Spiritual Life Conference at TC
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.
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 & CU)
Kundalini Yoga at TC & CU
Spiritual Storytelling at TC & CU
Speaker Recommendations Coming soon!