Our innermost vulnerable truths often aren’t ready (or even appropriate) for public sharing, yet they still need to be felt and expressed in some way...
Safely exploring your raw emotions, uncensored thoughts, and wildest ideas can be profoundly liberating and help you gain a deeper understanding of who you truly are, love aspects of yourself you once found unlovable, and heal past hurts.
A regular writing practice can not only guide you on this path of healing, freedom, and spiritual awakening, it can unleash your creative spirit while cultivating an expansive mind, open heart, and authentic relationships.
The truth is, your journal can actually serve as your trusted confidante, Zen master, and psychotherapist — all rolled into one.
On the other hand, if you don’t know how to foster a truly transformative approach to writing, you can get stuck in unresolved wounds, emotional entanglements, and negative thinking.
The difference between writing to vent and writing as a path of liberation lies in treating writing as an actual spiritual practice — one that’s every bit as powerful as meditation, prayer, or yoga. In fact, writing can help free areas of yourself that most conventional spiritual practices never touch.
Viewing writing as an opportunity for deep inquiry — exploring who you are, your soul’s purpose, and your unconscious blocks — is when you begin to tap into your true power.
The words that flow onto the page are portals into your greatest depths... into the wellspring of true love, creativity, and awakening.
It’s not enough to simply write anything that pops into your head...
Unstructured writing can reinforce that which binds you, rather than help you discover that which frees you.
A truly liberating practice uses writing as a way to probe your depths — chipping away at the ego, exploring buried feelings, and accessing your vulnerability. As a result, you’re able to tap into Spirit and expand your inner resources of love and compassion.
A transformative writing practice takes skillful inquiry, as well as the kind of discipline we usually associate with other practices dedicated to spiritual growth. As you venture into areas that generate resistance, it takes courage to continue moving forward instead of sticking to comfortable, more familiar terrain.
The rewards of a deep and powerful writing practice are immense — providing you with a way to access and examine revelatory insights, powerful truths, and your innermost Self.
More than anything, you’ll discover your unique creative genius, a path for manifesting it in the world, and how to transform any blocks into breakthroughs.
When you discover how to realize the transformative power of writing, you simultaneously:
When you know yourself fully, you’re able to relate from your authentic center — being more heartfelt, insightful, truthful, funny, and creative. And others find that compelling, as they also yearn for more freedom and integrity in how they engage.
When we sense someone is integrated and at peace with themselves, we trust them more and are drawn to interact and work with them.
It’s undeniable: people respond more powerfully to someone who is clear, authentic, and grounded.
As with any genuine spiritual inquiry, it’s vital to be mentored by a master guide — one who is intimately familiar with the territory and can keep you on track (plus help you avoid the many pitfalls that emerge along any transformational journey).
Fortunately, such a guide is available to you...
Over the last three decades, Mark Matousek has become one of the world’s foremost chroniclers of the spiritual path — as an author (of the bestselling Sex Death Enlightenment), journalist (for publications such as The New Yorker and O), collaborator (on foundational books like the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying), and editor (for authors such as Ram Dass).
Mark is a master of language and, more importantly, a genius at marrying the depth of spiritual practice with the practice of writing. He’s a dynamic, funny, self-revealing, and profound teacher whose practices and disciplines can help you fashion a liberating, lifelong writing practice.
He’s taught students worldwide the discipline of writing as a spiritual practice — in a way that’s profoundly liberating and very enjoyable.
And now you can join Mark for his transformative 5-month program, Writing as a Spiritual Practice.
Writing as a spiritual practice requires not only a sincere, heartfelt commitment and the intention to live a more authentic, liberated life, it demands a deep dedication to showing up and putting pen to paper — no matter what happens and no matter what emotions rise to the surface.
It’s a discipline, however, that’s not in any way intimidating or burdensome. On the contrary, it’s discipline as in “disciple” — a disciple does what he or she does out of love for the practice.
When you commit to a regular practice, even for just 15 minutes a day, the practice takes on its own momentum, and it becomes easier and more inviting to sit down and do the work.
Indeed, the pleasure of self-discovery quickly becomes self-motivating... every “aha” moment beckons you to go deeper; each exhilarating revelation leads to another; every writing session, no matter the length, ends too soon.
During Writing as a Spiritual Practice, Mark will take you on a structured journey through seven key areas of writing which can help free you from old limitations that are compromising your sense of self, your relationships, and your innate genius.
Mark is direct and will hold you accountable — in a loving and healthy way. He’ll challenge you to strive for a level of emotional intimacy beyond your current capacity.
Yes, you may find yourself on the outer limits of your comfort zone... yet waiting on the other side of your discomfort is the liberating realization that you were as strong and as brave as you hoped you would be.
In addition to receiving Mark’s teachings, the third session of each module will be a group coaching session designed to deepen your transformation by integrating Mark’s feedback into your writing journey.
In each module, you’ll have the opportunity to send Mark a piece of writing for review. He’ll then select three of these submissions for live coaching, and masterfully pinpoint areas to deepen the inquiry process.
Whether or not your writing is selected for group coaching, you’ll benefit from other participants’ examples, experiences, and insights, which will help you take your own writing to the next level.
Under Mark’s patient, compassionate guidance, you’ll enter a safe container for honest self-inquiry, supported by a compassionate, like-minded global community.
You’ll be in good hands to take a deep dive into healing, freedom, and awakening through writing... where you’ll discover and develop skills you can draw on for a lifetime.
Course sessions are on Wednesdays at 10:00am Pacific.
In this 5-month transformational intensive, Mark will guide you through the fundamental spiritual skills and competencies you’ll need to successfully navigate your past experiences and mine them for your journey of transformation through writing, which will in turn improve the quality of your life.
Each LIVE contemplation and training session will build harmoniously upon the next so that you’ll develop a complete, holistic understanding of the practices, tools, and principles you’ll need to sustain your writing, a process that almost certainly will improve the quality of your life.
The journey of awakening begins by exploring the truth of who we are. When we learn to distinguish between the story of self and our authentic nature, we tap into a power that transcends biography, personality, and egotistical limitations. We rediscover the mystic child within us, the voice of wisdom that’s silenced as we grow into rational, practical, thinking adults. This authentic self has knowledge and power we can hardly imagine, and illuminates our higher faculties.
Enlightened by this new awareness, we recognize that our cut-off parts, those aspects of ourselves that we reject, deny, dismiss, or feel shame over, are hidden in a personal shadow that also contains many gifts and treasures. Among these are our sacred wounds, those losses and fractures that give rise to the longing for the Divine, however we define that. We come to see that without the shadow there would be no hunger for light, as there would be no yin without yang. We learn to bless ourselves in this knowledge and open to the fruitful darkness.
Freeing ourselves from fear of the shadow, we realize how much of our lives are devoted to running away from ourselves, escaping the anxiety of existence. Having glimpsed the truth of who we are — which is more than our biographical story — we’re no longer compelled to keep running away or keep ourselves in perpetual motion, and we can finally rest in the truth of our lives. Instead of constantly doing, planning, worrying, and struggling, we allow ourselves to stop and simply be. With nothing to prove and no image to defend, we experience the joy of the present moment, and meet ourselves, and our life, as if for the first time.
This ability to be present engenders love. Having opened our minds to what we don’t know, and the mysteries of this glorious world, our hearts are opened as well. With this opening come new opportunities for connection and self-discovery, and exploring the mysteries of love in all its manifestations (romantic, platonic, filial, communal, mystic). We recognize that love is the sine qua non of existence, our underlying reason for being; also, that love in its essence is not personal, although we practice it with and through other people. We see that there’s no spiritual life without loving.
Just as we’re formed by love, we’re buoyed and inspired by what we hold sacred. But what do we mean by sacredness? Is the sacred “set apart from ordinary life,” as it’s sometimes defined? Does the sacred rely on religious belief or the imprimatur of spiritual authority? Or is sacredness a subjective quality having nothing to do with institutions, and everything to do with what we love? By identifying what we hold sacred, and why, we deepen the meaning of our lives, affirm the nature of our beliefs, inform our choices with vision and soul, and recognize an unseen world beyond what we perceive through our senses. Sacredness, we come to see, is the bridge between the Divine and ourselves.
Wonder and awe are the faculties that enable us to touch the Divine. Awe is the alarm clock installed by nature to wake us up from the trance of so-called ordinary life, and alert us to the miracle of every moment. Through epiphanies and “lustres” (as Ralph Waldo Emerson described such heightened intervals), we’re able to enter into states of grace, when the light of God becomes visible; when the commonest occurrences (a look from a child, a dog’s affection, the slant of light on a piece of glass) become testaments to our higher purpose, as clay-footed creatures with our eyes on the stars. Also, we’re able to see how the absence of wonder and awe can block us from wisdom and happiness.
We discover there’s no separation between the human and divine, spiritual and material, sacred and profane, holy and unholy; that these boundaries are illusory, wrought from the primary misunderstanding regarding our true nature. Rooted in the awareness of our divine identity, we live with less conflict and more creativity, less cynicism and more faith, less self-judgment, aggression, and pain; and more mercy, connection, and joy. Our relationships flourish, as do our compassion for others, our awareness of what we cannot understand, and our gratitude for this precious human life.
In addition to Mark’s transformative 5-month program, you’ll receive these powerful training sessions with leading visionaries and teachers. These bonus sessions complement the course — and take your understanding and practice to an even deeper level.
Do survivors of life’s greatest trials possess a secret knowledge? Why do some people blossom through adversity while others fall apart? What mysterious power gets us back on our feet after we’ve been knocked down? The answer: viriditas, the power of drawing passion, beauty, and wisdom from the unlikeliest places.
In When You’re Falling, Dive, Mark examines this remarkable phenomenon. Seeking advice from well-known survivors such as Joan Didion, Elie Wiesel, and Isabel Allende, as well as philosophical experts like Eckhart Tolle, Jon Kabat-Zinn, and Sogyal Rinpoche, he brings 25 years of personal experience to the paradoxical question of how disaster can be used to awaken and transform us.
Mark talks to the Zen abbott about mindfulness in everyday life, and how meditation goes hand in hand with creativity.
Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara serves as abbot of the Village Zendo in New York City. She received priest ordination from Maezumi Roshi and dharma transmission and inka from Bernie Tetsugen Glassman. Roshi is a founding teacher of the Zen Peacemaker family, a spiritual and social action association. Roshi’s focus is on the expression of Zen through caring, service, and creative response.
Mark talks to the renowned Jungian analyst about the importance of shadow work in spiritual life and psychological healing.
Connie Zweig, PhD, is a unique counselor in private practice in Los Angeles and also has an extensive telephone counseling service. As co-author of Meeting the Shadow and Romancing the Shadow, she’s taught seminars nationwide and has been called the Shadow Expert. She can help you to uncover why you behave self-destructively and how you can choose different actions to gain different outcomes. With a doctorate in depth psychology, two years’ training at the Los Angeles Jung Institute, and 10 years in practice, she can go where others fear to tread: into your dark side.
Mark talks to this extraordinary spiritual teacher about transcending the stories in our minds to touch on an essential Self beyond narrative, fear, or expectation.
Gangaji was born in Texas in 1942, and grew up in Mississippi. After graduating from the University of Mississippi in 1964, she married and had a daughter. In 1972, she moved to San Francisco where she took Bodhisattva vows, practiced Zen and Vipassana meditation, helped run a Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Center, and had a career as an acupuncturist. Yet, despite her successes, she continued to experience a deep and persistent longing for fulfillment. In the wake of her disillusionment, she made a final prayer for true help. And in 1990, the answer to that prayer took her to India to the banks of the river Ganga, where she met Sri H.W.L. Poonja, also known as Papaji, who helped her to open the floodgates of self-recognition. Today, Gangaji is a teacher and author who travels the world speaking to seekers from all walks of life about her own experience of awakening and affirming that it is really possible to discover the truth of who you are and be true to that discovery.
I learned how to shine light in shadow and how to work with what I find in the shadow — gifts as well as wounds. I learned that simply putting my story in writing is transformative... I am wonderfully curious to see how I will now live a whole new life. I am renewed; 100, here I come!
— Beverley Manley-Loftus, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
[The course] has been, for me, a spiritual journey into inner healing and health. Mark offers a pathway for us to go as deep as we want, with a kind of safety net of lectures, deepening writing practices, and personal feedback... I feel a new inner confidence as I make my way along my own personal path..
— Mary Morgan, Orient, New York
I feel lighter and brighter about myself and life and am not taking myself or others quite as seriously as before. This has translated into a wonderful new sense of freedom, acceptance, and more creative juices flowing in my writing and daily life.
— Anne Stamatakis, Connecticut
I’ve had the glass broken and seen my shadow all the way through these months, a new experience for me. Resulting in a genuine love for myself, an invaluable experience as that spreads to others and is very freeing! I have more joy and confidence and certainly compassion as a result of Mark’s deep teaching and sharing.
— Mary Reygan, Sydney, Australia
I’m amazed at how this course has helped me with self-esteem issues by showing me how I was making up stories that were really not true. For example, I have always found it hard to share with a large group of people. I was amazed to find myself participating in the Q&A period and also being coached by Mark a couple of times. I see myself very differently now. I feel so much freer and not at the mercy of my self-critical stories.
My testimonial is that I’m filled with hope, a sense of grace, a relief in gaining forgiveness, and that the course was a gift. I gained from the work, I gained from the presentations, and I gained from the experience of a wonderful group of adventurers and pilgrims.
— Wayne, Winters, California
This course was a masterfully guided tour of scary places: places I did not want to go; places I did not want to visit alone. My intuitive trust in Mark helped me to break through the denial that kept my early wounding secret; shined some light into the shadow bag to which I had dissociated early hurts.
— Bob Finertie, Walnut Creek, California
I would highly recommend this course to anyone who’s a seeker... desiring to know him/herself more deeply and live more abundantly.
— Julane Borth, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
If you even have an inkling that you’re ready for deep soul work, this course... with Mark Matousek is for you. Amazing really!
— Tasha, Canada
Writing as a Spiritual Practice offers some of the most advanced online teachings currently available, in a thriving global community of learning and practice.
Join your fellow students and practitioners from across the world in the live interactive conference calls or in our online community to support and learn from each other while you transform your life through writing.
This international community is at the leading edge of a global movement of people who are committed to manifesting a better world for all beings. This emerging planetary movement is rooted in an open heart and stands for the principles of mutual support, cooperation, harmony, and reverence for all of life.
Twenty-one 90-minute Class Sessions With Mark Matousek
Experience a rare opportunity to be mentored by and learn with one of the world’s most renowned writing teachers from the comfort of your own home. Each class session guides you to discover the specific skills and abilities to tap into and transform your inner wounds through writing, as well as Q A time. Course sessions are on Wednesdays at 10:00am Pacific.
Twenty-one Audio Recordings of Class Sessions
After each class, the audio will be available for you to download in high-quality MP3 format. You’ll never have to worry about missing a session, and you can listen anytime and anywhere — on any connected device and at your convenience.
Twenty-one PDF Transcripts of Class Sessions
In addition to the high-quality MP3 audios, you’ll also receive the entire class transcription in PDF format after each session is completed. You can then review, print, and highlight the most important insights and practices you were given.
Twenty-one 30-minute Interactive Group Practice Sessions
With live class attendance, there will be a 30-minute optional interactive practice session directly following each class. You’ll be placed in an intimate group with several other participants on the conference call to interact, share, and do additional practices to help further integrate the weekly lessons. If you’re unable to attend the calls live, the Online Community group allows you to connect with each other to find alternative times to interact.
Interactive Exercises and Questions for Each Lesson
After each lesson, you’ll have the option of completing related exercises, practicing new tools, and answering questions to accelerate your learning and integrate each week’s lesson.
Our exclusive Facebook online community is the perfect place to continue your discovery process after each class. Here, you can continue the discussion about your course materials and interact with your fellow students to take your exploration to an even deeper level.
The Writing as a Spiritual Practice Bonus Collection
We feel honored Mark Matousek has chosen to partner with The Shift Network to offer this exclusive LIVE 5-month online program. This is a rare opportunity to interact directly with an award-winning author and teacher and connect with a global community of like minds and hearts who are doing this important and transformative inner work.
Through this powerful online format, you’ll not only save time and money on workshop costs (plus travel, accommodations, and meals — which would cost thousands of dollars), you’ll be able to benefit from Mark’s incredible teachings and exercises from the comfort of your home — and at your own pace!
If you’re serious about cultivating a spiritual writing practice that can unleash your creative spirit and cultivate an expansive mind, open heart, and authentic relationships, you owe it to yourself, your loved ones, and our world to take this one-of-a-kind training.
If you’re ready to take the next step in evolving yourself, click the register button below to reserve your space now.
Mark Matousek’s writing instruction is transformative. His classes will change the ways in which you examine your life, and how you think about yourself as a writer. He approaches your work with a deep sense of empathy, allowing him to help you tell your story in your voice... No matter what stage of the process you are at, time spent with Mark will yield extraordinary results.
— Libuse Binder, Author of Ten Ways to Change the World in Your Twenties
Mark Matousek is a truly gifted writing coach. With an interviewer’s ear, he listens deeply and hears what people have to say. With the determination of a midwife, he helps them give birth to themselves through their words. As my “book whisperer,” he is showing me that writing is truly a spiritual path, leading not only to publication but personal transformation. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from him!
— Gwenyth Jackaway, PhD, associate professor, Fordham University
The writing course I took with Mark Matousek was an amazing journey into the soul of each who took it. We found we were able to trust each other, thanks in large part to Mark starting our first class with the words, “You’re all here for a reason, even though you may not know what that reason is.” Over the course of just a handful of short sessions, I’ve come to realize that not only was I there for a reason, but that this reason was more important to my wellbeing and self-understanding than I could have possibly fathomed when I first signed on for this class... I’m deeply grateful for the experience.
— Brian Carr, President, Solid Threads
Mark is more of a midwife than a teacher. In addition to his innate grasp of and experience with storytelling, what makes Mark so great to work with is his very present presence — it’s what allows me to access what I’ve got to share. I’ve been meeting regularly with him for the past six months for help on the story I am writing and the process is so enjoyable I’d rather it not end.
— Jeannie Demers, freelance writer
Mark Matousek is a bestselling author, teacher, and speaker whose work focuses on personal awakening and creative excellence through self-inquiry and life writing. He’s an award-winning author of five books, has worked on The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, and collaborated with Andrew Harvey on Dialogues with a Modern Mystic. His first book, Sex Death Enlightenment: A True Story, became an international bestseller that was published in 10 countries and nominated for two Books for a Better Life awards.
A featured blogger for Psychology Today, Purple Clover, andHuffPost, he’s contributed to numerous anthologies and publications, including The New Yorker, O: The Oprah Magazine (contributing editor), The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Yoga Journal, Details, The Saturday Evening Post, AARP, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, and many others.
Mark, who’s on the faculty of Omega Institute for Holistic Studies and the New York Open Center, teaches transformational writing workshops around the U.S. and in Europe, and is the Creative Director of V-Men (with Eve Ensler), an organization devoted to ending violence against women and girls.
He brings three decades of experience as a memoirist, editor, interviewer, survivor, activist, and spiritual seeker to his penetrating and thought-provoking work with students. His workshops, classes, and mentoring have inspired thousands of people around the world to reach their artistic and personal goals and transform their lives.
Q: What is a virtual course?
A: It’s a great way to engage live teachings and each other from the comfort of your home! All you need is a phone line (or an equivalent voice service). If there is more than one person in your household taking the course, you will each need your own line. We use MaestroConference to make it just like an in-person event, where you can ask questions, participate in groups, and deepen your exploration of the course themes.
Please note that dialing MaestroConference from your phone is a regular toll call to California; your telephone service provider will charge you according to your existing long-distance calling plan. Other options include calling cards and discount long-distance carriers. You can also use Skype to connect to MaestroConference at no charge, and we offer a webcast which is free to use from anywhere in the world.
I have never participated before in an online course. The packaging, presentation, inclusion and Facebook postings created a wonderful, safe cocoon to participate. I haven’t seen a course so well put together ever — not in all the years of taking college classes — and I had my doubts about doing an online course. The wealth of organization and ease of learning materials and support made this fun as well.
– Claudia F., Medford, MA
Q: Can I get benefit from the course if I miss the live classes?
A: Absolutely! You can download the recordings and transcripts of all course sessions from our online media archive, so you never need to worry about missing live calls. You can also engage the full community and leaders on our private community website.
Q: Can you tell me about the Private Course Group?
A: We will have a private community group for all course participants on Facebook that will support you in making connections with others, sharing insights, engaging in discussions, completing homework assignments and exchanging information about events and other activities that can supplement your transformational journey. You’ll have the ability to share your experiences, projects and growth throughout the Course.
Q: Are there scholarships available for this Training?
A: Yes, we always make a certain percentage of spaces available for partial scholarships, giving preference to those in developing countries or doing important but underpaid work to which they can apply the training material immediately. If you would like to apply for a scholarship, please review our guidelines, which include a link to our online application form.
Q: What is your refund policy?
A: Your satisfaction with The Shift Network and this course is our highest priority! We offer a satisfaction guarantee so that you can sample the course risk-free. The deadline to receive a full refund is May 30th, 2018. To request a refund, please click on this refund request form and submit your request. Your refund will be processed within five business days and we’ll send you an email confirming your refund. However, we’d love to have a chance to address and resolve your concerns first. If there is something we can assist you with, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help! (No refund requests accepted after the above date or with scholarship awards.)
Q: How can I reach Customer Support?
A: Please visit our Customer Support Center, where you should be able to find the answer to your question or the solution to a problem. And if you can’t, you can submit an online request form and we’ll get right back to you.