Mirabai Starr – In the Footsteps of Teresa of Avila

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Mirabai Starr - In the Footsteps of Teresa of AvilaMirabai Starr – In the Footsteps of Teresa of Avila

What You’ll Learn in These 7 Months

In this 7-month transformational course, Mirabai will guide you into the heart of an ecstatic relationship with the Beloved, utilizing St. Teresa’s illuminating map for awakening and sacred service, so you can learn to experience the rapturous heights of spiritual realization while also remaining fully rooted in the groundedness of your humanity.

Each contemplation and training session will build harmoniously upon the next, so that you’ll develop a complete, holistic understanding of the practices, tools and principles you’ll need to awaken and sustain your spiritual illumination, divine embodiment and inspired service.

Station 1 – Turning Inward

week1.jpgThe gateway to the interior realms is a contemplative practice. By our willingness to shift our awareness within and rest in stillness and silence, we begin to disengage from the lure of thoughts and embrace the truth of what is. Once we open to the sacred suchness of the moment, a clearer sense of self naturally arises, and we are empowered to look upon our authentic essence with humility and appreciation.

In this module, you will:

  • Establish a regular contemplative practice that fits with your unique way of being.
  • Learn methods for self-inquiry that help you be present to what is.
  • Come to understand what it means to be a contemplative, and apply those values to your daily life (not limited to formal meditation practice).
  • Experience the infusion of the sacred into the ordinary when you commit to a contemplative path.
  • Develop courage to face the obstacles that arise when you commit to the spiritual path.

Featured Practice: Make a commitment to sit in silence and stillness on a regular basis, whether half an hour every morning or 10 minutes three times a week. Recognize that meditation is not about not thinking – it’s about being present to what is, allowing a spaciousness to open around your thoughts and feelings, an ability to bear witness to your own experience, and “not believe everything you think.

Station 2 – Love Letters from the
Holy One:

week2.jpgAs we become more intimate with our inner landscape, the clamor of the external world diminishes and the song of the soul grows clearer. We are more able to distinguish between superficial dogma and living wisdom. We begin to recognize the voice of the Beloved in the books we read, in the spiritual talks we listen to, in deep dialogue with loved ones and spontaneous conversations with strangers. Everywhere we turn we seem to receive confirmation of the exact teaching we need, and the interconnections fill us with wonder.

In this module, you will:

  • Develop increased discernment for determining the validity of various teachings.
  • Open to receiving the abundant messages from the Beloved you need to guide you on your path.
  • Heighten your receptivity to synchronicities in your life and their gifts.
  • Deepen your commitment to spiritual practice, even when it doesn’t produce the spiritual “highs” that initially motivated you on your path.

Featured Practice: Engage in deep reflection on a chosen sacred scripture, poem, piece of music, film, or audio or video teaching that moves you. Journal your response.

Station 3 – Dark Night of the Soul:

week3.jpgSometimes we take the spiritual life too seriously. We learn some things, have a few epiphanies, sacrifice our comfort for the rigors of practice, and begin to think we know the Truth. We put the Holy One into a box and smother it. Everything that once brought inspiration then feels dry and empty. This is our opportunity to surrender our belief systems and rest in the Mystery.

In this module, you will:

  • Soften around your cherished belief systems to allow for new perspectives.
  • Gain a new understanding of what mysticism really is.
  • Study the spiritual teachings of The Dark Night of the Soul from John of the Cross for guidance on navigating spiritual emptiness.
  • Become truly comfortable with the many blessings of groundlessness.

Featured Practice: Make a list of the spiritual practices and religious concepts you feel most attached to-either through inherited conditioning or personal experience. Create a corresponding list of questions and challenges for each. Journal the fruits of this inquiry.

Station 4 – Prayer of Quiet:

week4.jpgOnce we shift from trying to figure God out with our minds to focusing on feeling God in our hearts, a spaciousness opens inside us and we enter a place of sweet stillness. This stage represents the balance point of the spiritual journey. We have three stations behind us, in which we attain spiritual development largely through our own efforts, and three stations lie ahead, in which grace takes over.

In this module, you will:

  • Practice heart-centered meditation techniques to help you more fully experience the expansion of the Beloved in your heart, not your mind.
  • Learn about the active and passive stages of the spiritual journey, and how you can determine which stage you may be experiencing.
  • Explore St. Teresa of Avila’s “3 waters” teaching and how it applies in your life.
  • Taste the freedom that comes when we drop our need to fix ourselves and allow ourselves to abide in a sacred field.

Featured Practice: Guided Metta Meditation.

Station 5 – Prayer of Union:

week5.jpgThis is the phase in which the silkworm of the soul spins itself a cocoon and climbs inside to dissolve. It is only when the old self is annihilated that the true self can emerge. In her suspended state, the soul rests in the Divine, and the Divine rests in her. The soul experiences this dying as a great joy.

In this module, you will:

  • Study the inter-spiritual teachings of self-annihilation and how they might apply to you personally.
  • Identify aspects of your false self that need to be released in order for your metamorphosis to transpire.
  • Explore St. Teresa of Avila’s “butterfly” metaphor and how it is reflected in your life.
  • See your personal relationships as a reflection of your growing intimacy with the Beloved.

Featured Practice: Create a work of butterfly art – a drawing, painting, poem, play, dance, song, video, sculpture, or any other creative project that reflects the transformational power of the butterfly.

Station 6 – This Beautiful Wound:

week6.jpgIn this phase, the lover (soul) experiences longing for union with the Beloved (God) as a searing pain. Often the person who has navigated the spiritual path deep into the landscape of Mystery begins to suffer from various outer afflictions that correspond to the inner fire. People at this stage may grapple with numerous illnesses and multiple losses, all of which intensify their sense of alienation from this world. And yet “an ineffable sweetness” lies just below the surface of the turmoil, and the soul knows she is growing closer to the Holy One.

In this module, you will:

  • Explore the connection between personal loss and spiritual longing.
  • Understand spiritual longing and the connection between personal loss and the longing for God/union with the Divine.
  • Learn to approach suffering as alchemical transfiguration.
  • Use your sense of separation as a portal to access union.
  • Receive a more spiritual and practical understanding of how to deal with grief and loss, using them as a catalyst for your spiritual opening.

Featured Practice: Gather poems of loss and transformation and create a collection that you can add to on an ongoing basis.

Station 7 – The Innermost Chamber:

week7.jpgWhen at last lover (soul) merges with Beloved, only love remains. The challenge of the spiritual journey is to get out of our own way and allow the Holy One to love through us. As distinctions between self and God begin to dissolve, we experience our essential interconnectedness with all that is. Once we have experienced this melding, our only remaining desire is to help alleviate suffering in the world. Raptures, visions and other altered states of consciousness fall away, and we find ourselves squarely in the center of the human condition, ready to step up and be useful.

In this module, you will:

  • Explore inter-spiritual perspectives on compassionate action, the Bodhisattva Vow and the connection between contemplative practice and service.
  • Expand your conception of what it means to be of service.
  • Discern between charity dispensed to those we perceive as having (or being) less, and compassion based on the realization of our essential unity with those who suffer.
  • Find a healthy balance between personal spiritual practice and loving service.

Featured Practice: Through guided meditation, develop a plan of action to engage in service Be creative. It can be a local effort or a global one. It may not look like your preconceived notion of social or environmental activism. Find your authentic prophetic response.

The “In The Footsteps of Teresa of Avila”
Bonus Collection

In addition to Mirabai’s transformative 7-month virtual course, you’ll also receive these powerful training sessions with the world’s leading visionaries and spiritual teachers. These bonus sessions are being offered to further complement what you’ll learn in the course – and take your understanding and practice to an even deeper level.

Audio Dialogue with Mirabai Starr and Gangaji

Gangaji.jpgIn this bonus session, beloved teacher of the non-dual path, Gangaji, speaks about discovering the “hidden treasure” of your own God-Self, using St. Teresa of Avila as an example of finding what you long for as the very essence of what you are.

Gangaji was born in Texas in 1942, and grew up in Mississippi. After graduating from the University of Mississippi in 1964, she married and had a daughter. In 1972, she moved to San Francisco where she took Bodhisattva vows, practiced Zen and Vipassana meditation, helped run a Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Center and had a career as an acupuncturist. Yet, despite her successes, she continued to experience a deep and persistent longing for fulfillment. In the wake of her disillusionment, she made a final prayer for true help. And in 1990, the answer to that prayer took her to India to the banks of the river Ganga, where she met Sri H.W.L. Poonja, also known as Papaji, who helped her to open the floodgates of self-recognition. Today, Gangaji is a teacher and author, who travels the world speaking to seekers from all walks of life about her own experience of awakening and that it is really possible to discover the truth of who you are and be true to that discovery.

Audio Dialogue with Mirabai Starr and James Finley

JamesFinley.jpgIn this special session, legendary student of Thomas Merton and respected spiritual psychotherapist, James Finley, explores some of the pitfalls of the spiritual journey, and the liberation that comes with transcending the boundaries of ego.

James Finley, Ph.D., lived as a monk at the cloistered Trappist monastery of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, where the world-renowned monk and author, Thomas Merton, was his spiritual director. He leads retreats and workshops throughout the United States and Canada, attracting men and women from all religious traditions who seek to live a contemplative way of life in the midst of today’s busy world. He is also a clinical psychologist in private practice with his wife in Santa Monica, California. James is the author of Merton’s Palace of Nowhere, The Contemplative Heart and Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God.

Audio Dialogue with Mirabai Starr and
Father Richard Rohr

FatherRichardRohr.jpgIn this dialogue, Fr. Richard Rohr, one of the most respected Christian thought leaders of our time, discusses how he approaches the Interior Castle as a “map” to guide you in an unfolding process of full human flowering. Richard calls this maturing process “ripening.”

Fr. Richard Rohr is a globally recognized ecumenical teacher, bearing witness to the universal awakening within Christian mysticism and the Perennial Tradition. He is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Fr. Richard’s teaching is grounded in the Franciscan alternative orthodoxy – practices of contemplation and lived kenosis (self-emptying), expressing itself in radical compassion, particularly for the socially marginalized. He is the author of numerous books, including Everything Belongs, Adam’s Return, The Naked Now, Breathing Under Water, Falling Upward, Immortal Diamond, and Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi.

Moving Inward, Not Upward
Audio Dialogue with Mirabai Starr and
Father William Hart McNichols

FatherWilliamHartMcNichols.jpgIn this bonus, iconographer priest, Father Bill, who collaborated with Mirabai on the book Mother of God Similar to Fire, focuses on the feminine nature of Teresa’s vision of the inner journey, exploring the castle as a series of sacred spaces that draws you ever more deeply within.

William Hart McNichols was a member of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) from 1968 to 2002. He studied philosophy, theology and art at St. Louis University, Boston College, Boston University and Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Father Bill furthered his art studies at California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California in 1977. In 1983, he received a Master of Fine Arts in landscape painting from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Since 1999 he has assisted with sacramental ministry in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in Taos and Northern New Mexico. He continues to assist in Albuquerque after returning there in the fall of 2013.

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