ojai retreat education center
The Ojai Retreat & Cultural Center Programs
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Welcome to an overview of 25 years of programing
at the Ojai Retreat Cultural Center.

Uplifting humanity to a more conscious, compassionate and beautiful world is the aim of each program.
You will discover this theme running through all of the programming in environment, global issues, local issues, spirituality, philosophy & religion, the arts, and healthy living.

MISSION STATEMENT

ENRICH THE HUMAN MIND AND SPIRIT THROUGH RETREATS AND INNOVATIVE CULTURAL AND EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS.

What follows is a significant and yet small sample of the hundreds of outstanding programs the Ojai Retreat Cultural Center has gifted to the community for the upliftment of humanity.

 
THE ENVIRONMENT

“Ecology and Consciousness, Beyond the Politics of Polarization” a conference with keynote speaker Tom Hayden, and local educators and politicians set the tone for Ojai Retreat’s environmental focus. This conference speaks to the deep commitment the Ojai Retreat has to raising consciousness in all areas of contemporary life.

 Other conferences asked such questions as, “Is a Sustainable Future Possible for the Ojai Valley?” with presenters such as the County Supervisor, Steve Bennett, representatives from the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, water district representatives and the Youth Foundation Director, or other programs addressing our long standing drought “Preserving the Ventura River Watershed”, “Oceans in Peril”, “Facing Drought Together” and a more theatrical portrayal of John Muir and his inspiring monologue.

 Here is a list of just a few more of the many events exploring our environmental challenges:

  • The Future of Food and Agriculture
  • The Joy of Small House Living
  • The Birds of Ventura County
  • A Zero Waste Approach
  • Ojai as a Bioregion
  • The Art of Natural Building
  • Wildflowers of the Sespe

 satish kumar SATISH KUMAR, author and teacher, then Director of the Schumacher College in the UK, brought to Ojai, Reverential Ecology, a synthesis of ecological, artistic and spiritual values. The Ojai Retreat supports environmental initiatives that are in line wiht the values of Reverential Ecology.

 

SPIRITUALITY, PHILOSOPHY & RELIGION

Engaging in an endless quest for Truth and a deeper exploration of the nature of reality, the Ojai Retreat’s Cultural Center offers in this category, the most provocative of their programs. Asking the essential questions, seeking the “better angels of our nature”, the Cultural Center has hosted some of the most prominent contemporary teachers and thinkers in these fields.

 

Macintosh HD:Users:ellenhall:Desktop:DeepakChopra.jpg DEPAK CHOPRA

Dr. Chopra, the Director of the Institute for Human Potential was drawn to Ojai originally in the 70’s and 80’s. He was an early champion for the notion that thoughts and emotions can influence one’s physical well-being. His talk for the Ojai Retreat’s Cultural Center was “Mind Body, Spirit: The Magic & the Mystery” followed the next day by “Health and Education. ” The Center secured a large auditorium for the first presentation that was attended by approximately one thousand guests.

 

  professor krishnaPROFESSOR P. KRISHNA, PhD

Professor Krishna is a physics professor, humanist, educator, philosopher and author of many books on science and philosophy. Professor Krishna was a close friend of J. Krishnamurti and a popular and regular speaker at the Ojai Retreat and Cultural Center. The topics of his talks and seminars over the past 25 years included “Science and Spirituality,” “Annie Besant,” “The Emergence of an New Culture,” “Transformation of Consciousness,”  “Right Living in the Twentieth Century” and “Our Mysterious Universe.”

 

byron katie  BYRON KATIE

The title of her talk was “Byron Katie, Her Life, Her Insights and “The Work.”

The Work of Byron Katie consists of four questions and the turnarounds, which are a way of experiencing the opposite of what you believe. Question 1: Is it true? Question 2: Can you absolutely know it's true? Question 3: How do you react—what happens—when you believe that thought? Question 4: Who would you be without the thought?

rick moss  RICHARD MOSS

“Spiritual Awakening, and its Integration into Daily Life” was the topic of Richard Moss’s presentation at the Ojai Retreat’s Cultural Center. DR. Moss is an international teacher and author whose approach is centered around and self-inquiry. DR. Moss uses a multidimensional approach centered on awareness practices and self-inquiry but always comes back to the inherent intelligence of the body. “Open your heart to your self and to life” 

Other offerings include guided Silent Retreats as well as many offerings of the Ageless Wisdom such as the “Psychology of Awakening” and the “Common Origin of Buddhism & Christianity,” by Brock Travis, PhD. 

The Ojai Retreat and Cultural Center approaches a universal understanding of consciousness, looking through the eyes of various religious traditions as well as new age teachers. The following are some of the traditions that have offered programs at the Ojai Retreat and Cultural Center:

  • KABBALAH
  • VEDIC TRADITON
  • TIBETAN BUDDHISM
  • ESOTERIC CHRISTIANITY
  • MYTHOLOGY
  • ISLAMIC MYSTICAL TRADITION


Consciousness & the New Science of the Brain

The Ojai Retreat Cultural Center offers programs to stretch our understanding of the nature of reality such as:

  •  “Mind is Time” by author F.D. Wilson
  • “Global Quantum Brain” by Francis Jeffrey
  • “The Laws of Energy and the Design of the Human Mind” by Dr. Peggy LaCerra
  •  “Transformation of Consciousness  by physicist PROFESSOR P. KRISHNA.
  •  “Quantum Physics and Consciousness” by physicist AMIT GOSWAMI
  •  “A Universe of Purpose” according to HP Blavatsky by Pablo Sender
  •   “Interplanetary Space Exploration.” by Ben Thompson

 At one time the Cultural Center offered a dynamic three-day symposium called the “Emergence of a New Culture” a program of presentations and dialogues exploring consciousness & culture from an individual and a global perspective.

The Ojai Retreat’s Cultural Center is always focused on the unifying principles of religion, philosophy or spiritual perspective. What can we learn form each other? How can we find the common ground of our shared humanity?

 
THE ARTS, PAINTING, WRITING & DANCE

The VISUAL ARTS have been celebrated and explored at the Ojai Retreat for the meaning and the transcendence, which they can inspire.  

One such offering was “Symbolic Art – A Path to Self Discovery.” Another was an exploration of the Spiritual in Modern Russian Art such as in Kandinsky’s works. 

An artist especially celebrated at the Ojai Retreat was the mystical Russian painter, explorer and author, Nicholas Roerich whose paintings evoke a sense of eternal beauty. Copies of a few of his masterpieces hang permanently in the Retreat’s Quiet Room. 

Contemporary painter and author, Ian Roberts spoke on the theme “The Search for Beauty” Painter Chloe Murdock had an exhibition of her paintings and Aviva Gold conducted a workshop entitled, “Painting from the Source.” 

DIVERSE CULTURES

Cultural diversity is celebrated and shared, such as the making and meaning of Fabric Thangkas in the Tibetan tradition and an evening of Indian Dance. Also offered was an experiential, “Dance from the Heart” with participation in sacred dance with music from India, Tibet, Nepal and Bali. The Ojai Retreat is committed to raising consciousness through the arts.  

POETRY

Poetry presentations are often accompanied by musicians such as “The Rumi Poetry”, a lecture by the founder of the Rumi Educational Center in Santa Monica, Fariba Enteshari, who teaches Rumi at USC. Many uplifting local poets have been welcomed to do readings at the Ojai Retreat.

rumiI was dead, then alive

Weeping, then laughing,

The power of love came into me,

and I became fierce like a lion

then tender like the evening star

 

WRITING

The written word has been championed by Catherine Ann Jones and her approach to writing for the soul called, “The Way of Story” as well as presenting “Social Responsibility in Hollywood.” She has taught and entertained with staged readings of “The Women of Cedar Creek” and “Freud’s Oracle.”

 catherine ann jones

The Ojai Valley is a hotbed of creative writers and the Ojai Retreat has become THE place for book signings for authors of new works.

CONCERTS

VOICES from many cultures ring out at the Ojai Retreat: from European Opera to traditional Mexican folk music to the colorful seabury gouldMadrigali singers, to several light hearted and uplifting chants of Indian Kirtans, to St. Patricks Day singalongs with the famous Irish bard Seabury Gould.

 World Renowned opera singer, basso verdiano, DR. SAMUEL DE PALMA who performed for US presidents, the Pope, Queen Elizabeth and sang with Pavarotti performed at the Ojai Retreat Cultural Center. This flawless virtuoso of legato singing has a three octave range reminiscent of the Golden Age of Opera. In addition local opera singer, Dr Lakshman Rasiah also performed superb fundraising concerts.

The Retreat hosted an evening of Kabbalah-inspired contemporary Jewish spiritual music, based on Hasidic melodies. Composer, singer and guitarist Michael Shapiro says, “My music is a way for people to calm the turbulence of their minds and hearts so they can enter deeper states of awareness.”  

The Ojai Retreat also created a Songwriting Retreat hosted by several veteran song writers and visitors with Grammy and Oscar nominations. The weekend was complete with jam sessions and performances. 

INSTRUMENTALS

The instruments presented, range from the Celtic harp of CELESTE HOWARD.

celeste howard

The Steel Drums of MICHAEL ROGERS creating Brazilian Sambas & Reggae, to a unique Solo Electric Cello by MATHEW SCHOENING. Classical concerts featuring Brahms Sonata for Cello and Piano. 

Several Piano recitals have touched the souls of visitors including the genius of ROGER KELLAWAY, jazz pianist attempting to, as he says, “integrate the spiritual and material in musical from.” 

Outstanding international and celebrated Violinist, CORRINE CHAPPELLE a student of Yehudi Menuhin School and Julliard has received the Jascha Heifetz Violin Award and has played in many cities in Europe, Asia and the U.S. She was just one among many violin recitals at the Ojai Retreat. 

corrine chappelle

Classical Indian Sitar music was presented on several occasions, as well as s Documentary film on the life and times of Ravi Shankar, called “Raga.” 

But it was musicologist and Oud musician, YUVAL RON and his Ensemble who demonstrated the power of music to bring together cultures, religions and politics thru sacred music of the Middle East. Showing the intercultural connection of songs of Sufi origin, Jewish prayers, and the Christian church of Armenia, Yuval Ron is dedicated to fostering understanding. 

Ojai Retreat is always making a concerted effort to raise the consciousness of attendees through uplifting and significant musical offerings from around the world.
 

HEALTHY  LIVING

The Ojai Retreat’s offerings support a healthy and more conscious life of well-being, supported by science.  

Dr. Kenneth Kafka, MD was a featured speaker with a series on the “Scientific Foundation of Wholistic Medicine,” which set the tone for the Cultural Center’s offerings on healthy living. 

YOGA

Yoga has been offered continuously for the last 25 years. There have been a variety of teachers including some of the best from Ojai. Ojai has a rich Yoga tradition to draw upon and the Retreat has offered the yoga of sound, breath, the yoga of happiness and Tibetan yoga.

yoga at ojai retreat

For several years, Ojai became the site for a week-long Yoga gathering called The Yoga Crib. One of the beautiful and sacred places where Yoga classes were held continuously was the Ojai Retreat and Cultural Center.  Hundreds of Yogis from around the world took classes from nine of the best Yoga teachers.

MEDITATION

Classical meditation by Buddhist temple monks, healing through silence, “Serene Reflection” meditation and Awakening the Breath of the Heart are just some of the variety of meditation offered. 

DIET

“The Benefits of Live Foods,”  “Herbs for Health”,Ayervedic Diet for Health,” and “Understanding GMO’s” or genetically modified foods. These were among the many dietary inspirations that continue at the Cultural Center. 

BODYWORK

Classes were held in Rudolph Steiner’s Rhythmic Massage using healing plants, Therapeutic Touch by an RN, the Alexander Technique, and Deep Emotional Release bodywork amongst others. 

RELATIONSHIPS

Local relationship teachers and internationally known authors of Conscious Loving, DRS. KATHRYN AND GAY HENDRICKS gave a training on the “Seven Crucial Skills for Personal Change and Relationship Harmony”.

 

A course in Non-violent Communication inspired by Marshall Rosenberg’s work was very well attended. 


GLOBAL ISSUES

The Ojai Retreat, through its many presentations, brings a global perspective to Ojai residents and visitors to awaken us to the challenges outside of our privileged life. The resulting compassion and action can be the consequence of this consciousness raising. A small selection these significant programs is presented here: 

  • “Poverty in Developing Countries” and what should be done to really solve the poverty issue.  By Dr. Claude Bobillier, PhD who worked in 30 different countries as an advisor to governments, multilateral agencies and the United Nations. 
  • “African Orphans of Aids Victims” a field mission to Tanzania from Ojai’s own Global Resource Alliance. 
  • “Can War Ever End?” by Cynthia Overweg, who worked with the United Nations and spent years photographing in war zones. 
  • “A Threshold of Hope in the Middle East “ by an Arab woman and an Israeli man with a shared perspective of the heart. 
  • A Tibetan Lama gave a talk on Generating Compassion in a turbulent world. 
  • Sultana Parvanta gave an insider view of “The Concealed Damages of War in Afghanistan.” 
  • “Helping Hands that Keep on Giving” supporting Nigerian Nomads with healthcare and artisan support.

It is not difficult to discern the theme here – The Ojai Retreat aims to uplift consciousness while taking a clear-eyed look at world issues. Many programs demonstrate the beauty of the human spirit in the midst of chaos. 


LOCAL ISSUES

The Ojai Cultural Center became a venue for professional expressions of  local concerns and possible solutions. For example, a local issue like our serious drought was addressed by a talk from Tom Ash, a University of California, 29-year expert in water issues. “Drought and What it Means for the Ojai Valley”. This talk kicked off a local educational effort on the water supply shortage in western Ventura County and it all started at the Ojai Retreat Cultural Center.  

A whole panel of local experts presented “Stewardship in the Ojai Valley”. This event was organized by the local Agora Foundation. The Ojai Retreat Cultural Center hosts many events that are organized by local groups such as The Ojai Green Coalition, the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy and the Ojai Valley Defense Fund.  

For a relatively small City, Ojai has an amazing number of prominent people from many areas of human experience. In a monthly series, the Center had a local speaker, a treasure of Ojai, speak to the community about their profession or passion which was a popular local offering.

160 Besant Road • Ojai, California 93023 Phone: 805.646.2536 | Email: info@ojairetreatculturalcenter.org | Web: www.ojairetreatculturalcenter.org