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Deepening Your Practice 3: Contemplation & Collective Inquiry

Amy Edelstein

Monday, April 7, 2014 at 1:00 PM - Sunday, June 22, 2014 at 3:00 PM (EDT)

Deepening Your Practice 3: Contemplation & Collective...

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INQUIRY (Apr - June) Ended $350.00 $0.00

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Deepening Your Practice Meditation & Spiritual Instruction

A position towards life that supports your intention to develop, enhances the effort you make, and generates the energy you need to keep developing


You are a spiritual being, having a human experience. Wouldn’t it be great if you could really live your life that way? Teilhard de Chardin saw that world this way, exclaiming, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience!” The awe, wonder, and joy at the deeper currents of life and our evolutionary potential must have been surging through his heart and consciousness when he made that statement. 

You have probably felt like that at some points too, and even lived periods of your life in this deeper current. So many of us have. Though our popular culture is characterized by commercialism and more superficial relationships, it’s not that rare to connect with others and tap into our shared deeper yearning and love of the numinous. At those times you probably feel like you have no doubt you would be happiest if you always lived this way. We all would!

In spite of the deeper yearning and even direct realization, if you are like so many serious spiritual practitioners, the more mundane dimensions of life and relationship seem to inevitably crowd out the depth. You forget how to access your own inspiration.

You don’t forget the experience. It was real. And its mark on your heart and soul are also real.

So you may have

  • Tried to recreate the experience you had but found yourself unable to.
  • Continued to apply yourself to your spiritual growth through will power without the upsurge of inspiration, and got more or less tied up in knots.
  • Kept your spiritual practice going, learning and clocking the hours but wondering if there wasn’t a way to re-charge or supercharge the time you were putting in.
  • Copied the methods and approaches of others you felt were further along, with some success and an increasing feeling of distance from yourself.
  • Wished you had a teacher, coach, or community who would provide the safety, security, and support you feel you’d benefit from.
  • Decided that your spiritual development could wait until grace came along again and proved that it was, mysteriously, the right time to awaken once more.
  • Spent precious time wishing for a better situation, then wishing you were just getting on with your practice, but not knowing how.

If any of this sounds familiar, you share common experiences with countless spiritual practitioners both contemporary and who have walked the path long before us. Most people who care about deeper transformation we’ve ever met have felt this way. Chris and I have too. We know all this up-close-and-personal. But through perseverance, master guidance, shared effort with spiritual community, we have discovered a way to align in a posture that supports the best of our intentions to live a life of deeper meaning and purpose. We’ve also applied these insights to help many other individuals we’ve worked with trust and develop in remarkable and steady ways.

Don’t you sometimes feel that given the cultural revolution of the sixties and the dozens of enlightened teachers who flooded from the East to the West, we could be further along than we are?

It’s a question many of us have asked. In answer, we tend to point outward at the distractions, the push towards commercialization, commoditization, and convenience, at the thrill of technology and instant but superficial access to just about everything. But somewhere still we may wonder if that’s all there is to it. Couldn’t there be a posture or position in relationship to life that would uplift our hours, years, even decades of spiritual effort and make it really count, bring it into its own?

There is. There is a relationship—a position towards life—that can make our spiritual effort count. We can discover a way to newly value and respect the stirrings of Spirit in us and ripen so much of the experience that we’ve had.  

We can experience an updraft that we’ve actually been cultivating over time. We can also untap and unleash the spiritual goodwill and passion that so many have tasted and even lived for periods of time.

Now is the time to bring our Spirit conviction and dedication to the fore. For those who pursued the call of the sacred a long time ago, your experience and depth is needed. For those of you new to the path, you can set yourself in a posture that will serve you the rest of your life. We have a great future that needs as much wisdom and integrity and the sacred as we can bring to it.

How Do We Empower Our Own Practice?

The secret to empowering our spiritual practice is as simple and accessible as it is subtle and hard to make your own. They say the jewel of enlightenment can easily slip out of our hands. But we can learn how to hold on tight in ways that simultaneously open us up to the ever-present mystery that always lies within.

We intend to save you years of trial and error so that rather than feeling stuck you can experience the confidence that comes from time well spent and

Like a good sports coach or yoga teacher can save you years of injury and time off your mat by setting the basics of form and posture from the start, the insights we will share with you will do the same.

Join Chris Parish and Amy Edelstein for this 9 month course Deepening Your Practice: Spiritual Transformation as a Way of Life. We will guide you carefully, compassionately, and insightfully in an interactive, hands-on training so you can become familiar with that posture that will release  your intention, stir your spiritual heart, reinvigorate your sense of the possible, and enable you to become a real contributor to our shared mission to evolve our higher capacities of consciousness and the values of the culture we share.


What Participants Have Realized From Amy & Chris’s Instruction

“Thanks again for a great class. I've spoken with quite a few of the participants and across the board you made a strong impact. Everyone is really trying to apply this in their lives and work and seeing some results. Pretty cool that it’s possible to do that via the internet!” 

KM, Alaska

“Amy’s own history was very inspiring because she both showed what is possible for everybody and what it really takes to find your own way and stay true to it - to be a living expression of it. And that what it takes is not something that we first have to get, but something that we already have, that we have to learn to listen to and cultivate. At the same time she did not hide the fact that it takes a lot of courage if we want to make ourselves available to the spiritual impulse and the radical freedom and insecurity that comes with it.”

HH, Norway

“I have always thought that a true teacher had the capacity to teach on many levels at the same time, speaking to the place each person listening was able to hear, therefore expanding the awareness of everyone listening in some way.  You certainly did that today.  (I think I signed up knowing that :) You are incredible models for those of us who are 'aspiring teachers'.” 

DS, Ohio

I'm always so powerfully affected by our calls. Our group covers a lot of ground and we travel far. I am especially grateful for how Chris shares himself so freely through his experiences, past and present. I am always inspired by his teaching. 

BM, England

“Thx for your reply to my question! You have really clarified well my experience as a new student of Evolutionary Spirituality. I no longer feel like I am terribly crazy! Just ‘tuning’ my understanding.”

BH, Massachusetts

“When Amy told that she (because of her auto accident) does not meditate so much anymore it challenged my thoughts about meditation. It reminded me that even though meditation is a very important practice it cannot become a goal in and of itself. This inspires me to approach my meditation practice for the right reasons and to ongoingly cultivate awareness on my intentions and perspective in my spiritual striving.”

AC, Sweden

"Chris has been my teacher for the past two years.  From my first meeting with him I recognized a quietness and depth in his listening and connection.  He brings this to great effect in his approach to explaining the complex and offering a way forward to explore and learn, without imposing his own views.  He is supportive and empathic in his practice and brings a lightness to make things seem possible."

PM Spain

“Amy transmitted a deep meaningfulness and satisfaction by living in accordance with the evolutionary impulse, with cosmic conscience, and thereby with a purpose that reaches far beyond the personal all the way back in history and forward into a future that we can not even imagine yet!”

OB, Denmark


What You Can Expect from Our Deepening Your Practice Virtual Course

Deepening Your Practice will open you up to ways you can get the most out of your spiritual practice and your authentic efforts to evolve. In this 9-month course, experienced guides and educators Chris Parish and Amy Edelstein will skillfully illuminate the openings that can make all the difference for your next step in your own spiritual development.

In this course, you will:

  • Work with a variety of spiritual practices—meditation, individual reflection & collective dialogue--learning what the different effects and strengths we can develop from each.
  • Learn how to guide yourself through the obstacles that inevitably arise from external issues, knowledge gaps, and our own self-deception.
  • Share practice and contemplation with others in this course, developing spiritual friendships and discovering how much we can support each other’s spiritual development.
  • Develop your own next steps, giving you confidence in your chosen path and practice.
  • Liberate your creative interest through inquiry, humor, and real discovery. 
  • Discover reservoirs of spiritual strength and depth you didn’t realize existed within you.
  • Gain confidence in the process of evolution and the possibility of lasting and authentic transformation.
  • Learn how to make mistakes gracefully and realize inquiry has everything to do with our commitment to a higher goal, not to simply performing well or saying what we think is the right thing.
  • Release energy and inertia as you experience the camaraderie of development together with others.
  • Realize the freedom, joy, and liberated happiness that comes from aligning your life with your deepest passions and from recognizing the inseparability of your own transformation with the upliftment of the world around us.

Amy and Chris intend for everyone to make leaps in this class and will do everything they can to support the depth, strength, and spiritual passion of every individual. With humor and insight, they will share invaluable insights from their combined 70+ years of time clocked on the proverbial spiritual cushion. Their goal is to help you avoid unnecessary pitfalls and detours that sap time, energy, inspiration, and confidence. You’ll also simply experience, from lesson to lesson, the buoyancy and enthusiasm of spiritual momentum, as you let go into a deeper trust in life through the support of expert mentorship and sacred camaraderie of other co-evolutionaries.

While not the first time they have taught together—Chris and Amy share a 25 year history of friendship and dharma dialogue together on the path--this course is newly developed from exactly the insights they both feel are essential to share with individuals who are dedicated to spiritual realization and transformation.



A Different Way to Inquire

“Why do some people contemplate and develop wisdom and understanding, while I seem to go in circles?” If this is a question you secretly or not-so-secretly ask yourself about your practice, then this module will be a turning point for you. Amy and Chris will explore how to approach our individual contemplation in a way that will lead to deeper insight and development. We’ll look at the importance of self-reflection, contemplation of spiritual truths, and the practice of journaling. We’ll remove blocks and misconceptions along the way to reveal the richness of discovery. And we will share with you what it means to contemplate in a way that takes us beyond the known.

You will learn:

     Different approaches to contemplation: reflection, reading inspirational passages, journaling
     How to structure a contemplative practice
     What it means to have “beginner’s mind”
     The value of adding contemplation to your meditation practice



When Study Becomes Spiritual Practice

Cognitive development can also serve as a central and valuable component of our spiritual path. But why does the understanding of so many Ph.D.’s not lead to spiritual wisdom? Why do some religious traditions eschew studying in favor of meditation, worship, service, or prayer? How can we relate to learning philosophy, spirituality, history, the social or natural sciences in a way that deepens our approach to spiritual transformation? These are questions that are becoming increasingly important in our information-based world so we do not create false divides between spirit and engagement in the world. They are also questions increasingly relevant to those of us who see the world through a spiritually awakened evolutionary perspective.

You will learn:

     The different posture between classic academic study and study that informs our desire for transformation
     How to nurture our innate curiosity
     How our motive to awaken can be strengthened by our understanding of history
     Several key thinkers who transformed Chris & Amy’s relationship to study and spiritual practice



 Learning & Practicing an Evolutionary Worldview

An evolutionary worldview is increasingly becoming the context for contemporary spiritual practice. Evolutionary Christianity, Evolutionary Judaism, Evolutionary Enlightenment, Integral Practice, all incorporate a deep time perspective and a scientific appreciation for the principles and process of evolution that has created our beautiful world. This worldview is more and more the lens through which we relate to the world around us. What is an evolutionary worldview? How does it inform our practice? Amy and Chris will illustrate how an evolutionary worldview re-colors the way we see the world, how we can “practice” this view to internalize it, and how it can transform our values and relationships with the world around us. 

You will learn:

     What is meant by the term “evolutionary worldview?”
     Why this perspective generates a sense of optimism and strength
     How it changes our priorities, values, ethics, motives, and sense of care
     How to cultivate a lens of cultural developmental inquiry




Generating a Field

Spiritual practice is not only a solitary endeavor. Life is about relationship and our transformation and degrees of awakening show up in the qualities and values found in our interrelatedness. In this module, we will explore the art of collective inquiry. Chris and Amy will walk you through the mechanics of how to bring our practice of awareness, sensitivity to consciousness, and what Gregory Bateson referred to as the space between us into focus. You’ll learn how to make that space or consciousness the center point of our spiritual inquiry practice.

You will learn:

     How to become sensitive to the qualities of consciousness in group dialogue
     What to look for in an inquiry group that will take the whole group deeper
     How to hold and accommodate multiple perspectives while sharpening your discernment
     How to surf the edges of the known while tracking authentic spiritual insights and discoveries



Working in a Field

This module will explore the aspects of collective inquiry in more detail. The entire module will work experientially, deepening your confidence in this type of practice, revealing how to develop surety while not becoming fixed, rigid, or exclusive. You will practice skills of listening and interest, learning from mistakes and how to skillfully get back on track when the thread gets lost. You will learn how to listen for the deeper place another is speaking from so you can support development wherever it is trying to emerge.

You will learn:

     How to pay attention for emergence
     How to discern ways to follow the thread and weave a variegated tapestry together
     How to focus on the whole while participating fully
     How to move attention from performance to shared discovery


Next Steps: Feeling Good About Your Practice

In this module, you will bring together what you have learned and discovered into a simple plan for how you want to proceed with your practice. Whether you already have a set practice in a tradition or you want to develop a practice for your next time period, this module will help clarify and coalesce the insights you’ve had so you feel you are walking on a firm path forward. Amy and Chris will be sharing deep insights from their own years on the path, knowledge about times to push, times to gestate, times to focus inward, times to focus on interrelatedness. 

You will learn:

     How to take responsibility for your own practice
     Learning to listen to the different cycles and rhythms within
     How to work at your edge
     Establishing your practice in deeper and higher motives



Monthly 90-minute Presentations

Following the Module Guide, Chris and Amy will illuminate central themes of the practices and how to work with the to develop an integrated spiritual relationship to life. Sessions will be held the first Monday of each month at 2:30 PM US Eastern Time / 7:30 PM UK. Sessions will repeat at 8:00 PM US ET / 5:00 PM US PT, with recording of the presentation, and live Q&A with Amy.

You’ll be able to access the MP3 audio downloads of these presentations any time over the course to re-listen and work with.


* Monthly 90-minute Virtual Workshops

In these sessions, you will be guided through a workshop format of short practice and inquiry sessions, interspersed with Q&A with Amy and Chris. Your monthly virtual workshop will be held the 3rd Sunday of each month at noon US ET / 5 PM UK.

You’ll be able to access the MP3 audio downloads of the large group part of the workshops any time over the course to re-listen and work with. (The small group inquiry sessions will not be recorded.)

Monthly Virtual Meditation

Each month of the course, you will have the opportunity to tune in with others in a 60-minute virtual guided meditation led by Chris or Amy. Sharing our practice in this way creates a powerful field of awareness and also gives us unexpected inspiration and support along the way.

You’ll be able to access the MP3 audio downloads of these virtual meditations any time over the course to re-listen and work with.

* Single 60-minute Private Session with Amy or Chris

As part of the support for your individual development, you will be able to schedule a private session with Amy or Chris. In this session you can go into more depth about specific philosophical questions you may have or review your current practice plan.

* Course Workbook

For each module, you will receive a downloadable course workbook for you to use for your reflections, insights, practices, and creative outpourings. This guide for your contemplation will include exercises, questions for reflection, or quotes for inspiration to support the deepening of your practice.

* Private Online Discussion Group

Course participants will have access to a fully private Facebook group to continue your inquiry between classes. Chris and Amy will also periodically answer questions and post new food for thought in this group.



1st Monday 2:30 US ET / 7:30 UK and 8:00 PM US ET

3rd Sunday noon US ET / 5:00 PM UK

Virtual meditations & Private Sessions will be scheduled once the course begins 


If you have further questions about the course or need help registering, please email us at:

We fully hope and intend that this course will exceed your expectations. We are committed to supporting your development and providing a program that express excellence, integrity, consistency, and value. If within 30 days of the start of the course, you are not satisfied with the program, you may request a refund of 100% of your payments to date. Please submit your refund request by email to or by post to Emergence Education, 230 Stampers Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147. Refunds will be processed within four weeks.




A Rich Background of Practice

Chris began his meditation practice in 1973 in India, and Amy began her dedicated spiritual work in 1979 in Israel. They bring with them knowledge of time-honored spiritual paths, contemporary evolutionary spirituality, and their personal insights, gleaned by clocking many hours of practice and persevering through enormous challenges to experience the liberating breakthrough of spiritual insight and the humbling wonder of self transformation.

The spiritual teachers and meditation instructors they have studied with in person include (more or less in chronological order) Lama Yeshe, Douglas Harding, JK Krishnamurti,  Munindra, Christopher Titmuss, School of Advanced Jewish Studies, Eido Roshi, Yogi Amrit Desai, Lama Zopa, Yeshe Dorje Rinpoche (One of the Dalai Lama’s Spiritual Advisors), HH the Dalai Lama, Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche (one of the Dalai Lama’s Senior Tutors), Geshe Sopa Rinpoche, SN Goenka, Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, Swami Krishnananda (from Sivananda Divine Life Society), Swami Chidananda (from Sivananda Divine Life Society), Metropolitan Anthony (Orthodox Christian leader), Vimala Thakar, and both have been designated Senior Teachers of Evolutionary Enlightenment, having practiced this path for over twenty five years with Andrew Cohen.


About Chris Parish & Amy Edelstein

Chris Parish is a leading voice in the emerging field of evolutionary spirituality and is a popular speaker, workshop facilitator and cultural commentator, teaching in various countries. Having spent forty years pursuing spiritual illumination and philosophical understanding, he has served as the director of EnlightenNext UK, an educational charity, which he co-founded 20 years ago. His background was originally in ecology and nature, a subject still close to his heart. Chris teaches non duality and meditation as well as evolutionary emergence, and  is a senior teacher of Evolutionary Enlightenment. In collaboration with Andrew Cohen, he developed a powerful form of dialogue called enlightened communication which facilitates conversation beyond separation. Chris is currently writing a book on evolving culture in Britain, called The Creative Thread.


Amy Edelstein, cofounder of Emergence Education is a gifted educator, public speaker, and writer, committed to individual transformation and the evolution of our shared values. A Cornell University College Scholar, Amy has a background in Judaic philosophy, as well as Eastern thought. She studied with a number of preeminent Vedantic and Buddhist teachers in the early 1980s, then began practicing Evolutionary Enlightenment with Andrew Cohen in 1986. Passionate about human development and the unfolding of our mystical stirrings within, Amy now teaches a variety of transformational programs including yearlong indepth courses as well as individual mentoring. She is the author of the forthcoming Love, Marriage & Evolution and currently lives in historic Philadelphia.


Have questions about Deepening Your Practice 3: Contemplation & Collective Inquiry? Contact Amy Edelstein

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