation as something “to do.”

So, how to stop?

That first day, the title of the retreat, “Following Love’s Camels” gave me an approach. Instead of focusing on my breath, or paying close attention to it, I would simply “follow” it. I imagined that I was my own lover and that I was following my lover’s breath—the Breath of the Merciful One.

What ensued for the next nine days was an astounding breath meditation practice. Not only did any vestiges of control over the breath completely disappear, but breath meditation became blissful. The Breath of the Merciful One was an enveloping warm intimate sweet tasting embrace between me and the Beloved, except that I couldn’t tell where I ended and The Beloved began. In my mind I thought there should be two breaths: mine and The Beloved’s, but there was only one. Breath follower and breather were one.

Every meditation (with the exception of two where the body was having an allergic reaction) on retreat was this way. And, today, meditating here at home—although the mind’s activities are louder—when I return to the breath, it remains the same—there is no longer breath control, only a sweet embrace.

One day on retreat, I took that sweet embrace out into the forest. We were looking for the Garden of Outer Treasures and just before we left to explore on our own outside, Joel read us a couple of quotes, One was a Sufi saying: Allah’s pen writes on the world’s soul to create all these forms. Another was All created things are God’s speech. These quotes appealed to the writer in me—the one who wants to express.

As I walked through the forest, all labels completely fell away. I looked at the forest and saw that the whole universe was a love letter to itself, spoken in an unfathomable unintelligible foreign language that you grok by being enmeshed in it, by seeing yourself in it, by knowing that it is all you expressing yourself . . . not something to be read in translation.

This stirred a deep yearning within myself—a call, perhaps—to express (with words) my own devotion and appreciation for the mystery and awe, connection and aliveness—to engage in spiritual writing.

Within a week of returning home from the retreat, I gave notice. Work felt like a frivolous pursuit that reified both doing and control and wasted precious time that could be spent in devotion and expression.

During this retreat the re-written words to The Lord’s Prayer came through. I had no religious training in childhood, but at some point, for whatever reason, I learned The Lord’s Prayer.

Here is a “Following Love’s Camels” version of The Lord’s Prayer:

Oh, Mother of the World, who art in the abode of the Beloved,
With reverence we say thy name
Thy camels come
Thy will be done
In Form as it is Emptiness

Give us this day our merciful breaths,
And forgive us our rampant thoughts,
As we forgive those with rampant thoughts against us

And lead our camels not to distraction
But deliver us from delusion

For thine is the Caravan of No despair, the Sun of Mercy and the Breeze of Grace
Forever and ever



Morality and Mathematics, by Tom McFarlane

Tom McFarlane

I have a vivid memory from my first or second year of college when discussing mathematics with an older student. I don’t remember the specific topic, but at one point he pointed out to me that mathematical truths are only true relative to particular axioms and definitions that we have assumed, and that they are not true independently, in and of themselves. Moreover, the axioms are merely assumed to be true, and do not rest on any deeper foundation. This may not have been the first time I considered this, but in this particular instance the insight was especially profound for me. None of our mathematical theorems is true in any context-independent way. And yet, mathematics is the paradigm of certain knowledge. On the one hand, once we clearly specify a particular set of axioms and definitions, there is no ambiguity or doubt or uncertainty about what statements are and are not true relative to that context. (For example, no postmodern critique or skeptic can ever show that there is a largest natural number, or that the Pythagorean theorem is not true in Euclidean geometry.) On the other hand, in mathematics we are free to choose any axioms and definitions we like, and true statements will change accordingly. (Finite fields can have a largest number, and the Pythagorean theorem is false in non-Euclidean geometry.) So there is no absolute, context-independent truth.

For me personally, this insight had implications far beyond mathematics. For example, in situations where I would find my own ideas in conflict with the ideas of someone else, instead of following the impulse to prove myself right and them wrong, or figure out who is “really” right, I would instead seek to understand in what sense each is true in its own context. How do our assumptions or definitions differ? Of course, there is always the possibility that we do share common assumptions and definitions but one of us is simply being inconsistent. But the effect of the insight was to give others the benefit of the doubt, to look at apparently conflicting positions as alternatives that can be true in their own context instead of as opposed to each other in a dogmatic battle for truth. Many years later, I wrote a playful parable about this insight here.

I think it is fair to say that this insight from mathematics has had for me a moral dimension insofar as it has personally helped to support an attitude of openness and interest in superficially conflicting ideas and opposing viewpoints. This kind of openness is essentially a form of love. The golden rule would have us consider the perspectives of others not as opposed to our own but as another possibility to be understood on its own terms, on equal footing with our own.

The insight has also helped clarify my thinking about certain general issues of morality, such as the problem of moral relativity. On the one hand, the insight implies that moral principles are not absolute, context-independent truths. They are either assumptions, or based upon assumptions. And such moral relativity implies that, ultimately, there is no absolute moral foundation. This can raise the concern that everyone can then have their own personal morality and assert that there is no basis for saying their morality is any less valid than anyone else’s. But this is no more a concern than it is a concern that mathematics allows each person to choose their own definitions and axioms and develop their own mathematical theorems. They are free, as a matter of principle, to do so. In practice, however, if a mathematician wants to be a member of a community, they are obliged to use conventional definitions and focus their research on areas of mathematics that are considered by the community to be relevant. For example, I’m free to make up my own idiosyncratic definitions for common mathematical concepts like “associative” and “commutative”, use non-standard notation instead of “+” to represent addition, or adopt different axioms for well-established mathematical objects like groups, rings, and fields. But I can’t do all of that and expect to have my work considered relevant by others. To be part of a community means to share common conventions, assumptions, terminology, notation, and so on. The same, I would submit, is true for morality. In order to live with others harmoniously, we need to share at least some basic moral principles. They need not be absolute to serve this function. Individuals whose morality deviates in significant ways from the society in which they live will have problems living within that society. An analogy that I find helpful to illustrate this is the US-Mexican border. On the one hand, its existence and location is not an objective truth. It is a relative truth, based upon an agreement between the governments of the US and Mexico. But its status as a relative truth does not make it subject to arbitrary whims of each individual. Quite to the contrary, if individuals ignore the established conventions (i.e., laws and regulations) relating to the border, they will suffer very real consequences. So, the point here is that the relativity of truth does not imply that “anything goes” or cause us to degenerate into anarchy. Mathematics does just fine with the relativity of truth. In fact, it sets a fine example of how to look at relative truth, including our morals in society: we should strive to make our assumptions, definitions, conventions, etc. as clear as possible so as to avoid confusion and conflict. And we should develop ways to arrive at consensus regarding standards that are adopted by each community or society, so that members of that community can work harmoniously together.


[This piece is an excerpt from personal correspondence with Moral Math pioneer Sarah Voss in Aug. 2018. It was previously posted here. -ed.]


New Videos of CSS Talks

Video: Merry Song's account

Video: Merry Song's Account of Awakening

Merry Song, a long-time spiritual practitioner at the Center, shares the story of her spiritual journey, including several Awakenings, ultimately leading to her accepting the role of a teacher.

Recorded 6 November 2019 at the Center for Sacred Sciences in Eugene, Oregon USA.

Video: Matt

Video: Following the Path of the Mystics, by Matt

Matt Sieradski answers questions in this Sunday talk covering topics including the core truth testified by the mystics of all traditions as well as specific practices to realize that truth.

Recorded 10 November 2019 at the Center for Sacred Sciences in Eugene, Oregon USA.

For more videos from Center teachers, see our YouTube channel.


Mission and Programs of the Center for Sacred Sciences

The Center for Sacred Sciences is dedicated to the study, practice, and dissemination of the spiritual teachings of the mystics, saints, and sages of the major religious traditions. The Center endeavors to present these teachings in forms appropriate to our contemporary scientific culture. The Center also works to create and disseminate a sacred worldview which expresses the compatibility between universal mystical truths and the evidence of modern science.

Among the Center’s ongoing events are Sunday public services with meditations and talks given by the Center’s spiritual teachers; monthly Sunday video presentations; and — for committed spiritual seekers — weekly practitioners groups and periodic meditation retreats. The Center is accessible. We are a welcoming and inclusive community.

The Center maintains an extensive lending library of books, audios, videos, and periodicals covering spiritual, psychological, philosophical, and scientific subjects. In addition, the Center provides a website containing a great deal of information and resources related to the teachings of the world’s mystics, the universality of mystical truth, and the relationship between science and mysticism. The Center publishes this newsletter providing community news, upcoming programs, book reviews, and other contributions and resources related to the Center’s mission.

The Center for Sacred Sciences is a non-profit, tax-exempt church based in Eugene, Oregon, USA. We rely chiefly on volunteer staff to support our programs, and on donations to meet our operating expenses. Our spiritual teachers give their teachings freely as a labor of love, and receive no financial compensation from the Center. 


About the Center Community News

The Center Community News is published on the CSS website several times a year. Its primary purpose is to help foster a community of spiritual practitioners by sharing original teachings, experiences, reflections, artistic expressions, and reports among members of our community.

To submit your original spiritual reflection, report, poetry or art to the newsletter for publication, please use the newsletter submission form

To subscribe, unsubscribe, or update your existing subscription to the Center Community News, please use the subscription form.

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