Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Power, and Joy of Salons -- "to please and to educate"

The Power and Joy of Salons -- "to please and to educate"

Greg Wendt on
April 11, 2007 12:17 PM

SALON? Here's a definition from Wikipedia -- "A salon is a gathering of stimulating people of quality under the roof of an inspiring hostess or host, partly to amuse one another and partly to refine their taste and increase their knowledge through conversation and readings, often consciously following Horace's definition of the aims of poetry, 'to please and educate (aut delectare aut prodesse est)' "

Imagine -- you are surrounded by very cool, very intelligent people, all of whom you would love to just sit down and talk with, and you do! Yes, I know it's not that novel an idea -- just a party with a focus -- but I found having a "conversation starter" quite a wonderful addition.

It all started when my close friend Professor Sthaneshwar Timalsina with San Diego State University called me to let me know that he is planning to attend the CA-Boom show this past weekend because he is casting about for ideas to build his new home. (BTW -- the CA Boom show was beautiful. A lot of the show exemplified fine examples of beauty and ecology intersecting with good design.)

I suggested to Dr. Timalsina that we hold a salon at my home on "Religion, the Body and the World," because he recently taught a class called "Religion and Ecology," which was very popular and recognized as exemplary by the Dean of the School. Dr. Timalsina is from Nepal and has spent many years both practicing and studying Tantric Philosophy and Sanskrit and currently teaches a broad range of classes in the Religious Studies department.

The evening was very stimulating, to say the least. Sthaneshwar was certainly a hit, as he spoke to the largely "eco-minded" crowd about the connection between how we perceive our body in a religious context and how that perception affects, or enhances our relationship with Nature. Very timely topics -- considering many of the ideas floating in the public discourse on the subject...

He writes: "This can be summarized as a way 'Eco-vision' where embodiment is the core of spiritual awakening. The main theme is 'Religion and the Body.' The body and emotions are often repressed and they are considered irrational. The institutionalized religions have a fallocentric vision of rationality and it tends to avoid the humane aspect. By bringing embodiment in the discourse, the objective of this discussion is to connect modern mankind and modern spirituality to Nature. The rejection of the body in religious discourse has often paralleled with the subordination of Nature and a subordination of the Maternal aspect of God. Therefore, this discussion we will explore the interaction between humanity, spirituality and Nature - evaluated through the non-dual, or Oneness point of view."

This is the first "salon" experience I have had in some time, and to say the least, I think it something I intend to do more, and to inspire my friends to do as well!

In order to feed the mind, body and soul, I suggest that whenever possible, get together, eat, be merry, discuss, think and partake in the joy of salons -- "to please and to educate" for a better world!

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