A Four-Week Online Course with Dr. Kenneth Rose

The Universal Mystic

Meditation, the Brain, and Humanity’s Mystical Birthright

COURSE SUMMARY

Revered philosopher and psychologist William James celebrated the universality of mysticism when he famously declared that mysticism has “neither birthday nor native land.” Mysticism is the perpetual taproot of all vital spirituality, and it is as much our spiritual birthright to be mystical as it is to express artistic, ethical, scientific, and philosophical impulses. Yet mysticism’s unique power to open the inner door to transcendent experience and a healing sense of oneness with the whole of life is often misunderstood, and it is sometimes dismissed as nothing more than a morbid fascination with weird mental states and paranormal powers. And for those who are committed to a materialist view of life, the word mysticism is a label meant to warn us away from anything that violates the standards of everyday, conventional rationality.

But, as we will see in this course, mysticism is also our genetic birthright as current research on mystical experience in neuroscience, genetics, and evolutionary cognitive science shows. The potential for mystical experience has been engraved like a rail upon our brains, which are genetically coded for transcendence. This startling insight is emerging more from science labs than from academic centers of religious study, and this course will trace out the biological basis for deep spiritual experiences. Rather than undercutting mysticism by reducing spiritual experiences to brain states, this new research suggests that our brains, like our minds, are oriented toward harmony with a deathless and immaterial ground of life.

Just as important as these philosophical, religious, and scientific approaches to mysticism is the practical study of mysticism, which we enact through the practice of meditation. Meditation is the inner door to liberative insight. Although meditation is a inbuilt human capacity, which we can all practice, the cultivation of meditation has generally happened most intensely in disciplined religious settings like monasteries and ashrams. As we will see in this course, the meditative yoga of Hinduism, the contemplative practices of mystical Christianity, Buddhist meditative practices, and similar practices in other religious and philosophical traditions are mental programs that activate a mental and biological process that leads from everyday awareness to nondual union with the whole of life.

In this course, Dr. Rose will trace this meditative process as described in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity and link it to the brain’s meditative pathway as described in current contemplative neuroscience and neurotheology. He will also explain how to open the inner door of meditative concentration by outlining and practicing with you some classic and new meditation methods—and will share what he thinks of as the most basic meditation practice.

Dr. Kenneth Rose, Ph.D., is Senior Research Fellow at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California, and emeritus professor of philosophy and religion at Christopher Newport University in Virginia. He teaches and publishes in the areas of comparative religion, comparative mysticism, religious pluralism, and the philosophy of meditation. He developed and lead the online course “Wisdom from World Religions,” which is supported by a Templeton World Charity Foundation grant. His degrees include an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School and an M.A. and Ph.D. in the Study of Religion from Harvard University. At Harvard, he was a Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions. His books include Yoga, Meditation, and Mysticism: Contemplative Universals and Meditative Landmarks and Pluralism: The Future of Religion. Influenced as much by the Bhagavad Gītā as by Thomas Merton and the Buddha, Prof. Rose has engaged in a lifelong quest to understand and practice spirituality in light of the sublime mystical texts and practices in the world’s wisdom traditions. 

COURSE INCLUDES

4 Live, Interactive Zoom Sessions
4 Q&As with Kenneth
4 Downloadable Videos & MP3s
Course Readings
10 Yoga Alliance Cont. Ed. Credits
10 Embodied Philosophy Credits
Private Pop-Up Facebook Group

COURSE OUTLINE

MODULE #1: The Universal Mystic: Why You Have the Right to Be a Mystic

Mysticism is a controversial and fascinating topic. The words mystic and mysticism often evoke images of unusual mental states or paranormal powers. The word mysticism is often used negatively for anything that violates the standards of everyday, conventional rationality. More than altered states of consciousness or unusual powers, mysticism is actually the key mental and spiritual tool that opens the door to transcendent experience and a healing sense of oneness with the whole of life. Unusual as it may be, mysticism is actually a capacity as essential to being human as language. As a universal human experience, mysticism is our spiritual birthright, and it is not dependent on the world’s many religious traditions and movements. In this session, I will suggest why, as revered philosopher and psychologist William James once declared, the classic texts of mysticism have “neither birthday nor native land.”

MODULE #2: Science, Med School Goes to the Ashram: The Biology of Mysticism

Alongside its status as our spiritual birthright, mysticism is our genetic birthright as well. As we will see in this lecture, current research on mystical experience in neuroscience, genetics, and evolutionary cognitive science shows that mystical experience is grounded in our biology. As I will show in this session, the potential for mystical experience has been engraved like a rail upon our brains, which are genetically coded for transcendence.

MODULE #3: Concentration: Opening the Mystical Door

The most basic element of our inbuilt code for transcendence is our capacity for meditation, or more specifically, the practice of concentration, which is the inner door to liberative insight. As I will show in this session, the meditative yoga of Hinduism, the contemplative practices of mystical Christianity, Buddhist meditative practices, and similar practices in other religious and philosophical traditions are concentration and insight exercises that set into action a mental and biological process that lead from everyday awareness to nondual union with the whole of life. Because the practice of mysticism follows a psychologically definable path with virtually identical steps in each of these traditions, mysticism is also our psychological birthright.

MODULE #4: The shared Mystical Path: Meditative Training in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Mystical Christianity

In this session, we will trace the meditative process described in Hinduism, Buddhism, and mystical Christianity and link it to the brain’s meditative pathway as described in the new fields of contemplative or affective neuroscience and neurotheology. We will also explain how to open the inner door of meditative concentration by outlining and practicing with you some classic and new meditation methods—and Kenneth will share what he thinks of as the most basic meditation practice.

February - March, 2019

Feb. 19, 26, March 5, 12

Join Dr. Kenneth Rose as he explores the trajectory of mystical experience as it is found across multiple meditation and contemplative traditions, including Yoga, Hinduism, Buddhism and  Mystical Christianity. 

Students who take this course will:

  • learn the universal characteristics of mysticism
  • trace out the links between mysticism, meditation, and spirituality
  • discover the many benefits of meditation
  • see how mysticism and meditation moved from the ashram and the monastery to the laboratory and the hospital
  • trace the biological basis of meditation and mysticism
  • discover the psychological and spiritual basis of meditation
  • learn about scientific studies linking meditation and happiness
  • experience different kinds of meditation including the most basic meditation practice

Register Now

The Universal Mystic

Meditation, the Brain, and Humanity's Mystical Birthright
A 4-MODULE ONLINE COURSE with Dr. Kenneth Rose

Presented by Embodied Philosophy

A one-time investment of $127, or join the Wisdom School

 

Tuition Options

ONE-TIME

$127

ONE-TIME PAYMENT

4 Zoom Sessions

4 Q&As with Kenneth

4 Videos & MP3s

Course Readings

10 YA Credits

10 EP Credits

Pop-Up Facebook Group

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PAYMENT PLAN

$49

3 PAYMENTS, AUTO-DEBITED FOR 3 MONTHS

4 Zoom Sessions

4 Q&As with Kenneth

4 Videos & MP3s

Course Readings

10 YA Credits

10 EP Credits

Pop-Up Facebook Group

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Monthly

$97

PER MONTH

Unlimited Access to Course Archive

Unlimited Access to Yoga Seminar

Unlimited Access to All Future Courses, Conferences & Seminars

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Annual

$997

ONE-TIME FEE

Unlimited Access to Course Archive

Unlimited Access to Yoga Seminar

Unlimited Access to All Future Courses, Conferences & Seminars

**Savings of $167 Off Monthly Price

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Live sessions: Tuesdays 7- 9 pm EST

NOTE: All Sessions are Live and Interactive through the Zoom Platform. If you cannot make the live session, it will be recorded and made available to you the following day.

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