I’m writing from Berkeley, California. Staying with generous friends way up in the hills overlooking San Francisco Bay. Clouds roll in off the ocean, cloaking three bridges (including the famous one) in thick fog. It comes all the way up here, misting the lush garden and making for chilly mornings. They say that it’s typical for the mid-summer months and that it gets warmer (hotter) in September.
I’m here for the first of four intensive seminar that’s part of an almost two-year training program in what traditionally is called ‘interfaith spiritual direction, but may more appropriately be called ‘spiritual caregiving’ or ‘spiritual companioning.’ All mouthfuls; in essence to assist others to become more intimate with the divine. My eight classmates come from various faith traditions and work environments — hospice workers, chaplains, veteran counsellors, parish workers, psychotherapists. I’m the sole Buddhist practitioners in the room but most have backgrounds in meditation and contemplation. Our two teachers for this week bring rich academic and lived experience in world religion, counselling, pastoral work, and teaching. The days are full and exhausting.
I’ll write more, naturally. May your life go well.