retreat, stillness, simplicity
holidays, hikes, stays and sabbaticals in France in the Pyrenees mountains

spirituality, experience, awareness and conscience links.

Worthwhile links about character, spirituality, social skills, education, ego development, hiking, hermits, wilderness, phenomenology, meditation, focusing, social construction of our self, narrative identity and more.

Why character matters, Character shapes our destiny as an individual person. And it shapes the destiny of our society too.

InSite an International youth leadership program designed to enrich secondary education and/or fulfill learning outcomes or competencies which demonstrate student initiation, service learning, personal leadership development, team work, resourcefulness, and good citizenship (both local and global).

Leadership skills Why not use what works?  Here is an overview of leadership in The Boys Scouts of America Senior Patrol Leaders (SPL) Handbook.  The SPL, for those not familiar with Boy Scout, is the lead youth in charge of the troop.  It is important to note, The Boys Scouts of America strongly recommends to adult leaders that the troop be “boy run”.  That is adults only act as advisors and the boys take responsibility for all the planning and implementation of regular troop activities.

Kegan's Theory of the Evolution of Consciousness. Robert Kegan is a developmental psychologist, based at Harvard, and inspired by Piaget’s stage theories and Kohlberg's research on moral development, he has proposed his own stage theory based on further research on how we become socially mature and why this may fail.

An interview with Robert Kegan Professional Development at Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he taught for forty years until his retirement in 2016.  Additionally he was the Educational Chair for the Institute for Management and Leadership in Education and the Co-director for the Change Leadership Group.

Immunity to Change: An Exploration in Self-Awareness. Why is personal change so difficult? If we hope to develop leaders, we need a better understanding of the change process. Based on the work of Kegan & Lahey highlights potential reasons why, despite our best intentions, personal change and development do not occur.

How do we know if we are on a legitimate course in our spiritual development? A transformative, vital spirituality is not a process of picking and choosing what is convenient to us. We cannot have it both ways; we cannot grow spiritually while controlling our goal. If we establish our own criteria for our spiritual growth, we lose the role of learner and feign the role of teacher. On the other hand, can we expect to make lasting progress if we only follow a ready-made path that may have worked for others yet may not be genuine?

Mindfulness usually conveys the taken-for-granted neoliberalism of someone who’s been thoroughly socialized into the politics of the post-Reagan and Thatcher eras, in which “there is no such thing as society.” Everything of consequence is assumed to happen at the individual level; consequently, there’s no need to think into the social and organizational contexts in which businesses operate and work actually takes place. “But for all this talk of stress, we rarely examine its root causes,” Gelles writes. “Stress isn’t something imposed on us. It’s something we impose on ourselves.”

Spiritual but not religious feelings, acts and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine.

Hermits: often, both in religious and secular literature, the term "hermit" is also used loosely for any Christian living a secluded meditation-focused life, and sometimes interchangeably with anchorite/anchoress, recluse and "solitary". Other religions, for example, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam (Sufism), and Taoism, also have hermits in the sense of individuals living an ascetic form of life.

On Focusing and Spirituality. Founder of a popular self-actualization technique called Focusing, Gendlin has had an enthusiastic reception among North American Buddhists. Gendlin’s Buddhist students find Focusing to be compatible with meditation and use it to complement traditional contemplative practices.

How Buddhists and Christians can learn from each other. One religion is built around a Middle Eastern peasant teacher executed at a young age. The other is based on an Indian prince who became an elder sage. But they had a mutual emphasis on compassion, respecting enemies and letting go of destructive ways of acting. Although there are some differences around social justice, maybe these religions aren’t so polarized.

Major themes from Catholic Social Teaching. The following principles highlight major themes from Catholic social teaching
documents of the last century.

Buddhism and Social Action: the many different kinds of action intended to benefit mankind. These range from simple individual acts of charity, teaching and training, organized kinds of service, "Right Livelihood" in and outside the helping professions, and through various kinds of community development as well as to political activity in working for a better society.

Liberation theology is an interpretation of Christian theology which emphasizes a concern for the liberation of the oppressed. Theologies of liberation have developed in other parts of the world such as Black theology in the United States and South Africa, Palestinian liberation theology, Dalit theology in India, and Minjung theology in South Korea.

Has the Cold War been followed by a new class war? A transatlantic class war seems to have broken out simultaneously in many countries between elites based in the corporate, financial, and professional sectors and working-class populists. Already this transnational class conflict has produced Brexit and the election of Donald Trump to the American presidency. Other shocks are likely in store.

A neglected aspect of conscience: awareness of implicit attitudes. If conscience is a way of ensuring that our behavior is in line with our moral values, it must be responsive to all aspects of our mind that influence our behavior. A necessary part of having a well-functioning conscience must thus be awareness and regulation of our implicit attitudes in addition to our explicit attitudes; this cannot be done in isolation.

Social Construction of Reality page. How we were raised and what we were raised to believe, affect how we present ourselves, how we perceive others, and how others perceive us. In short, our perceptions of reality are colored by our beliefs and backgrounds.

Kelly's original Role Construct Repertory Test for Self-awareness and Conscience: The goal of the Role Construct Repertory Test is to help us understand how we view (that is, construe) our world, especially those people we know and where this comes from.

Narrative identity: as individuals we form an identity by integrating our life experiences into an internalized, evolving story of our self, which provides us with a sense of unity and purpose in life. This life narrative integrates our reconstructed past, perceived present, and imagined future.

 The conservative turn in Gestalt and Person-Centered-Psychotherapy. One perspective in psychotherapy assumes that therapy can measure, apprehend and even control human experience. The other recognizes that therapy is insufficient in explaining it and that it is ethically unsound to attempt to control it. The first is often complicit with the current master narrative of neoliberalism. By affirming the essential unknowability of being-in-the-world, the second is open to the possibility of the new and the creation of a life-affirming counter-narrative. Recent developments in person-centered therapy (PCT) have seemingly aligned it with the first rather than the second worldview.

Phenomenology and Spirituality: This small essay is an attempt to make some preliminary connections between phenomenology and spirituality. In the first section the two terms are given some more flesh and in the second section their interconnection is explored.

Phenomenology of spiritual experiences in the wilderness This study uses thirty-two semi-structured interviews of overnight visitors to a northern wilderness to question, update, and improve our understanding of spiritual experiences in wilderness.

Wilderness, A Spiritual Antidote to the Everyday: A Phenomenology of Spiritual Experiences in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.