Thomas Keating & Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi on a bench
Thomas Keating & Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi facing each other and holding hands on a bench
AcademicsSchools CentersKeating-Schachter Center for Interspirituality

Keating-Schachter Center for Interspirituality

Bringing Wisdom & Dialogue into Higher Education

Close up of of Thomas Keating holding hands with Reb Zalman Schachter-ShalomiThe Keating-Schachter Center (KSC) for Interspirituality at Naropa University is dedicated to bringing genuine spiritual wisdom into education, creating opportunities for university students and staff to meet and interact with genuine wisdom holders from the diversity of the world’s spiritual traditions. To this end, each semester, the Keating-Schachter Center sponsors a World Wisdom Teacher-in-Residence to meet with students and staff for small circle dialogues and to give public talks to the Boulder community.

The Keating-Schachter Center also sponsors smaller community-focused “Wisdom Talks” throughout the school year, as well as multi-religious and interspiritual practice-opportunities and resources, courses, groups, retreats, and dialogues at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, and at our affiliated retreat facility, Charis Mandala in Des Moines, New Mexico. 

In this way, we hope to influence future leaders through integrated experiences of wisdom.

Keating-Schachter Center

“Look at the beaming eyes and smiles of Father Keating and Rabbi Schachter-Shalomi and that is all you need to know about this new Center in their honor. A contemplative soul is a joyful soul, empowered for the demanding work our times require, work that flows from a deep place of both solitude and caring. May this center and all who attend it radiate with joy and justice and courage.”
Father Matthew Fox
—Father Matthew Fox
Yellow brush

Offerings from the Keating-Schachter Center (KSC)

World Wisdom Residencies

Tessa Bielecki, Carmelite Christianity

Tessa Bielecki is a Christian hermit in the tradition of the desert mothers and fathers. Co-founder of the Spiritual Life Institute, she was a Carmelite monk and Mother Abbess for almost 40 years, establishing radically experimental monastic communities of men and women in Arizona, Colorado, Nova Scotia, and Ireland. For all of that time, she was also the editor-in-chief of Desert Call, the quarterly magazine of the Spiritual Life Institute. In the 1980s, Tessa was actively involved in the groundbreaking Buddhist-Christian dialogues at Naropa University, an experience that proved pivotal in her life, opening her up to the wisdom of many other spiritual paths. Tessa is the author of several critically acclaimed books on Teresa of Avila, including: Holy Daring: An Outrageous Gift to Modern Spirituality from Saint Teresa, the Wild Woman of Avila (2016), and Teresa of Avila: Ecstasy and Common Sense (1996).

Events

  • October 21–25, 2024—Tessa Bielecki will be on campus meeting with students and staff.
  • October 25, 2024—“Naropa’s Historic Buddhist-Christian Dialogues” with Tessa Bielecki and Judith Simmer-Brown, Naropa University, Nalanda Events Center. From 1981-1987, the former Naropa Institute hosted a series of historic Buddhist-Christian dialogues with some of the most celebrated names in Christianity and Buddhism. The youngest and only woman participant in the 1981 dialogue was a young Carmelite Christian abbess, Tessa Bielecki. The organizer of the dialogues was a young professor at the institute, Judith Simmer-Brown. This evening, in the 50th year of Naropa, the two will talk about their experiences of these historic dialogues.
  • October 26–27, 2024—“Seasons of the Soul: Carmelite Christian Contemplative Teachings for Spiritual Renewal” with Tessa Bielecki, Naropa University, Nalanda Events Center

Now turning 80 and living as an “urban hermit” in Tucson, Arizona, Tessa Bielecki, former Carmelite Christian abbess, will draw on her experience of almost sixty years as a Christian monk and contemplative, offering the teachings she finds most relevant from the mystical streams she embodies: the counter-cultural witness of the desert, the earthy rhythms of the monastic tradition, and the intimacy and “holy ordinary” of Carmelite and Celtic spirituality. Having co-founded contemplative centers in three countries, she will also explore the challenges of creating the “lively human atmosphere” conducive to contemplative experience and community, including “crisis contemplation.”

Past Residencies

Brenda Salgado Headshot

Brenda Salgado, Toltec Spirituality (March 11-17, 2024)

Brenda Salgado is the founder of Nepantla Consulting. Trained by Purepecha, Xochimilco and Toltec elders in traditional medicine, Brenda draws on the healing powers of the natural world to guide her work as a spiritual leader. Her current projects are focused on mindfulness, transformational leadership, sacred economics, land trusts for social good, and the weaving of mindfulness and indigenous teachings for our times. Brenda is deeply involved in spiritual leadership, movement building, women’s health, environmental and social justice, and has received training from indigenous elders in traditional medicine, limpias and healing ceremony. She was a Founding Member of WisdomWomen and served as the Director of the East Bay Meditation Center. She is the author of Real World Mindfulness for Beginners (2016).

In 2023, the Keating-Schachter Center created a site and sponsorship for an Interspiritual Student Chaplain on the Naropa University campus, allowing one Naropa University Master of Divinity student per semester to fulfill their Clinical Pastoral Education requirements on campus, working directly with Naropa students and staff.

The Interspiritual Student Chaplain works as an assistant to the Director of the Keating-Schachter Center and spends approximately 18 hours per week on campus, under the Director’s supervision, offering spiritual care to students and staff, resourcing spiritually-oriented student groups, giving instruction in Charis Interspiritual Meditation, facilitating Charis Circles: Interspiritual Communities of Practice, and helping with public events associated with or sponsored by The Keating-Schachter Center.

Our Current Chaplains (Fall ’24/Spring ’25):

  • MDiv candidate, Erin Piatt
  • MDiv candidate, Christopher Giuffre

The purpose of the Naropa Wisdom Traditions Collective (NWTC) is to support graduates and current students of Naropa University’s Department of Wisdom Traditions by providing them with information on relevant resources and opportunities related to their studies and chosen profession, collegial and sponsored learning opportunities, a vehicle for the promotion of their various initiatives, and new scholarships and sponsored activities for Naropa Wisdom Traditions students.

The Naropa Wisdom Traditions Collective is a member-only group for graduates of Naropa University’s Wisdom Traditions programs (i.e., Religious Studies, Master’s of Divinity, Yoga Studies, Traditional Eastern Arts, etc.).

The Naropa Wisdom Traditions Collective is supported by the Immeasurables shop on Etsy, which donates a percentage of its sales to NWTC!

To join the Naropa Wisdom Traditions Collective, contact its co-chairs:

  • Lasette Brown, MA
  • Emma Sartwell, MDiv

 

If you are a graduate of a Wisdom Traditions program and wish to join the collective, or simply someone who would like to donate, please do so through the Donate link. (Note: Zeffy will add a donation fee unless you purposefully remove or adjust it.) For other inquiries, please write: keatingschachtercenter@gmail.com.

The Keating-Schachter Center sponsors spiritual practice and training opportunities from a variety of traditions at Naropa University, such as Centering Prayer, Charis Meditation, Sufi Zikr, etc.

Upcoming Opportunities

Current Sponsored Student Groups

The Keating-Schachter Center is pleased to sponsor a number of spiritually oriented student groups and events at Naropa University.

  • Neshama Hevrah
  • Ribat-i Inayati
  • Aiki Awareness

The Keating-Schachter Center for Interspirituality was founded in 2023 with the goodwill of President Charles Lief, as a partnership between Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, and Charis Foundation for New Monasticism and Interspirituality, a Colorado and New Mexico–based 501(c)3. The relationship began with a 2022 convening and grant from the Fetzer Institute aimed at “Bringing Wisdom into Higher Education,” a part of Fetzer’s Shared Spiritual Heritage initiative. The Keating-Schachter Center now works hand-in-hand with Naropa University’s Department of Wisdom Traditions to create learning opportunities for Naropa students and staff, as well as the wider Boulder community.

The Keating-Schachter Center for Interspirituality is so named to honor the interspiritual legacies of Father Thomas Keating (1923-2018) and Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (1924-2014), pioneers in interreligious dialogue, both of whom made significant contributions to modern spirituality. The Keating-Schachter Center likewise works to secure the spiritual legacies of Father Thomas Keating and Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi in Christian Centering Prayer and Jewish Renewal, providing opportunities for further learning each year.

Netanel Miles-Yépez head shot

Netanel Miles-Yépez, DD, Founder and Director

Netanel Miles-Yépez, DD, is an artist, philosopher, religion scholar, and spiritual teacher. Miles-Yépez is the current Chair of Religious Studies and co-Chair of the Department of Wisdom Traditions at Naropa University, Pir of the Inayati-Maimuni lineage of Sufism, and co-Founder of Charis Foundation for New Monasticism and Interspirituality. He is also the author of The End of Religion and Other Writings (2023), and the editor of The Common Heart: An Experience of Interreligious Dialogue (2006). Learn more about Netanel

Interspiritual Student Chaplains, Assistants

  • Erin Piatt
  • Christopher Giuffre 

Keating-Schachter X-Force Volunteer Corps

  • Dalya Block
  • Jemma Breslin
  • Max Gregor
  • Zachary Horvitz
  • Miryam Jones
  • Sean Lackey
  • William Langford
  • Salem McGilloway
  • Leah Aran Miller
  • Yunus Cem Ozbek

Advisory Council

  • Rev. Sara Kemp Berry, Branch, Texas
  • Tessa Bielecki, Tucson, Arizona
  • Judith Dack, Boulder, Colorado
  • Father David Denny, Tucson, Arizona
  • Lama Michael Gregory, San Diego, California
  • Thomas Hast, Boulder, Colorado
  • Pir Shabda Kahn, San Rafael, California
  • Dr. Anantanand Rambachan, Northfield, Minnesota
  • Rabbi Or-Nistar Rose, Newton, Massachusetts
  • Raj Seymour, Boulder, Colorado
  • Dr. Judith Simmer-Brown, Boulder, Colorado

 

 

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Naropa Campuses Closed on Friday, March 15, 2024

Due to adverse weather conditions, all Naropa campuses will be closed Friday, March 15, 2024.  All classes that require a physical presence on campus will be canceled. All online and low-residency programs are to meet as scheduled.

Based on the current weather forecast, the Healing with the Ancestors Talk & Breeze of Simplicity program scheduled for Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday will be held as planned.

Staff that do not work remotely or are scheduled to work on campus, can work remotely. Staff that routinely work remotely are expected to continue to do so.

As a reminder, notifications will be sent by e-mail and the LiveSafe app.  

Regardless of Naropa University’s decision, if you ever believe the weather conditions are unsafe, please contact your supervisor and professors.  Naropa University trusts you to make thoughtful and wise decisions based on the conditions and situation in which you find yourself in.