CENTER COMMUNITY NEWS
Newsletter of the Center for Sacred Sciences
Vol. 36, No. 1 • Winter 2023
Light of Love Day
According to tradition, Joel delivered his annual Light of Love Day talk December 25 on Love and Compassion.
This year's talk presented contemplative experiments for cultivating compassion, inspired by a Buddhist practice called sending and taking. This practice involves imaginatively taking on suffering and sending out compassion. It begins with taking on the one's own suffering and sending oneself compassion. The next step is to do sending and taking with a friend or loved one. Then, one practices it with a stranger, and finally with an enemy. Joel guided us through a simplified version of sending and taking in which we open up to and deeply experience the suffering of oneself, friends, strangers, and enemies. In addition, with each of these people, we also allow ourselves to experience the longing of that person to be free of their suffering, and to experience compassion for that person and the wish for them to be free of the suffering and experience joy. We then radiate this out to all beings. Joel's presentation of this practice was punctuated with offerings from the community, including poetry and songs.
Jane with a sketch
Gratitude for Life Celebration with Jane Sanford Harrison
CSS member Jane Sanford Harrison was diagnosed with brain cancer just over a year ago. Instead of a memorial after her death, she decided to have a celebration of life while she is still living.
Her sons Sean and Jim organized a gathering of many friends and family who attended both in person at the CSS building and remotely via Zoom. Joel opened the celebration with some brief words, which were followed by heartfelt sharing by a few of Jane's closest family and friends.
Jane shared some of her wisdom of Leaning in to Uncertainty and her practice of gratitude that involved making a gratitude sketch every day for five years. Watch a brief video of it here: Jane shares her wisdom.
Merry Song recently interviewed Jane, and they had an in-depth conversation about Jane's life and her insights. Watch it here: Interview with Jane.
Todd Gives Sermon at Memorial for Devon Cordes
Devon Cordes, the daughter of CSS member Deanna Cordes, died unexpectedly in January 2023.
Her family organized a memorial which was hosted by CSS.
Family and friends gathered to share their memories of Devon. Todd Corbett delivered a moving sermon, which you can listen to here: Todd's sermon
Wisdom Revealed in Broken Hearts
Merry Song leads spiritual writing workshops for the Center for Sacred Sciences.
She may be contacted for more information at
Artwork of the “Stained Glass Bird” by Nancy Miller, known here as HeartSong.
CSS Channel on YouTube
Are you subscribed to the CSS channel on YouTube? In addition to recent videos, the CSS YouTube channel has video recordings of many older talks, some dating back almost 40 years! When you subscribe to the channel, you will be notified when there is a new video posted. Please leave us a 'like' and a comment so we know how many appreciate this service!
"His Tesla is Gone!" by Wesley Lachman
As Connie snuggled up to him, Craig completely forgot about his new automobile. At that very moment, his white Tesla disappeared from the world as we know it. It was nowhere. No one on the block was looking at it or remembering it. Certainly no one was driving it. There were 7,973,413,043 people on earth that evening, and not a single one was seeing Craig’s Tesla or thinking about it, not even Craig.
So, where was it?
It had completely vanished from the known world. But when Craig came up for air ten minutes later, he remembered his Tesla again, and it reentered his world. He peeked out the window, and it was there. Say, he thought to himself, that’s what the teacher in my Zoom class said to watch for: Everything comes and goes except for one thing. Huh? The rest of the world disappeared just now while I was kissing Connie, not only my car. So maybe everything really does disappear, but what is always here?
Connie poked him in the ribs, “Hey, where you off to? I’m still here, remember?” Craig gave her a little squeeze and tried to explain. Failing to do so, he substituted a fond caress, and Connie snuggled in closer again.
They watched a favorite video. Then Craig gave her a final smooch and headed out for his apartment. He had to arise at 6:30AM to be on time for work, looking sharp. He had driven for about 10 minutes while admiring the good looks and ergonomic placement of the Tesla’s controls and readouts. Suddenly he realized that his body was gone. Holy cow! He had felt his hands and some muscles in his forearms, but the rest had vanished. Right now he could feel his body; it was back where it belonged. Weird. So everything comes and goes except for one thing. But what could that one thing possibly be?
The question got under Craig’s skin. It wouldn’t go away. What could the answer be? He arrived home and hit the sack totally baffled. His sleep was fitful. His alarm clock went off, but was only successful in arousing him into a barely-conscious state.
But in the next moment he woke up. He became fully alert. He could see and feel and hear and so on. But nothing was appearing: no sights, no sounds, nothing. His view widened, wide as the sky, all around him. Still nothing. So maybe this is the one thing, he thought, this spacious emptiness. Sure, how could I see or hear anything at all unless this endless stage was open here to receive it. It’s always here when I am here. Awe was spreading all through him. It made him shiver, but he relaxed into it. Hey, he wondered, is this me in God, or is it God in me?
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; 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 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 also publishes this newsletter.
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.
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