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The Spiritual Challenge of Our Time with David Steindl-Rast

We are pleased to bring you another new release from Brother David Steindl-Rast.  In The Spiritual Challenge of Our Time, we explore characterize our time and being spiritual.   

"So since we are speaking about the spiritual challenge of our time, we have to ask ourselves at least these three questions. What is our time? What characterizes our time? What characterizes the spiritual challenge of our time or what characterizes a challenge as being spiritual? What is a challenge all together?

Those are questions which the answers we shouldn’t take for granted.  Finally, we are going to have to ask ourselves, how do we go about it? At least in a sort of rudimentary way and get some basic idea. So what characterizes our time? What characterizes a challenge as spiritual, and how can we go about that challenge? How can we meet that challenge in our time? Of course, you may have many very good ideas as to what characterizes our time, and I would be perfectly willing to follow somebody else’s ideas for characteristics of our time, but I find one characteristic so outstanding that I think it could serve us as a starting point this evening. It is a negative characteristic, but since we speak of challenge, we are probably looking for a negative experience that will challenge us and so in the end leads to something positive.  Now, what characterizes our time above all seems to be uprootedness.  That we are uprooted, and maybe we have come here precisely because we experience that strongly and come to a place like the New York Open Center, where people try to find their roots again, to root themselves again."

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Self Reinvention with Mark Matousek

Today we are pleased to bring to you an excerpt from "Self Reinvention" with Mark Matousek.  Learn to explore yourself, your truths and your desires. Make the creative choices as you grow and acquire your personal reward.

Dostoyevsky called man “the animal that can adapt to anything.” But instead of remembering this, we often make our life choices by default, taking the easy or well-traveled path, obeying the voices of practicality and conformity, over the siren call of freedom.

Clarity, focus and truth-telling are the only spotlights strong enough to dispel the fog of ambivalence and reveal the living shapes hiding there, the shapes of our own desires and many selves.

By asking ourselves which aspects of the self we wish to change, and being specific about our desires, we empower ourselves to make creative choices.


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New Release: Christianity and Full Humanity with Brother David Steindl-Rast - Preview One

We are pleased to bring you this new release, Christianity and Full Humanity with Brother David Steindl-Rast.  Let's explore the topic of Christianity, what it means to each of us and how we can actually come full circle.  

Our topic for today is Christianity and the Past to Full Humanity.  There are those among us, I’m sure, who have experienced that the Christian tradition is a past to full humanity, are very happy with it and want to explore this further. There are those among us who have experienced what was represented to them as Christianity, but was really a block toward full humanity and human fulfillment.  Unfortunately, that also happens.

There are some Christians who think one can become a Christian at the expense of being human. This is terrible. It’s a real distortion. There are others who are Christians and see their being Christian as one way of becoming fully human. That seems more closely what Jesus was trying to do and teach.

I hope that in the course of this program, you will be able to explore various aspects of this very difficult question, in particularly to bring it again and again to our practical application. To bring it to life, to bring it to what does this mean for me and my personal life. That part will largely be up to you and to your questions.

I have a great variety of ways in which we could go through this exploration of the topic and which particular path I will choose will largely depend on the feedback I get and on the questions that you raise. There are of course a few important milestones that we will have to touch, a few concepts that we will have to clearly understand and maybe analyze a little bit together, but basically I would like to make this truly an exchange between us.

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The Question of Meaning with Mark Matousek

We are pleased to bring you this excerpt from "The Question of Meaning" with Mark Matousek.  Where do we find the meaning of life?  The answer is different for everyone.  Mark Matousek takes us on the journey to understand how we can all discover the meaning of life within ourselves.

Let's talk about the question of meaning. Why is a strong sense of meaning so crucial? What do we do when our lives lack meaning? How do we find meaning in life when things overwhelm us and we can barely keep our heads up, and where does meaning actually come from?

Now, I’m going to focus on six essential tools that we can use to discover and cultivate an inspired sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. Without meaning, it could be hard to face the challenges that are thrown our way and hard to weather the terrible bits, to understand ourselves, to find a reason to go on, and most of all, hard to make choices.

Now, choice is the first important tool we’re going to talk about in cultivating meaning. As Viktor Frankl wrote,”The ability to choose our way is the last of the human freedoms”.  In his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”, Frankl describes being a prisoner of war and seeing the power of choice acted out every single day in matters of life and death.  "We, who lived in concentration camps, can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing, the last of the human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way". Now, in deepest despair, meaning was nearly as important as food in the day to day lives of these prisoners.  During his time in the camp, Frankl maintained a sense of meaning by imagining that his wife, who had been sent to another concentration camp, was alive. She wasn’t, yet this story is what helped to keep him alive, to give his existence and the prospect of a future a feeling of significance. His story about his life is the only thing that stood between Frankl and suicidal despair. Later, he would come up with a formulation that captured this wisdom; suffering, minus meaning, equals despair.

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