Spiritual healing on tap at conference
July 25, 2006
It may take more than just a pill to temper high blood pressure or those ulcers.The Aspen-based center for spirituality, the Spiritual Paths Foundation, has a different prescription at its fifth summer program. This year’s focus is “The Healing Power of Love and Compassion,” which combines three spiritual experts with three medical professionals for a panel discussion and interactive sessions.Ed Bastian is the president of Spiritual Paths and will also be a panelist at the seminar. This year’s idea developed because of the close connection between health, love, compassion and meditation, he said.Stress is often the root cause of many health problems, from emotional disorders to hypertension. That’s why meditation is key to getting at the root of health problems.”If we’re able to have a contemplative practice, a meditative practice, we’re able to have a better quality of mind,” Bastian said. “In a sense, a lot of the root causes of health problems lie in the mind.”Even deeper than stress lie common human emotions that can take their toll on any person.”Anger, hatred, jealousy, ill will, selfishness, greed are all causes of stress,” Bastian said. “The most direct antidote to those causes is love and compassion. Kindness, generosity.”But Bastian also said the forum isn’t intended to provide a one-size-fits-all solution for attendees. That’s why experts from Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism will be panelists this year. Other experts, including teachers of Islam, have been at previous conferences. People still make their own choice – Bastian says Spiritual Paths just helps them “connect the dots.””There are many methods and approaches that have been prescribed by many traditions,” Bastian said. “By bringing together the methods taught by these traditions, you can help people of many different predispositions learn about love and compassion.”This year’s conference begins at 5 p.m. Saturday at Paepcke Auditorium with a keynote address by Joan Borysenko. Bastian said Borysenko “may be the best-known writer and speaker in the country from the subject of mind, body, spirit and health.”The conference continues at 9 a.m. Monday at the Aspen Chapel with the panel discussion and interactive sessions. A spiritual expert will pair off with a medical expert for three different sessions. Participants will be able to sit in on all three sessions.Spiritual Paths was founded in Aspen in 2001, and also has expanded its programs to Boulder, New York, California and Canada. Teachers in Aspen have also developed a curriculum for a master’s degree program, which is slated to begin in 2007. The program is awaiting accreditation.Aspen is its own breeding ground for ideas with organizations like the Aspen Institute taking the lead. It’s that spirit of learning that makes Aspen the perfect place for Spiritual Paths, Bastian said.”Aspen is a very nurturing environment for ideas and for the synthesis of ideas,” he said “and the creation of new and important ideas.”Joan Borysenko speaks at 5 p.m. Saturday at Paepcke Auditorium. Tickets are $15, available at the Wheeler Opera House; call 920-5770 for more information. The conference continues at 9 a.m. Monday at the Aspen Chapel. Registration costs $125; call 544-4921 to register or for more information.Greg Schreier’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.