The Theosophical Society in America

Thursday Lecture Series

presented at the National Center

The Theosophical Society in America National Headquarters These weekly lectures are offered at our National Center, 1926 N. Main St., Wheaton, IL.

 For more information phone: 630-668-1571, ext. 315; or by e-mail

Early Buddhism, Quantum Physics, and Relativity

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

Bhante SamahitaThe 20th century started with two groundbreaking scientific revolutions: quantum mechanics and relativity. Quantum mechanics stated that elementary systems only have real definite local properties if and when observed by a conscious observer. This squares well with early Buddhism’s idea of Emptiness (‎Suññatā) and emphasis on Experience as the sole reality. Special relativity introduced length-contraction and time-dilation similar to Buddhism’s concept of seeing all states as conditional relations (Paţţhāna) between mind and its object, thus also renouncing the naïve idea of a local reality existing independent of the observing mind. Join Buddhist monk and scientist Bhante Samahita for a discussion on the convergence of Buddhism, quantum physics, and relativity.

Bhante Samāhita was educated as a medical doctor at the Copenhagen University in Denmark, and became Associate Professor in Bioinformatics at the Technical University in Denmark, working with theoretical biology and artificial intelligence. He arrived in Sri Lanka in 2001, where he became fully ordained as a Bhikkhu in 2003. As a monk of the Theravada Araññavasin Forest Tradition, he has been living and meditating for the past 16 years alone in a remote mountain forest hermitage. His main philosophical interest is the convergence and congruence of ideas within Early Buddhism, Orthodox Quantum Physics, Einsteinian Relativity, Information Theory, and Thermodynamics.

$10 nonmembers, $5 members

Live Webcast

Join Bhante Samāhita, Saturday, January 12,  for his workshopBreath Awareness: Mastering a Classic Buddhist Meditation.


An Astrological Outlook for 2019: The Economic and Political Challenges for the United States

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

Dave GunningThe political climate for the president and the U.S. economy will heat up as Saturn in Capricorn moves ever closer into a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn that will peak in January of 2020. We will look at these and other planetary movements in 2019, through the lens of the Sibly U.S. astrological birth chart published in 1787. Ebenezer Sibly was a British Freemason and Theosophist who devoted his life to medicine and astrology. His chart for the U.S., though controversial, has been widely used for the past 200 years.

Dave Gunning is an astrological consultant, teacher, and lecturer. His readings, classroom teachings, and lectures have always emphasized the importance of the person’s interconnectedness to the Spiritual Self. Dave is a contributor to Dell Horoscope and The Mountain Astrologer magazines.

$10 nonmembers, $5 members

Live Webcast

Join Dave’s Stargazing: Astrology Discussion Group the third Tuesday of each month. 

The Middle Way: Embracing a Balanced Life

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

SanikarroThe Middle Way is a term the Buddha used to describe the Eightfold Path of practice that can release us from needless and neurotic suffering. Originally, "middle way" has meant staying away from opposites and extremes in which we lose balance, become mired, and end up suffering again and again. Let's ponder some of the opposites that pull on us like Scylla and Charybdis. How might we chart out life's courses such that the play of opposites remains a dance rather than a trap?

Santikaro is the founder of Liberation Park, a Buddhist retreat center in Wisconsin, where he teaches Buddhism and meditation with an emphasis on the early Pali sources. He was a Buddhist monk for 19 years and a disciple of the renowned Thai meditation master Buddhadasa Bhikkhu.

$10 nonmembers, $5 members 

Live Webcast

Join Santikaro, Saturday, January 25-27, for his retreat: Meditation Retreat: Navigating Life's Changes and Challenges.

The Secret Teachings of All Ages

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

Richard SmoleyYou have likely heard of the secret teachings of all ages – a body of knowledge that goes under many names. Sometimes it’s called the Ancient Wisdom or the perennial philosophy. It’s reflected in traditions such as Theosophy, the Kabbalah, esoteric Christianity, Hermeticism, Sufism, and many others. It is discussed in many books, but it still often seems hard to pin down what, exactly, it is. Why are these teachings secret? What makes them so? If they’re secret, how can we say anything about them at all? Where can one find them? Richard Smoley will explore this line of knowledge, and clarify many common errors and fallacies about it.

Richard Smoley is editor of Quest: Journal of the Theosophical Society in America. He is the author of 10 books on spirituality, philosophy, and religion. His works include Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition; Forbidden Faith: The Secret History of Gnosticism; and The Dice Game of Shiva: How Consciousness Creates the Universe. His next book, God Now: A Fresh View of Ultimate Reality, will be published in late 2019. Richard lectures nationwide and has been featured on numerous YouTube videos. His website is

$10 nonmembers, $5 members

Live Webcast

Cultivating Emotional Intelligence

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

Azam NizamuddinEmotional Intelligence is the ability to sense, understand, and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions as a source of energy, information, creativity, trust, and connection. It also provides great insight on how emotion influences motivation and behavior. Gain a deeper understanding of self-management and self-awareness for better insight and control over your actions and emotions. As you cultivate a deeper emotional intelligence, you will experience a positive impact in every area of your life – both professional and personal.

Azam Nizamuddin, general counsel for a not-for-profit organization, scholar, and activist will lead this presentation and show us all how we can utilize this important tool of self-awareness to succeed in our lives professionally, emotionally, and spiritually. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Theology at Loyola University of Chicago.

$10 nonmembers, $5 members

Live Webcast

Bardo: The Tibetan Book of the Dead

Thursday February 14, 7:00 p.m.

Glenn--MullinThe Tibetan Book of the Dead (Bardo Thodol) is traditionally believed to be the work of the legendary Padma Sambhava in the 8th century A.D. The Bardo Thodol teaches that once awareness is freed from the body, it creates its own reality as one would experience in a dream. This dream occurs in various phases (bardos) in ways both wonderful and terrifying. Overwhelming peaceful and wrathful visions and deities appear. Since the deceased's awareness is in confusion, it needs help and guidance in order for enlightenment and liberation to occur. The Bardo Thodol acts as the guide that helps the individual recognize the true nature of mind and thus attain Nirvana – liberation from the cycle of rebirth. This lecture will draw from two of Lama Glenn's books: Living in the Face of Death: The Tibetan Tradition, and The Tibetan Book of the Dead: An Illustrated Edition.

Lama Glenn Mullin trained in Tibetan Buddhism in the Himalayas for 15 years, and has published some 30 books on Tibetan Buddhism. He has taught Buddhist meditation for the past 30 years, often touring for six months of the year through North America, Asia, and Europe. He also leads pilgrimages through the sacred sites of Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan each year. For more visit

$10 nonmembers, $5 members

Live Webcast

Join Glen Friday,  February 15-17, for his retreat: Tibetan Powa Yoga: A Tantric Practice for Obtaining Higher Rebirth.

Soul Visioning™: Clear the Past, Create Your Future

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

An introduction

Susan-David_Wisehart.Do you feel like you’ve done all the visualizing, affirmations, and positive thinking you can, yet still feel stuck in one or more areas of life? The 7-step process of Soul Visioning allows you to envision and create in holographic time, where all realities exist – including your ideal future in the areas of work, career, relationships, finances, health and spirituality. Experience a sample of this process and learn how to align your personality with your Soul. Discover what might be holding you back from manifesting a life of passion and purpose from this life and past lives.

David Birr has facilitated weekly soul growth groups for 50 years. He has taught courses and presented lectures on many topics, including intuition, dreams, soul development, forgiveness, esoteric psychology, meditation, astrology, relationships, numerology, the enneagram, healing, reincarnation, and karma. His inspirations include Edgar Cayce, A Course in Miracles, Alice Bailey, David Spangler, and Rudolph Steiner. He is also an environmental engineer and owns his own company dedicated to improving air and water quality and energy efficiency.

Susan Wisehart, MS, LMFT, CHT, has been in private practice for over 25 years as a holistic psychotherapist, licensed marriage and family therapist, certified hypnotherapist, and international author of Soul Visioning: Clear the Past, Create Your Future. She holds a master’s degree in psychology and was trained by Dr. Brian Weiss and Dr. Michael Newton in past life regression.

$10 nonmembers, $5 members

Live Webcast

Join David and Susan Saturday, February 23, for their workshop: Soul Visioning™: Clear the Past, Create Your Future.

Life After Death: How Daily Living Shapes the After Death Experience

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

Juli CesanoOne of the greatest mysteries humanity still struggles with is the inevitable reality of death. What happens when we die? Where do we go? But for those of us still on this side of life, there are even more relevant questions to be asked: Is there a correlation between the way we live and the way we die? Can the cumulative thoughts, feelings, and actions of a lifetime shape our postmortem experience? Is death a continuation of life? Join us as we explore these questions under the light of the Ageless Wisdom tradition, as it was presented by early Theosophists.

Juliana Cesano is a certified yoga teacher, 200 CYT. Meditation and the exploration of her spiritual path have helped her develop a contemplative yoga practice. She spent two years at the international headquarters of the Theosophical Society in Chennai, India and is currently the manager of the Quest Book Shop.

$10 nonmembers, $5 members

Live Webcast

A Map of the Field of Consciousness

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

Pablo SenderHindu yoga philosophy describes four states of consciousness that can be experienced by human beings – waking, dreaming, deep sleep, and a fourth state, which is the background that underlies the previous three. However, when interpreted in the light of Theosophical teachings, these states provide a map of the different planes of consciousness that extend beyond our physical experience. In this talk, Pablo Sender will explore the philosophical and metaphysical aspects of the subject, forming the foundation for the practice that will take place during the Saturday meditation retreat: Exploring the Four States of Consciousness.

Pablo Sender, PhD, has been a member of the Theosophical Society since 1996. He has lived and worked at the International Headquarters of the TS in Adyar, India; at the National Center of the TS in America; and is currently at the Krotona Institute of Theosophy in Ojai, California. An international speaker, he has presented programs and retreats in India, Europe, Oceania, and the three Americas. He writes for many Theosophical journals and is the author of the book Evolution of the Higher Consciousness. Visit his website at

$10 nonmembers, $5 members

Live Webcast

Join Pablo Saturday,.March 9, for his meditation retreat: Exploring the Four States of Consciousness.

Healing Headaches and Reducing Stress with Ancient Ayurvedic Medicine

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

Trupt GokaniDr. Trupti Gokani will reveal her time-tested techniques of ancient Ayurvedic mind-body typing to help you understand your unique needs when dealing with stress so you can live a life of balance and harmony. After treating chronic migraine patients for over a decade, Dr. Gokani brings a wealth of knowledge and will share vital information on how you can reduce your cycles of pain – both physical and emotional. From headaches and migraines to anxiety and insomnia, Dr. Gokani will show you how to reduce stress by understanding how and why pain occurs and utilizing that pain to guide you in healing. Gain the wisdom to create a strong and powerful brain for many years to come!

Trupti Gokani, MD, is an award-winning, board-certified neurologist who has dedicated her life to developing a unique blend of modern medicine and ancient philosophy. She earned her medical degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she also completed her training in neurology, was Chief Resident, and pursued additional post-doctoral training and certification as a Master Clinical Psychopharmacologist. She also has credentials in Ayurvedic medicine and transcendental meditation. Dr. Gokani lectures extensively and is a regular guest on The Dr. Oz Show.
For more, visit

$10 nonmembers, $5 members

Live Webcast

Join Dr. Gokani, Saturday, March 16 for her workshop: Stress and Your Body Type: Using Ayurvedic Medicine for Healing.

In the Footprints of Rumi

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

Pouria MontazeriRumi is greatly appreciated in the West, yet few understand the depth of his spiritual and cultural context or of the many layers of meaning that have been lost in translations from his native Persian. Rumi scholar and Sufi teacher Pouria Montazeri will share some of the main themes Rumi was particularly grappling with in his poetry and work, which act as a map for a sacred journey into the heart and spiritual realm.

Pouria Montazeri grew up with Rumi’s poetry and teachings and is fluent in Persian. He draws from his 28 years of experience with Sufism, Advaita Vedanta, and other mystical and contemplative practices as well as his experiences as a teacher, spiritual director/coach, speaker, poet, mindfulness instructor, sangha guide, mentor, and filmmaker to support himself and others to live more creative, peaceful, and meaningful lives. He wrote, directed, and filmed Shams & Rumi: The Fragrance of Axis Mundi, which won many international film awards. For more, visit

$10 nonmembers, $5 members

Live Webcast

Join Pouria, Saturday, March 23 for his workshop: The Sufi Heart: Embodying Rumi's Teachings.

Living without Fear

Thursday March 28, 7:00 p.m.

All human beings experience fear. Frequently when we talk about fear, we think about fears in the physical realm: spiders, snakes, heights, and so on. The Ageless Wisdom provides insight into fear: facing it, working through it, and reaching beyond it. This discussion will focus on the impact fear has on our lives and ways in which we can use spiritual guidance to deal with fear.

Barbara B. Hebert, Ph.D., 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

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Programs Calendar

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