Technology and Spiritual Education

In the old days, if you wanted to explore the inner, infinite world, you would go live with a teacher. It was intimate and personal.

That still happens — there are people who have moved here to Tucson to study in our school — but most of our students are scattered around the USA, with some in Europe and the Far East. We were one of the earliest online schools of meditation. Because I knew how to program, we had an online webcourse in 1999. (We’ve been teaching meditation since 1971.)

Not only has technology supported this, the times require it. We’re in a critical period when spiritual awakening has to happen world-wide, across all boundaries of religion, citizenship, language, etc. It’s always been true that humanity is one body, but we feel it more than ever today. Whatever affects any of us affects all of us.

The quest for the Truth is built-in to everyone, and the longing for Wholeness is felt everywhere. Humanity is awakening to the One Heart. Fortunately, there have been extraordinary researchers of Oneness from the earliest times, and now we’re able to integrate what physics and biology can add. The Internet gives us a new teaching platform.

How can an online meditation course help you? We can go through the basic instruction through reading, writing, recordings and video conferences. We will recommend two inexpensive instruments for biofeedback and assessment, one electronic and one mechanical. Throughout, we can track your progress so you can understand the changes you’re experiencing.

See Learn Meditation Online for a description of the eight webcourses we offer. Two of these courses require no previous experience in meditation. After that, the courses come as part of a two-year program. A thousand people have taken these courses in English, and now in Mandarin Chinese too.

The two-year program also includes a monthly Mentoring session where a certified mentor instructs you in meditation, step-by-step, over Skype, to develop the dimensions of your heart and the seven energy centers (chakras). The mentor then helps you apply your meditation to the real challenges of your life. The same mentor is dedicated to you over the two-years, and possibly beyond.

In addition to the valuable insights you share with your mentor over Skype, the mentor has another means by which to understand you and guide your next step. We teach a method called Contemplation that allows a teacher to share your heart and feel what you feel, from any distance. We use this with the greatest respect and admiration for you, to see what you don’t see. Then we’re not guessing when we prescribe a meditation (we have more than 100 specific practices), as we can experience how it will affect your heart.

We have a map of the stages of adult development that we use to track your progress. The Nine Steps of the Path of the Heart. This is a necessary part of a school — whether one is teaching violin, karate, or cooking, there is a series of steps one goes through in progression. In our lineage, these steps have been described in detail so we always know what’s next. (The nine steps are also encoded in the 11-ring labyrinth and the Buddhist Parable of the Bull.)

And we have a matrix of The Twelve Archetypes of the heart and soul. This allows us to customize the process of awakening to both your type and your stage of experience.

We can make great progress just working online, through meditating together, reading our teaching, your writing about your experience, the relationships you form with the other online students, and what your teachers and mentors feel in Contemplation.

But we still need to experience each other directly. So our two-year program is half online and half in-person. The in-person parts occur in two 5-day group retreats, two 2-week residencies and a one-week private retreat. We’ve had students participate from as far away as Australia and Taiwan, so we try to minimize the travel by combining in-person events where we can.

In summary, a relationship with a teacher is always, these days, partly present and partly absent. I didn’t have the internet when I was a student, so I just practiced on my own between in-person events while my teacher was traveling. Now we have the internet to make the process continuous and hold the connection strongly. As a result, my students make faster progress than I did. That’s the job of a teacher — to make the student’s path into the future easier than one’s own was in the past.

Blessings on your path,

Puran Bair 
Chancellor, The University of the Heart

 

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