Spirits Soaring

By Steven Libowitz   |   May 17, 2018

The Spiritualist Church of The Comforter of Santa Barbara has roots that date back more than 125 years to its charter in Summerland in 1891, when it served as the focal point of a small community developed as a summer camp for the newly founded Spiritualist Organization. The church had to relocate when the 101 freeway was built in the early 1950s and has been located at 1028 Garden Street downtown Santa Barbara ever since, and where it still serves seekers of Infinite Intelligence and communication with those who have passed on.

While there are regular local services and seminars, Church of the Comforter also frequently welcomes visiting teachers. Over five days this week, the community is hosting Robin Hodson, an internationally recognized spiritualist medium and tutor, and president of the International Spiritualist Federation from the U.K. Hodson is conducting an array of workshops and demonstrations to share the gift of accessing and refining intuitive ability and mediumship skills from May 18-22, beginning on Friday with an “Evening with Spirit Demonstration of Mediumship” readings, from 7 to 8:30 pm, with a suggested donation of $30. Sunday’s “A Conversation with Spirit” offers attendees to opportunity to witness a demonstration of trance mediumship from 1:30 to 3 pm ($30), while Monday brings a day-long Mediumship Development workshop. The 10 am to 4:30 pm practical seminar uses techniques to support budding mediums at all ability levels, with working mediums enhancing links with Spirit as beginners find clarity in making links. The suggested donation is $95. Tuesday’s Working With Energy workshop, which carries the same hours and admission, lets participants explore the world of energy, including auras, psychometry, psychic readings, and more, while learning to recognize energies’ effects on us and how to use them in psychic development. The practical day is also designed for all levels.

Reverend Pam Bollinger serves as host for all of the events. For more information, call 965-4474, or visit www.SCOTC.org, or pay at the Eventbrite link: www.eventbrite.com/o/spiritualist-church-of-the-comforter-santa-barbara-17259875272.

Dharma in the Early Days

Plenty of people who discovered the benefits of regular meditation might have wished such opportunities were as widespread when they were children. With that thought in mind, Mahakankala Buddhist Center has launched a monthly program geared toward kids aged 10 to teenagers. The Peace Is Possible group meets 1 to 3:30 pm this Sunday, May 20, for a guided meditation plus a project to engage the minds of young people, led by the resident teacher of Mahakankala Buddhist Center, Keli Vaughan. Access is via a family membership of $50 per month, which gives parents and kids a chance to participate in the General Program (Intro) meditation classes and the special kids group meeting.

Mahakankala’s new class series, Overcoming Our Own Anger, begins Wednesday, May 16, and continues each Wednesday from 6:30 to 7:30 pm to address how anger appears in many forms and disguises, including a feeling of stress or the form of depression. The class comes from the concept that from the slightest frustration to resentment and embittered rage, anger is an emotion we all need to understand and conquer if we are to enjoy and make the most out of our life. Participants will explore practical solutions to the problem of anger, deconstructing its actual causes and learning viable alternatives to the painful habit of mind. As always, each class begins with a guided breathing meditation and culminates with a second meditation based upon the evening’s topic. The classes are geared toward all levels of experience, including beginners, and drop-ins are okay at $10 per.

Mahakankala Buddhist Center is located at 508 Brinkerhoff Ave. in Santa Barbara. Call 563-6000 or visit www.meditationinsantabarbara.org.

Sangha-led Seminars

While Santa Barbara Bodhi Path resident teacher Dawa Tarchin Phillips is away leading the ambitious Awakened World Global Pilgrimage from May 11 to June 11 (in which the entourage will visit seven spiritual sites across the Middle East and adjoining continents), members of the Buddhist sangha will be leading the programs for the next several weeks, which are often even more meaningful experiences for the community. Taking Refuge is the subject for a Panel Discussion on Thursday, May 17, where members will be sharing their daily practice experience in an informal question-and-answer format, with a focus on deepening trust in Buddha, Dharma, and sangha, from 7 to 9 pm.

On May 20 and 22, Book Club discussions on The Path to Awakening by Shamar Rinpoche take place at the center, where members study, talk about, and put into practice the clearly laid-out mind training instructions. Next Thursday, May 24, following the group meditation and tea break, there’s a video viewing of a teaching by Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche (in English) from a course at the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute (KIBI) in 2012. Kunzig Shamar (1952-2014) was the 14th Shamarpa, or Red Hat Lama of Tibet.

Bodhi Path Santa Barbara is located at 102 West Mission St. Call 284-2704 or visit www.bodhipath.org/sb.

Aids to Abundance

Steven Kubes, a certified trainer in Jack Canfield’s “The Success Principles,” offers a “Find Your Turning Point Principals to an Abundant Life” masterclass at Maravilla Valencia Room next Thursday, May 24. The “Re-Ignite Your Passion” session aims to help participants discover how to find your best self, your authentic self, and life purpose. Using Canfield’s material, Kubes will offer methods to get more clarity and focus that can improve relationships and creativity as well as productivity. The key is to take 100 percent responsibility for one’s health-fitness and life, finding and maintaining balance with and between the body, spirit, and mind to achieve clarity and true purpose and more happiness and joy. The 6 to 9 pm workshop at 5486 Calle Real costs $25. Visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/re-ignite-your-passion-tickets-45482275711.

Happenings at the Healing Hub

Dale Halaway, the Las Vegas-based personal transformation coach and author who is well into his second full year leading seminars in Santa Barbara, is taking an almost six-month hiatus before returning for the next installment in the ongoing Sage Teachings That Inspire series slated for September 21-23 at the Healing Hub. “Being Called to Change,” based on his just-published first book of the same name, represents the culmination of much of his work over the decades, representing a deep journey to let go of all that no longer serves us, and growing into our full potential by understanding the nature of change, including recognizing when it is “knocking,” what it is offering, and how to embrace it effectively with minimal stress. The seminar lays the groundwork for making massive changes that stick, ones that move toward fully embodying our souls code – our true purpose in life.

In the interim, however, he’s coming to town for his much more in-depth Coaching School For Family & Friends, taking place July 25-30. The program is for those who have attended at least one previous seminar with Halaway and are ready to take transformation to a new level by delving deeply into the TransCovery Process, Halaway’s self-actualization offering that provides the structure to access, correctly identify and release the energy of negative thoughts, feelings, limiting beliefs, patterns, and attachments The seminar is limited to just 28 people and offers personalized coaching with the goal of having participants possibly pay it forward by becoming transformational life coaches themselves. (Visit https://sageteachingsthatinspire.com/coachingschoolff for details).

Meanwhile, Hub founders (and Montecito power-healing couple) Ragan and Alex Thomson will conduct several introductory sessions to preview the September weekend seminar and address any potential questions about the work. There are half a dozen such gatherings on the schedule, slated for Wednesday, May 23, Monday, June 4, July 23, August 6 and 20, and September 3. Admission is free to the 6:30 to 8 pm sessions. As part of the ongoing programs, the Thomsons and The Healing Hub have also scheduled other events, including Ragan teaming with her mom, Dr. Nancy O’Reilly, to host another “Awaken & Empower the Feminine” Networth Gathering on June 7, where women are invited to learn how to and experience awakening leading with the feminine. Tickets for the 6 to 9 pm gathering are $20. The Hub is located at 121 S. Hope Avenue, D111B. Call 699-5308 or visit https://healinghubsantabarbara.com.

Deity on the Dance Floor

NECTAR, the Cybil Gilbertson-curated live, local professional artist showcase featuring original dance, theater, performance art, music, film, and visual art, highlights a relevant social theme for each of its once quarterly concerts, and donates some of its proceeds to local nonprofits that are connected to the subject. The next NECTAR, slated for 7 pm Saturday, May 19, at Yoga Soup, serves as a fundraiser for NECTAR’s own rebirth in the Santa Barbara community, possibly resuming regular performances as the series approaches its 10th anniversary next October. Gilbertson has taken on the theme of “God.” Who knows where that will lead? But NECTAR’s events are usually somewhat spiritually awakening, even when the subject is more mundane. Admission is $15.

Ongoing Opportunities

Yoga Soup hosts its next 432hz Sound Healing with Shane Thunder, who uses alchemical gemstone and Tibetan singing bowls, chimes, drums, aromatherapy, and guided meditation to instill a deeply meditative and rebalanced state, at 7:30 pm on Friday, May 18. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 day of. Details at www.yogasoup.com….. Santa Barbara Cuddle Connection, which gets together every fourth Saturday of the month, meets at Santa Barbara Body Therapy Institute, 516 N. Quarantina Street, from 7 to 10 pm on May 19. As always, the evening starts with an icebreaker and the creation of a safety container with exercises and demonstrations to develop trust in the area of platonic touch before the last half of the evening lets participants put the skills into use. (It’s perfectly okay to just observe too.) Admission is $20. Info at www.meetup.com/Cuddle-and-Connection-Santa-Barbara…. Self Enquiry Life Fellowship brings His Holiness Swami Vidyadhishananda to Unity of Santa Barbara on Saturday night for an evening of guided meditation and more. The 6 to 9 pm event includes discourse on Patañjali Yogasutra, a guided meditation with the Swami, authentic Yoga-sutra teachings, pranayama breathwork, mantra chanting, devotional singing, and a blessing line (darshan). Free love donations accepted. Call (909) 543-6003 or visit www.meetup.com/hansavedas….. SKY Breathing Meditation next weekend training takes place May 18-20, also at Unity. The weekend offers a deep dive into the process that utilizes the innate ability of the breath to trigger an automatic quieting of the mind, and includes specific light physical stretches, interactive processes, and other elements that will help experience and integrate the benefits of meditation into every aspect of life. Call 815-9700or visit www.eventbrite.com/e/sky-breathing-meditation-program-may-18-20-2018-tickets-45150127246…. Jim Dreaver‘s “Awaken Now” gathering, which uses the “Only now is real…” mantra to free ourselves from the “story” inside our heads and includes Q&A and discussion, takes place 7 pm, Monday, May 21, at a private home on Verde Vista Drive. Free admission, donations accepted. Call 563-4904 or (310) 916-4037 or visit www.jimdreaver.com.


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