To the best of my knowledge, there is not any really comparable non-denominational, non-sectarian centre for integrated spiritual studies open to students of all backgrounds...
Professor James W. Morris, Dept. of Theology, Boston College, USA
Self-knowledge is a process of uncovering, realising, and awakening to what is innate in all of us.
This journey is for anyone who questions their reality, their place and purpose in this life. Since no one can teach another person their inner reality, the role of the staff at Chisholme is to guide and encourage, not to instruct or tell. The responsibility for self discovery remains firmly with each one of us.
The guiding principle of the education is the essential Unity of all Existence.
This is a perspective which lies at the heart of all great wisdom traditions and religions. Study draws on these, but it is for us studying here to discover for ourselves what these traditions convey. Chisholme is not itself aligned to any religion. The aim of the education is to connect us to the source of all genuine spiritual practice. The materials studied in depth at the School include wisdom texts from the Sufi, Christian, Taoist, Buddhist and Hindu traditions, with particular focus on works by Ibn'Arabi and Rumi. The nearest that the school comes to religion is to recognise the truth of Ibn ‘Arabi’s words from eight centuries ago: “I follow the religion of Love: whatever way Love's mounts take, that is my religion and my faith.”
The four elements which together constitute the education here are outlined below:
We study a carefully selected range of texts from the major wisdom traditions. Their common thread is that they help unlock and deepen the journey of self discovery. Study involves the reading and in-depth group exploration of the ideas and insights students themselves experience. Read more...
Meditation and the cultivation of awareness and receptivity is offered as an important part of the core curriculum, both as a subject in itself and as an aspect of the daily programme.
To begin with, meditation is simply practicing awareness – noticing what is happening without trying to change it. Time is given to meditation each day; both guided mindfulness meditations and silent meditation.
Here is a thought-provoking paper by Bulent Rauf on the deepest meaning of meditation, as understood from within the context of the education at Chisholme.
Reflective activities are balanced with practical work in the kitchen, house and estate. Work is an opportunity to put the themes explored in study into practice. It is also an opportunity to learn new skills and connect with the beautiful, bountiful land Chisholme is supported by. Balancing both work and study is fundamental to the courses at Chisholme. Work can be contemplative, devotional and a form of study in itself.
Photo © Maria Young
Devotional practices help establish constancy in our awareness, refinement of our sensibilities and cultivate the quality of the heart. Whatever form its object takes, religious or secular, visible or invisible, devotion is a means to establish a relationship with our deepest sense of being. At Chisholme we work to refine this universal human impulse of love so that it can become focused on the origin of love itself. Read more
The universities of the future will do one thing we do not do today.
They will teach the art of self-discovery.
There is nothing more fundamental in education.
Ben Okri, A Time for New Dreams
I'm struggling to find the words to describe how amazing and life changing the Woodland Retreat has been for me. Quite possibly the most seminal week of my life with lots of fun, laughter, friendship, beauty and good food thrown in.
Go. Seriously, you owe it to yourself to go do it...
(S.L. course participant 2017)
Fri 1st October 2021
Wed 10th November 2021 20:00
What does it mean to be human? How do we relate to ourselves, to others, to the world?
Thu 25th November 2021
Fri 4th March 2022 20:00
A follow-on residential course which takes Ibn 'Arabi's Wisdom of the Prophets as its core text
Sun 28th November 2021
An invitation to sit together in silent meditation