The Case For Being Nobody

At the Cobb Institute Andre van Zijl is somebody. He is our Visual Arts Laureate and a regular attendee at many of the gatherings. But what Andre desires most of all is to be “nobody.” Inspired by the teachings of Ramakrishna, the 19th-century mystic and spiritual teacher, Andre has strived for ego transcendence and spiritual humility. By recognizing the transient nature of the self and surrendering personal desires and attachments, one can attain a state of egolessness where the boundaries between oneself and the universe blur, leading to a profound sense of oneness with all existence. This is not attained without struggle and suffering. Here Andre shares his story of his journey through the dark night of the soul and the lessons learned from the other side of ego.

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The Hopes and Fears of All the Years: Singing the Carols of Christmas

As we raise our voices in song, the sentiments carried by each lyric become threads weaving a tapestry of shared reverence and celebration. The hymns we sing, even if they are not always “theologically correct,” represent embodied theology and spirituality. In the warmth of familiar melodies, we find a sanctuary where sentiment and devotion harmonize, offering a profound connection to the divine. These songs, though they may not always adhere strictly to theological norms, become vessels for our collective spirituality, allowing us to express and experience the ineffable beauty of the Christmas story. We invite you to join Bruce Epperly as he considers the impact of music during this holiday season.

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Healing Epiphanies of Harmony

Like many troubadours and jesters through the years, Thomas Atwood is a singer. In Whiteheadian terms, every musical experience he had was a prehension of healing, and Thomas needed a ton of lessons about healing. Spiritual teachers have said that if you learn enough about any field of knowledge with sufficient complexity, sublime mystical experiences can be invited to enter the soul. For those with a gift for receptiveness, the invitation is more easily accepted. Abilities, life experiences, and the worldviews they construct will expand or contract the possibilities. We invite you to enjoy this story about healing and music.

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A Work in Process: Seeing Possibilities Instead of Roadblocks

Clarence White is retiring this year after enjoying a rich career, a career that others predicted he could never have. Clarence also has a devoted wife and family, a family that others also predicted he could never have. Clarence has Cerebral Palsy, and the “others” who doubted his potential were proven wrong. He had possibilities they couldn’t see. In this piece he talks about embracing those possibilities even as new challenges present themselves. Clarence inspires us to focus on our dreams and goals and trust in our own subjective aims.

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Process Mindfulness: Listen. Notice. Be Aware. Feel. Be Mindful.

It all began with a walk. In this piece Kat Reeves describes the moment a shift in awareness occurred, and she began to feel part of the process-relational world rather than just reading about it as a philosophy. That moment is still affecting her possibilities many years later as she helps launch a new cohort at the Cobb Institute—Process Mindfulness. Could you be affected too? We invite you to find out.

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Hope & New Life: A Pagan and a Christian in Conversation About Easter and Ostara

In this piece we observe a conversation between a Pagan and a Christian about the meaning of their respective spring holidays and the theological significance for them. They are both influenced by process and relational thinking, and that approach has allowed their friendship to flourish in wonder and exploration. There are many lessons to be learned here but, most importantly, that a process-relational approach to friendship has many layers.

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Remembering David Ray Griffin

One way to reflect about a person’s contribution is to imagine what the world would be like now if she or he had not been part of it. In this post, John Cobb uses that method with David Griffin. He frames his reflections around two speculations: one, there would now be no substantial movement seeking truth about what happened on September 11, 2001; two, there would be only fragmentary and scattered interest in Whitehead and the implications of his thought outside the church.

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I Am the Freak Priest: Reflections on Eclectic Spirituality, the Metacrisis, and the Power of Popular Culture

Scout Reina Wiley was always destined to be the Freak Priest. As above, so below. she does not ask whether or not all things are related—she only asks how. And if all things are related, of which she is arrogantly convinced, it matters not that God is dead. It matters not that lives appear to unfold in linear fashion towards a seemingly endless void. It matters not that death is, because there are no endings in this world—only changes.

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The Light In Our Hearts: A Pagan and a Christian in Conversation

In this piece we observe a conversation between a Pagan and a Christian about the meaning of their respective December holidays and the theological significance for them. They are both influenced by process and relational thinking, and that approach has allowed their friendship to flourish in wonder and exploration. They are two very different people, but their friendship is warm and full of discovery. There are many lessons to be learned here but, most importantly, that a process-relational approach to friendship has many layers.

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Music for the Soul

We have, over the years, segregated sound into different buckets — Carnatic, Hindustani, Jazz, Folk, Western, etc. When pure sound is perceived only via such fragmentary walls of genres and strict disciplines, we lose touch with the fundamental experiential aspect of our own inner Naada (sound) and what remains is mere technique that doesn’t touch our souls. Srividhya Balaji weaves the sounds together infused in spirituality without boundaries. She moves beyond the confines of traditions and norms of classical forms of music into an adventure that asks us to embrace the novelty that she is creating and walk on uncharted territory, where neither the path nor the destination is clear.

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