Hosted by Renée Tillotson with featured presenters

Saturdays 3:00 – 4:00 pm Hawaii Standard Time (HST)

Started April 11, 2020

Freely Offered

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This weekly offering gives spiritual seekers the opportunity to learn and share from the great wealth of the world’s wisdom traditions. Each week we will focus on one brilliant gem, a teaching to illuminate our minds and hearts.

Various cultures in all times and places have produced sparkling gems of inspiration – the crystallized essence of spiritual insight. In many cases we know something of the enlightened being – sage, seer, saint – who gave us that gem and lived his or her life accordingly. In all cases, these teachings have informed the lives of the tradition’s followers, bringing clarity to their daily decisions and depth to their meditations.

To begin each circle, one featured speaker will give a short presentation on a brilliant spiritual teaching from one of the world’s wisdom traditions, together with information on the Teacher who conveyed and embodied it. Weekly themes are paralleled with the Still & Moving Center’s handcrafted yearly almanac. 

The group will then take up the topic presented, with opportunity for free conversation and questions, wonderings and examples, of how we might apply this week’s teaching.

Moderated by Renée Tillotson, Director & Founder of Still & Moving Center, engaged in an earnest, life-long spiritual quest.

To view past talks click the links in the titles below.

Upcoming Topics

December 19: “Unconditional Love” by Mary Bird on the Catholic tradition as exemplified by Father Damien

December 26: “Self Crafting”

Past Topics

December 12: “Beneficent Sleep” by Manoj Chalam on the Vedanta tradition of Hinduism

December 5: “Selfless Service” by Franklin Perkins on the Confucian tradition from the perspective of Mengzi

November 28: “Right Meditation” by Kirk Gradin on the Bodhisattva Path of the Theosophical tradition

November 21: “The Guardian Wall” by Donna Moore on the Mahayana Tibetan Buddhist tradition

November 14: **Diwali Celebration** 4:30 – 7:00pm. Join us for this celebration of Light! (View the recording)

November 8: “Selfless Service” – Franklin Perkins on the confucian tradition from the perspective of Mengzi

November 1: “Preparation for Death” – Cliff Tillotson on the neo-platonic tradition

October 31: “Behind Thine & Mine: the Bhoodan Land Gifting” – Sarah Hodges on the Gandhian tradition (View the recording)

October 24: “Right Mindfulness” – Renée Tillotson on the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of Pema Chödrön (View the recording)

October 17: “Irreversible Resolve” – Dr. Mark Morisaki on the Western Medical tradition (View the recording)

October 10: “Becoming Wholly Reliable” – Maurice Bisheff on the American Transcendental tradition of Emerson (View the recoding)

October 3: “All Men are Brothers” – Cliff Tillotson on the interfaith tradition of Mahatma Gandhi (View the recoding)

September 26: “Right Effort” – Tony Bonnici on the Zen Buddhist tradition (View the recording)

September 19: “Progressive Self-Awakening” – Fariba Enteshari on the Sufi tradition of Rumi (View the recording)

September 12: “The Bridge Connecting Heaven and Earth” – Elton Hall on the Theosophical tradition (View the recording)

September 5: “Vanquishing Victimism” – Ramdas Lamb on the Hindu ascetic tradition (View the recording)

Aug 29: “Right Livelihood” – Jonathan Colbert on the Theosophical Tradition (View the recording)

Aug 22: “Why Obstacles?” – Renée Tillotson on the Hindu mythological tradition of Ganesh (View the recording

August 15: “Casting No Blame” – Katharine Harts on the Christian mystic tradition (View the recording)

August 8: “Mental Hygiene” – Roger Johnston on the Stoic tradition

August 1: “Are We our Brothers’ and Sisters’ Keepers?” – Joe Miller on the Christian mystic tradition (View the recording)

July 25: “Right Action” – Debbie Rosas from the Nia perspective (View the recording)

July 18: “One-Pointed Focus” – David Sanders on the Hindu yogic tradition (View the recording)

July 11: “Egotism and Compassion” – Robin Fujikawa on the Dōgen tradition of Buddhism (View the recording)

July 4: “Spiritual Democracy– Maurice Bisheff on the Native American and American Revolutionary traditions (View the recording)

June 27: “In the Language there is Life:  I ka ʻŌlelo no ke Ola” – Mālia Helelā on the Hawaiian tradition (View the recording)

June 20: “The Vision of Prometheus” – Jim Tepfer on the Ancient Greek tradition (View the recording)

June 13: “Self-Mastery and Freedom” – Veena Howard on the Gandhian perspective of the Hindu tradition (View the recording)

June 6:  “Development of the Neuro-Muscular-Skeletal System” – Rachel Klein on the scientific perspective and healing traditions

May 30:  “Right Intention” – Reverend Blayne Higa on the Jodo Shin Buddhist tradition (View the recording)

May 23: “Beyond Pleasure & Pain” – Cliff Tillotson on the the Bhagavad Gita perspective of the Hindu tradition (View the recording)

May 16: “Right View – Inner and Outer Perspectives” – Christopher Edwards on the sculpting tradition (View the recording)

May 9: Honoring the Behest of the Divine – Mary Bird on the Catholic tradition

May 2: “The Buddha’s Search to End Suffering” – Kirk Gradin on the Buddhist tradition (View the recording)

April 25: The Value of the Pause in Classical Indian Music – Joss Jaffe on the classical Indian music tradition

April 18: Re-becoming People of Place: Caring for our Earth and All Beings – Miku Lenentine on the Native American Tradition

April 11: Pythagoras on Meditation, the Heroic Ideal and Self-discovery – Jim Tepfer on the ancient Greek tradition

Renée Tillotson

Renée Tillotson, Director, founded Still & Moving Center to share mindful movement arts from around the globe. Her inspiration comes from the Joy and moving meditation she experiences in the practice of Nia, and from the lifelong learning she’s gained at the Institute of World Culture in Santa Barbara, California. Still & Moving Center aspires to serve the community, support the Earth and its creatures, and always be filled with laughter and friendship!

Enthusiasm fills every class and event Renée leads. The motto: ‘Move your body. Still your mind. Find center. Find Joy!” motivates her daily life.

A second degree Nia Black Belt, Renée says, “Through Nia I realized that I was born to dance…and perhaps everyone is! Nia connects me to pure Joy. I aspire to extend that Joy into the rest of my life and share it with every student who steps into my circle. Nia embraces both the yin and yang energies, helping all of us to balance our natures. Nia serves as a moving meditation for me, as well as a chance to play like a child again! I like to think of my classes as invigorating the body and elevating the spirit.”

Engaged in an earnest, life-long spiritual quest, Renée assembles the Still & Moving Center Almanac each year, filled with inspirational quotes by everyone from the Dalai Lama to Dolly Parton. She loves taking part in conversations that merge philosophical, spiritual and scientific thought with a lifestyle of compassion.

Renée has been moving and sharing Nia since 2002. She took all of her Nia intensive trainings at Nia International Headquarters from the co-creators of Nia: Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas. She considers herself a citizen of the world, and brings mindful movement practices from around the globe under one roof at Still & Moving Center.


Directions for getting to the online Zoom class:

1. One hour in advance, kindly sign up for your live online class on in MindBody / on our website. Our desk staff will then email you a link to your class on Zoom.

2. Please use the link to sign into Zoom, 5-7 minutes before class, allowing extra time to download the the app if you are  new to Zoom.

3. Contact the desk staff at 808.397.7678 for troubleshooting.

Photographs by Greg Hatton, @renaissanceman

OK, so I believe everything is alive. Really everything. If I angrily slam a door, all the innocent life-atoms that make up the door and the walls and floor around it are all negatively affected – I’m slowing their evolutionary progress. I believe every speck of the universe is part of a grand journey towards a higher level of consciousness, from the mineral to plant to animal to human stages and beyond.

Human beings have a powerful consciousness. I make a significant impact on the life atoms around me because as a human being, my actions come from a place of self-awareness and deliberate choice. When I chew and digest a carrot in a in a cheerful or peaceful frame of mind, its atoms are furthered on their evolutionary path. [Be sure to catch the final video for visual confirmation of the influence of human consciousness on water molecules]

We have a family friend, Robert, who washes his car almost as vigilantly as he would bathe a child. He never lets it stay dusty and he keeps the interior and engine immaculate.

If I were still a life atom passing through the mineral realm (instead of the human realm that I presently occupy), I certainly would benefit from being part of Robert’s car for a while!

It’s not always easy to figure out how to live by the principle that everything is alive. I’m currently struggling a bit over how to deal with a the big Ganesh statue we shipped back from Bali for the house we’re rebuilding.

When I first saw this red stone carving of one of my favorite Hindu deities, I felt a strong pull of attraction. Many months later, Ganesh made it to Hawaii, then spent more months in his shipping crate.

We have recently encountered a number of snags in our construction process. Since Ganesh is considered the remover of the obstacles, Cliff expedited getting our stone statue into his position at the new house site. We didn’t even have our walls or a roof in place, but never mind, it was time to install Ganesh.

Transporting our heavy Ganesh down the steep, winding driveway and over a concrete
bridge to his new home was no easy feat. He almost tipped over the beefy forklift Cliff was using to transport him, and we had to counter-weight him with a few guys. Did I tell you this Ganesh weighs over a ton? The forklift wasn’t enough, We finally had to resort to using a boom truck to lift Genesh into his place of honor. 

Now Cliff thinks we should have a welcoming ceremony for Ganesh. Hmmm…I’m chewing my lip a bit over this idea. It’s one thing to honor and wish to elevate all the life-atoms that surround us. It’s quite a different thing in my book to go around worshipping idols or trying to buy favors from the gods.

You may be wondering at this point, “Why DO you have all those religious symbols and statues around your house and Still & Moving Center?” Good question to ask someone raised to be a religious sceptic.

To me, symbols from the world’s spiritual traditions are potent reminders. The lovely wooden Kwan Yin in the Still & Moving Center entryway reminds me to have compassion and mercy. At our reception desk the Saint Francis statue holding a little bird evokes love for all creatures. In the Sun & Moon room, the copper Star of David with its upward pointing triangle suggests to me that we should always strive to lift ourselves up, while the interlocking downward triangle tells me to focus and bring down to earth the light from above.

Ganesh represents that aspect of the universe that places obstacles in our way for our own good – kind of like the song, “Thank God for unanswered prayers”. Ganesh also symbolizes the removal obstacles from our path when we are ready to proceed forward. Seeing a beautiful image of Ganesh – like this very serene, grounded statue – helps me to calm down when I don’t get exactly what I want, when I want it. Sometimes I have wait years before I can look back and recognize the good in losing something I loved or in failing to achieve something I wanted. That’s an “Ah-ha!” moment when I realize the Ganesh principle has been at work.

Now back to my dilemma about a ceremony. What shall we do? In India or Bali there would be no question: they’ve got ceremonies down pat.

I was once at a puja, a religious ceremony, at a Hindu temple in California, with a very wise Indian man. When everyone else was offering coconuts, marigolds and ghee to the deity being honored by puja, he offered a half-eaten bag of Dorito chips. Of course! Why not? If all the life atoms of the cosmos are on a grand pilgrimage to becoming more and more conscious, shouldn’t we honor everything in the universe as sacred? Why not Dorito chips? And at the same time, the humor of his action showed me that he really didn’t take the outward ritual of the ceremony too seriously. He certainly wasn’t begging any favors of the deity with that bag of chips!

Thinking of our stone Ganesh and of Robert’s car, I wonder: Is there something different about the fact that the mineral atoms of stone were made into a statue representing a deity rather than the mineral atoms of metal being made into an automobile? Hmmm….I don’t know.

When Robert cleans his car, he doesn’t seem to be praying for any divine concessions from his car – other than the normal hope that it will continue to take him from point A to B. It’s just Robert’s way to care for things. In India there’s a day of the year when the drivers say mantras and honor the rickshaws that they pull for a living. What if Robert views his car as being sacred? Robert takes great care of everything he owns, from his plastic toothbrush to his leather shoes.

Curious, I called Robert this morning and asked, “What are you thinking about, what are you feeling, when you clean your car?”

Robert replied, “Oh, I don’t know. I’m just thanking my car for getting me around safely. And when I clean my shoes, I just thank them for protecting my feet and keeping them warm.”

Gratitude. It’s not an asking for favors. It’s a recognition and appreciation for what we are given. Just gratitude for the things themselves, beyond even the human beings who crafted them. Robert gave me the key to treating every ‘thing’ as being alive.

So whatever sort of welcoming ceremony we may have for our Ganesh statue, I trust that it will be an expression of gratitude. At any moment in time, we can offer thanks to even seemingly inanimate things, appreciating all the little lives that make up the universe around us.
Moving in Stillness and Resting in Joy with you,

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