This past weekend, I attended the second annual Spiritual Life Conference
at Teachers College. Students, staff, and faculty from the SMBI
(Spirituality Mind Body Institute) spoke about their research -- mostly correlating the presence of spirituality in one's life (connection through prayer, meditation, mindfulness, yoga) with a decrease in anxiety, depression, and substance abuse, and an overall improvement in physical and mental health.
SMBI Program Director & Professor Lisa J. Miller, PhD spoke about the neuroscience behind meditation & how children begin as spiritual beings. She referenced her book, "The Spiritual Child" (available at TC
). She was followed by Bob Roth, Transcendental Meditation (TM) teacher and co-founder of the David Lynch Foundation
, who spoke about the life-altering effects of TM for people living with HIV, PTSD, homeless populations, and domestic violence survivors and other vulnerable populations.
Of the nine experiential workshops
that were offered, I selected one for enjoyability and one for challenge. "Awakening to Your Intuition" -- an introduction to the history & practice of kundalini yoga followed by a 60-minute lesson -- was something I was comfortable with. The facilitators were calm and clear. I think it was helpful that I have a background in yoga, but I think people were very receptive to the practice regardless.
"Spiritual Storytelling" -- an introduction to writing and sharing a powerful personal story -- was the challenge. We were introduced to a 5-part formula for writing a 100-word story that connects us with our audience. I am not the strongest writer and sharing a personal story with strangers is sometimes difficult for me. Again, the facilitators made it simple to follow, participants were eager to share and provide feedback.
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Milbank Chapel at Teachers College[/caption]
After the experiential workshops, we met again in Milbank Chapel to hear current students speak about their research -- personal and workplace wellness, exploring psychic mediums through the lens of Jungian psychology, maintaining "flow" on a regular basis, the importance of spiritual love, and mindfulness in medicine.
To learn more, check out the websites linked throughout this post or one of the following books:
Available at TC or CU Libraries:
The Spiritual Child
, by Lisa J. Miller Ph.D. (TC
The Oxford Handbook of Psychology & Spirituality
, edited by Lisa J. Miller Ph.D. (TC
Kundalini Yoga at TC
Spiritual Storytelling at TC
Speaker Recommendations Coming soon!