Exploring Spiritual Companionship Across Traditions

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Are you spiritually fluent?

The art and contemplative practice of spiritual companionship is broad.

Throughout human history and around the world, individuals have accompanied others along their spiritual journeys, seeking the Mystery that goes by many names. Spiritual companionship expresses itself today in robust varieties across major religious traditions and other spiritual modalities.

Join SDI for a twelve week survey course of spiritual companionship’s expression in various authentic forms: Judaism, Buddhism, Indigenous traditions, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, contemporary Shamanism, eco-spiritualies, and more — guided by the very best in the field offering their expertise and personal experiences. 

This course is for spiritual companions eager to broaden their understanding and practice beyond a single tradition or approach. It is for anyone who is considering becoming a spiritual companion and seeks an inclusive pluralistic introduction to the craft. And it is for anyone who is curious about what spiritual companionship is in our pluralistic modern world.

Spiritual Companionship For Our Times Calls For Spiritual Fluency Across Faith Traditions

This fluency allows us to understand and appreciate the richness of companionship practices in different contexts, and it also helps us root more deeply in our own tradition(s). Think of each section of this class as a sampling of another language: some new vocabulary, different syntax, a way to structure sentences that you’re not used to. Imagine how knowing another language, even a bit, then enhances your own native tongue. You might express yourself with a bit more nuance, or pull in a word from another language that captures a thought or feeling just right. Spiritual fluency helps us all to “speak” our faith, and companion others along their faith journey, with enhanced finesse and appreciation.

Come sample ten different spiritual “languages” uttered by some of their very best speakers!

There Are So Many Online Courses. Why This One?

Reputable

SDI is the largest and oldest network of spiritual companions in the world. For 30 years we have been creating and curating educational offerings for spiritual companions across religious traditions, and we have our finger on the pulse of the spiritual companionship movement in the US and beyond.

Faculty

Our instructors are the best in the field. You will be in an intimate learning environment with some of the most renowned and sought-after spiritual teachers in the field of spiritual companionship, and be able to interact with them directly.

Affordable

We are committed to making our courses widely available and accessible. We are keeping the course tuition low and have a generous number of scholarships to give out. We strongly encourage any for whom the cost is a challenge to apply for a scholarship.

Convenient

Watch the lessons when you can, complete the course at your own pace. Live sessions take place Wednesdays 9:00-11:00am Pacific time, but you will have access to the course content for an entire year after purchase.

Interaction

We know that students learn best when they have an opportunity to process new information in the company of their peers, and apply learning to their own lived experience. Our courses prioritize interaction with the instructors and other students, spaces in which students can engage more deeply, wrestle with new ideas, question and respond to one another, apply what they are learning to simulated spiritual companionship sessions, and provide feedback to one another. Bring your questions, your stories and experiences! The instructors will share theirs as well.

Welcoming

This introductory level course is open to all! There are no prerequisites and no required readings. Each session will include a basic primer in the fundamentals of that week’s tradition or orientation. It will be easy to experiment, ask questions, and try out some of the techniques taught in the course.

Schedule

Twelve weekly 2-hour courses, 9:00 – 11:00am Pacific time beginning September 9, 2020 and ending November 25, 2020. Students can participate live or watch at your convenience later.

1) Introduction & Course Overview

Rev. Seifu Anil Singh Molares

 
September 9, 2020
September 16, 2020
September 23, 2020
September 30, 2020

5) Spiritual Companionship in Buddhism

Rev. Seifu Anil Singh-Molares

October 7, 2020
October 14, 2020

7) Spiritual Companionship in Sikkhism

Sahib Amar Atman Singh Khalsa

October 21, 2020
October 28, 2020
November 4, 2020
November 11, 2020
November 18, 2020
November 25, 2020

12) Wrap Up

Panel discussion

 

Credits

24 CEU credits available.

 

Faculty

Imam Jamal Rahman

Jamal Rahman is a popular speaker on Islam, Sufi spirituality, and interfaith relations. Along with his Interfaith Amigos, he has been featured in the New York Times, CBS News, BBC, and various NPR programs. Jamal is co-founder and Muslim Sufi minister at Interfaith Community Sanctuary and adjunct faculty at Seattle University. He is a former co-host of Interfaith Talk Radio and travels nationally and internationally, presenting at retreats and workshops.

Rev. Seifu Anil Singh-Molares, MTS

Rev. Seifu Anil Singh-Molares

Rev. Seifu is the Executive Director of SDI and an ordained Zen Buddhist priest, as well as a practicing spiritual director/companion and motivational speaker. He is a veteran of numerous interfaith and interspiritual efforts over the years, including Seeds of Compassion in Seattle in 2008, where he was one of the chairs, and as founder and executive director of the Compassionate Action Network. He has a Master’s in Theological Studies from Harvard University.

Rev. Seifu is an accomplished speaker and university lecturer and is a key contributor for the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. In a previous life, he was also an executive at Microsoft, where he successfully grew international groups and divisions and provided leadership to multi-cultural teams around the world.

Rabbi Amy Eilberg

Rabbi Amy Eilberg is the first woman ordained as a Conservative rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.  She serves as a spiritual director, kindness coach, and peace and justice educator.  She recently served as the Coordinator of Jewish Engagement for Faith in Action Bay Area, a multi-faith, multi-racial social justice organization in the San Francisco Bay Area. Prior to that she served as the director of the Pardes Rodef Shalom (Pursuer of Peace) Communities Program, teaching Jewish civil discourse to rabbis, synagogues and Jewish organizations.  Her book, From Enemy to Friend: Jewish Wisdom and the Pursuit of Peace, was published by Orbis Books in March 2014.  She is a devoted wife, loving mother to three wonderful grown children, and wildly enthusiastic grandmother to baby Adin.

Mary DeJong

Mary DeJong is a deep ecologist, ecotheologian, urban naturalist, and practitioner and guide of place-based pilgrimage. She specializes in the spiritual companionship of “rewilding.” Mary facilitates retreats and pilgrimages in the Pacific Northwest and in Iona, Scotland that strengthen the unique and mystical interconnection of participants, the sacred, and the natural world. She has studied and practiced within the Celtic Christian spiritual tradition, her own maternal line heritage, for over twenty years, and is influenced by the lives of Celtic saints, Jospeh Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey and the emerging field of ecopyschology. Mary’s theoretical and praxis focus within deep ecology, ecotheology, ecopsychology and specialization in Thomas Berry’s Universe Story delves into why place matters, the sacramentality of creation, and how together this informs the development of our ecological self.

Rev. Peter Ilgenfritz

Peter Ilgenfritz has been a pastor for 32 years in the United Church of Christ, and a coach-in-training with the International Coaching Federation. He has also been an active member of Cho Bo Ji, a Rinzai Zen Buddhist community in Seattle for 16 years. Peter has done training with the Faith Trust Institute, The Center for Courage and Renewal, Allies for Change (Doing Our Own Work Anti-Racism Program for White People), the Pacific Institute, and the Landmark Forum.

Pat McCabe

Pat McCabe (Weyakpa Najin Win, Woman Stands Shining) is a Diné (Navajo) mother, grandmother, activist, artist, writer, ceremonial leader, and international speaker. She is a voice for global peace, and her paintings are created as tools for individual, earth and global healing. She draws upon the Indigenous sciences of Thriving Life to reframe questions about sustainability and balance, and she is devoted to supporting the next generations, Women’s Nation and Men’s Nation, in being functional members of the “Hoop of Life” and upholding the honor of being human.

Her primary work at the moment is:

  • The reconciliation between the masculine and feminine, Men’s Nation and Women’s Nation
  • Remembering, recreating or creating anew a narrative for the Sacred Masculine
  • Addressing the Archetypal Wounding that occurred in our misunderstanding and abuse of technology in prayer, ceremony and science

Gaurav Rastogi

Gaurav Rastogi (spiritual name Ekras Gorakh) is an interfaith Hindu speaker who writes and talks about Hindu scriptures such as The Bhagavad Gita and Vedanta philosophy, bringing the ancient wisdom into practical language that can be applied to anyone interested in living deeply. Gaurav is a founder and Director of the Hindu Community Institute in Milpitas, California, which offers a course for ‘Counselors of Hindu Tradition’. He is also a Dhyana meditation and yoga teacher (ERYT 200), and Founder of Living Deeply Foundation, which teaches the “Yoga of Living Deeply™”. His personal meditation practice includes Taoist QiGong as well as Tibetan Bon. He has studied the Christian tradition and has explored the syncretic Sufi traditions of India. He also studies the scriptures of other Indian traditions such as Sikhism, Jainism, and Buddhism. Gaurav Rastogi is an entrepreneur with twenty+ years of executive experience in Infosys and AI startups. He is the author of two business books, one eBook on meditation, and a running podcast on meditation. Mr. Rastogi holds a Mechanical Engineering undergrad from Delhi Technological University (DCE), and an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad. He loves to teach, write, and create wonderful things that make the world a better place.  He lives in the Bay Area with his wife, son, and daughter.

SS AmarAtma Singh Khalsa

SS AmarAtma Singh Khalsa’s development pastorally, spiritually, and theologically took formation in Sikhi. He has engaged in arduous Sikh studies, apprenticing under elders of his faith and in rigorous meditative practice, yoga, and scriptural studies cumulating over 12,000 hours of study. In addition, AmarAtma holds a Master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine at Five Branches University, where he developed his clinical profession through the practice of Acupuncture.

AmarAtma received the Amrit (Baptismal Vows) in 2009, initiating him in the heart-centered, warrior order of the Khalsa and became an Ordained Minister of Sikh Dharma International in 2012.

Seeking a connection to medicine and ministry lead him into Chaplaincy. AmarAtma worked as a Staff Chaplain at a Trauma 1, university hospital in downtown Phoenix, AZ. He flourished there specializing in end of life care working in critical care, palliative care, and worked extensively in the emergency and behavioral health departments. After championing a program with Donor Network of Arizona, supporting families at the most critical time of neurological injury and engaging with humanistic ways of connecting with organ donation, he was brought on to serve as the director of their family services department.

Langston Kahn

Langston Kahn is a Black Queer New York City based shamanic practitioner specializing in radical human transformation, ancestral healing and the restoration of an authentic relationship with our emotions. He stands firmly at the crossroads, his practice informed by somatic modalities, contemporary shamanic traditions, initiations into traditions of the African Diaspora and his helping spirits and ancestors weaving it all together.

Langston gives workshops and lectures internationally in person and online. He is a senior teacher of the Cycle of Transformation, a contemporary shamanic lineage founded by Christina Pratt. He has served for 5 years on the leadership council of the Last Mask Community, a collective of people striving to live in alignment with ancient shamanic principles and applying them in service of personal and collective liberation. You can find out more about his work at his website: occupy-your-heart.com.

Disclaimer: SDI offers educational opportunities that are intended to expand your understanding of spiritual companionship/direction and the multifaceted ways it can render service in the world. SDI educational opportunities are not intended to serve as free standing “spiritual direction/companion formation” programs. SDI does not provide any form of certification or credentialing for an individual to become a spiritual companion or director. We invite all program participants who are not trained in spiritual companionship/direction to formally pursue their education through spiritual direction and/or companionship training, in ways that are appropriate and relevant to their core tradition or spiritual orientation, and that are in keeping with the hallmarks of an authentic spiritual companion/director.  There are a number of  spiritual direction/companion formation programs listed on the “Find a Spiritual Companion” on this website.  SDI does not endorse any particular program, and encourages those who are interested in obtaining training to perform all adequate due diligence before proceeding.