By Theresa Puskar –
The Hearts Center, Techny, IL
September 21-24th, 2017
The Hearts Center of Illinois recently held the Autumn Equinox 2017 gathering at the Techny Towers. The subtitle of the event was Experience the Heart of Loving-Kindness and the Joy of Compassion– The Twelve Archangels Illumine Chicago with Cosmic Joy. It was a four-day event that centered on meditation and prayer for a variety of causes within the Chicagoland area.
I had never been to Techny Towers, and I was immediately impressed with the size of the building. At first glance, I thought it was a hospital. Once inside I noted that it had the feel of some of the Catholic retreat centers I visited in the past. Once in the event room, I was immediately flooded with memories from the past. I was taken back to my childhood and early life in the Catholic Church. That being said, The Hearts Center took on a much more progressive stance on the rituals and practices of old.
The morning started with dance, but unfortunately due to the rush hour traffic from the western suburbs to the northern part of the city, I was unable to attend the session. The type of dance is known as PanEuRhythmy. My understanding is that it is technique that is a combination of energy movement and spiritual awareness. I was greatly disappointed because I don’t believe there is any greater way to start your day than in celebration and co-creation with the divine through dance.
As I waited for the day’s events to begin, I rummaged through the books, trinkets and other merchandise that was for sale at the back of the room. There were several prayer cards with artist renderings of several masters, angels and sages from a myriad of religious traditions. Again, the cards and books were reflective of the traditional art I used to see when visiting the Catholic Church.
Once we assembled, we were introduced to the founder of The Heart Center, David Lewis. He sat at the front of the room and led the meditations, prayers and songs. His energy was calm and contemplative, and he held that space of leadership. He started by exerting that Chicago is a very special city, as it is geographically positioned at the heart chakra point of the nation. I had never heard this reference before, however when he said it, I remember a conversation that I had years ago when I was working on an inspirational audio program with native spiritual leader, Wolf Moondance. She was shocked and delighted at the breadth of spiritual energy that Chicago and the adjacent suburbs held. She noted that there was a remarkable amount of natural parkland in the area, and that for an urban center, Chicago held a great deal of nature and corresponding spiritual energy.
The theme of the contemplative session was prayer. “For the release of light to cleanse, heal, uplift, purify, specifically Chicago, America and the world.” David explained that the group was “operating from causal body (flame) and seeding the area with light, divine energy, brotherhood and sisterhood.” One of the ideals that most resonated with me was his assertion, “We are not focusing our energies against darkness. We are blazing divine light forth.” In particular the prayers and intentions focused on Chicago leaders, violent Chicago neighborhoods and Chicagoland issues, including: gangs, drug and human trafficking, police violence, racism, the schools, the economy and the government. Each participant had prayer books and hymnals, again reflective of those distributed in the Catholic masses I had attended.
David then proceeded to lead the group in prayer and song. The first was our pledge to our guardian angel. We committed to listen, follow and obey them. When I went within during this contemplation, I received a message from mine. I had been feeling a little guilty because I have not been focusing my energies on my angels and guides, but more on communications with the divine masters that I follow (Christ, Mother Mary, Buddha, Quan Yin, Pachamama, and Sri Amma Bhagavan). Once I connected, my guilt was put to rest. The response I received from my guardian angel was “I am here– I have always been. Let your fears and concerns rest. Lean back on me. It is never too late. Feel the freedom and release that comes with surrender and feel at peace.” I really loved and appreciated the message I received. While I know in my heart that I am always being guided and supported by my divine team, sometimes I need to be reminded! I anticipate and look forward to the day that I have complete faith and no longer require such reminders!
I was thrilled with their rewrite of the Hail Mary prayer. Having recited the traditional renditions of these prayers for so many years, it was refreshing to experience them with new content that was more inclusive and less shaming. The prayer is known as the Raphael and Mother Mary HeartStream.
Hail Mary, full of grace;
Blessed art thou among angels,
And blessed is thy union with Raphael.
Holy Mary, Archeia Sublime,
Pray for us sons and daughters divine
Now and ever as we meditate with thee.
One of the practices I revisited during my time with The Hearts Center was the teaching of the Hawaiian Ho’Oponopono process. Several years ago, I had the honor and pleasure of producing several audio programs for one of the metaphysical teachers in The Secret, Dr. Joe Vitale. Joe introduced me to this process, and while it has been years since I was introduced, when I find myself being triggered by a situation I still find myself quietly chanting, “I love you. I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you!” If you are not familiar with these spiritual teachings, I would encourage you to read Zero Limits by Joe Vitale and Ihaleakala Hew Len, Ph.D. This process has had a profound and lasting affect on me.
As the morning session ended, Steve Miller shared the powerful story of Treva Belle. She survived a near-death experience, and thereafter became a committed member of The Hearts Center community. She lived to a ripe old age, and her story was both uplifting and affirming. She was a living example of living from the heart. I left the event with a greater sense of appreciation for my life and all the graces that I have been fortunate enough to experience.
Theresa Puskar, our All About Town contributor, is a writer, trainer, speaker, minister and inspirational audiobook producer. She is the author of a solo show and workshop, Beauty, Bollywood and Beyond, along with The Terri Series – seven children’s books that focus on bullying, honoring diversity, celebrating creativity, non-judgment of emotions, finding alternatives to technology-based entertainment, discovering a non-judgmental God and overcoming fears. She has also recorded a powerful experiential audio program, How to De-Clutter Your Mind and Live a Heart-Centered Life. To place an order or learn more about her upcoming shows or ministry, you can log onto her website, www.theresapuskar.com.