The Theosophical Society in America

Thursday Lecture Series

The Tibetan Buddhist Wheel of Life

Thursday, April 26, 7:00 p.m.

John CianciosiThe Buddhist Wheel of Life is a symbolic representation of the essential Buddhist teachings regarding the nature of all existence. It illustrates the core defilements that keep living beings spinning through the various realms, all characterized by impermanence. It also depicts the universal law of Dependent Origination that governs all existence and can help us realize liberation from the realm of birth and death. Learn how this powerful practice helps us become enlightened.

John Cianciosi, a student of the late Venerable Ajahn Chah, was ordained a Buddhist monk in 1972 and served as spiritual director of monasteries in Thailand and Australia. He is author of The Meditative Path and is currently the director of Public Programs at the Theosophical Society in Wheaton.

$10 nonmembers   $5 members

Live Webcast

Beyond the Conditioned Mind

Thursday, May 3, 7:00 p.m.

Juli CesanoFor a self-interested mind, always wanting and never still, there is no cure for restlessness and unhappiness. However, teachers of different traditions have spoken of a way that leads beyond the confines of this conditioned mind. How can we, in this demanding modern world, follow their precious advice and find what we are really looking for?

Juliana Cesano is a second-generation Theosophist and has been actively involved with the Society’s work for over 20 years. She spent two years volunteering at the international headquarters in Chennai, India, before becoming a staff member at the Theosophical Society in America. She is a certified yoga teacher, 200 CYT, and is currently the manager of the Quest Book Shop.

$10 nonmembers   $5 members

Live Webcast

Join Juliana on May 5 for the White Lotus Retreat.

Four Essential Steps for Living a Spiritual Life

Thursday, May 10, 7:00 p.m.

Barbara HebertThere are many profound and creative ways to describe the spiritual path, but finding a quick and easy presentation can be difficult. The small book written by J. Krishnamurti, At the Feet of the Master, gives us exactly that. Though it sounds simplistic, it is anything but. Through Discrimination, Desirelesness, Good Conduct, and Love we transform the ordinary life into a truly spiritual one.

Barbara B. Hebert, PhD, currently serves as president of the Theosophical Society in America. A third-generation Theosophist, Barbara has been involved in local, regional, and national offices throughout her years of membership. In addition to her years of service with the Theosophical Society, she has been a mental health practitioner and educator for many years.

$10 nonmembers   $5 members

Live Webcast

Daring to Rest: How Yogic Sleep Can Help You Rise Up

Thursday, May 17, 7:00 p.m.

Karen BrodyOver 34 million Americans experience sleep disorders. Most of us have forgotten how to truly power down and rest. Karen Brody will introduce an ancient yogic sleep-based guided meditation technique that is simple and profound, yet remarkably powerful in curing sleeplessness, anxiety, and deeply rooted paradigms causing you to lose energy. What if we could sleep our way to our best self and a peaceful world? Karen will show you how.

A book signing follows the program.

Karen Brody is a mom, entrepreneur, public speaker, and published author. Her most recent book is Daring to Rest: Reclaim Your Power with Yoga Nidra Rest Meditation (Sounds True, 2017). Karen is the founder of, a website focused on training women leaders to help others move from worn out to well-rested and create a culture of global wellness.

$10 nonmembers   $5 members

Live Webcast

Join Karen on May 19 for her workshop Rest to Rise: A Day of Yoga Nidra Sleep Meditation for Women.

Solving the Dark Matter Mystery: A Search for the Axion Particle

Thursday, May 24, 7:00 p.m.

William WesterThere is an astounding amount of dark matter – over five times more than ordinary matter – yet the nature of dark matter remains an unsolved scientific problem. Fermilab scientist Dr. William Wester will reveal a possible solution. If the yet-to-be-proven axion particle is the dark matter of the universe, it may solve both the dark matter issue and an unsolved problem in particle physics. Learn about the Axion Dark Matter Experiment and hear the next steps to test the axion nature of dark matter.

William Wester, PhD is a senior scientist at the Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory where he has conducted research on particle collisions and searched for possible new particles that make up the dark matter of the universe. He is also a member of the Dark Energy Survey Collaboration, where he studies the particle nature of the cosmos and the expanding universe using a special telescope and scientific camera in Chile.

$10 nonmembers   $5 members

Live Webcast

The Buddha’s Essential Teachings

Thursday, May 31, 7:00 p.m.

Vimala BhikkhuniThe Four Noble Truths are the Buddha’s core teachings and represent the essence of what he realized when he became enlightened. They are universal truths that point to the underlying nature of all existence, and in particular the human condition. As long as we do not clearly understand the true nature of existence, we will continue to experience suffering. However, it is possible for us to realize liberation by practicing the middle way described in these Truths.

Vimala Bhikkhuni is an ordained Buddhist nun practicing in the Theravada tradition. She leads meditation and other classes at Blue Lotus Temple in Woodstock, Ill., where she is the only female monk. In addition to weekly meditation groups in Wisconsin, Vimala travels regularly to Nevada and California for meditation workshops and classes

$10 nonmembers   $5 members

Live Webcast

Join Vimala for Exploring the Four Noble Truths on June 2.

Magic and the Occult

Thursday, June 7, 7:00 p.m.

Richard SmoleyMagic can be defined as causing effects in the physical world through supernatural means. It is universally practiced. Today, our ideas of magic and the occult have been filtered through Hollywood films and horror fiction. But what's the truth behind these mysterious phenomena? Is there anything more to magic than sleight of hand? Richard Smoley draws on his books Hidden Wisdom and Supernatural to give a clear, levelheaded introduction to this baffling subject.

Richard Smoley, editor of Quest: Journal of the Theosophical Society in America, is the author of nine books on spirituality and mysticism. His latest is How God Became God: What Scholars Are Really Saying about God and the Bible.

$10 nonmembers   $5 members

Live Webcast

Nature Spirits in an Alternate Reality

Thursday, June 14, 7:00 p.m.

Atala Dorothy ToyJoin interdimensional communicator Atala Toy as she presents an alternate reality supported by photographic documentation, where leprechauns, trolls, gnomes, dwarves, extraterrestrials and more create vast earth canvases with complex stories and carve their own portraits into trees and rocks. We’ll discuss how to see, talk with, and photograph these intercultural situations.

Atala Dorothy Toy is an interdimensional communicator with over 25 years of professional practice; she is also an award-winning nature spirit portrait photographer. Her books include We Are Not Alone; Nature Spirits, Spirit Guides, and Ghosts; and Nature Spirits in American Trees. Atala is president of Crystal Life Technology, a metaphysical store in Geneva, Ill.

$10 nonmembers   $5 members

Live Webcast

Join Atala for A Photographic Expedition into Alternate Realities, a workshop on June 16.

Science and Spirituality: When Facts and Faith Unite

Thursday, June 21, 7:00 p.m.

Neal GrossmanScience and spirituality are often believed to be fundamentally opposed to one another, yet the application of scientific methodology to the study of spiritual experience has led to striking validation of the latter. We can now assert, not only as a matter of faith, but also as a matter of rigorous science, that consciousness is independent of the brain, reincarnation is a fact, and communication with the dead is real. Dr. Neal Grossman will review some recent scientific findings that support these claims.

Neal Grossman, PhD, is a retired associate professor of philosophy at the University of Illinois at Chicago and is a member of the Council for the Society for Scientific Research. His book, The Spirit of Spinoza: Healing the Mind, is a readable presentation of Baruch Spinoza’s remarkable system of spiritual psychotherapy.

$10 nonmembers   $5 members

Live Webcast

The Law of Karma

Thursday, June 28, 7:00 p.m.

Ajahn ChandakoTeachings on karma are often confused with ideas such as fatalism and the notion that everything is predetermined. However, the Buddha was very careful to refute such misconceptions. Rather, he spoke about karma as a dynamic process of cause and effect governed by impersonal natural laws, by which our volitional actions generate consequences. Within this framework, we discover that we have both the freedom and the responsibility of shaping destiny.

Ajahn Chandako earned a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies and began applying himself to training in meditation. He was ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1990 in the lineage of Venerable Ajahn Chah. After 20 years of study with Buddhist masters in the U.S. and Asia, Ajahn Chandako was invited to New Zealand in 2004 to establish the Vimutti Buddhist Monastery, where he is currently the abbot.

$10 nonmembers   $5 members

Live Webcast

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Programs Calendar

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