For most people, the word “organic” evokes images of nature, free of artificial enhancements. The dictionary meaning of organic, however, is also about “wholism.” Elements fit together harmoniously and are characterized by continuous or natural development. Living the organic life is, in fact, a long-term process that requires us to work towards greater awareness of our place in the global whole. This awareness includes deepening our practices, purchases, and attitudes through education about green options, standards, and possibilities. A natural extension of this consciousness is developing more of our spiritual, intellectual, and intuitive skills. Illumination University, a new online learning environment from the Hendricks Institute, is a great place to start. As founder Gay Hendricks put it, “Our interior ecology is the first place to strive to be green and clean.”
Internationally recognized and celebrated leaders in the personal transformation sphere, Kathy and Gay Hendricks have been involved in the spiritual power of relationships and personal well being since 1995. With over 20 years of experience as professors in academia and having trained over 1200 therapists and counselors, they are experts at streamlined learning focused on what people need to live fulfilling lives.
While the Institute reaches thousands of people in face-to-face workshops, their new project, Illumination University, has blossomed into a multi-faceted web resource for self-directed development. According to Hendricks, “Our goal is the world’s largest instant learning environment, where people can learn complex life skills at a distance.” Illumination University channels the Hendricks’ successful method of heart-centered learning into courses on Self-Esteem, Weight Loss, Breathing, Smoke-free Living, and perhaps most importantly, Relationships. The courses are multi-faceted, incorporating daily affirmative emails, self-directed course materials, and web conferencing with experts. Online group discussions include students from around the globe, creating a virtual community where members can channel the ideals of university life without the headaches of bureaucracy and evaluations.
Any transformative process works better if there are skilled coaches or teachers as guides who identify mental roadblocks, illuminate a path to self-awareness, and offer keys to better living. Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford, and Eckhart Tolle are among the Master Teachers who contribute to the curriculum and participate in experiential seminars. The online forum allows participants direct access to these world-renowned writers and healers.
Hendricks believes that the course offerings are ideal for people with a deep commitment to ecology. In all its offerings, Illumination University provides skills for how to live a more conscious life and to approach one’s teaching, practice, and activism with full awareness.
The Manifestations course, which can be taken as a live web seminar (at $495), is a primer on conscious breathing and living, and supplies the basic tools for self-transformation. These skills are elaborated and enhanced in other courses dealing with specific life issues, such as parenting or shyness. The basic membership is free and provides a discount on courses, which range from $49 to $400. A typical sequence offers a series of exercises and lectures designed to move you from basic conscious breathing to full commitment. The Conscious Parenting course has an affirmative curriculum, with such topics as commitment builder, conflict divider, consciousness communicator, and the self-esteem enhancer. Gay Hendricks said, “People are so grateful for the Weight Loss course and they think we undersell it, but it’s wonderful that people stumble upon it and find success without any hype.” The affirmative, non-judgmental process focuses on the whole body, offering step-by-step reflections and activities that provide life long tools rather than a diet or quick fix. Whether centered on interpersonal relationships or mind/body wholeness, all the online courses are self-paced, expounding on the link between love, creativity, and well-being.
Consciously greening our minds makes us better individuals and better global citizens. Illumination University’s mission is all about involving our whole selves more consciously in the process, and summarizes their commitment to a green world “in which all of us live in harmony of mind, body and spirit.” “Aligned inside ourselves, we live our lives in expanding waves of creativity and integrity… A world in which all of us live in harmony with our organic spiritual natures, and where the honoring of that spiritual nature forms the basis for community and society.”
By Alice Julier