Field Trip: Agape International Spiritual Center

This weekend, Ed & I visited Agape International Spiritual Center. Ed has been a few times before, but this was my first trip and from what he had described to me, I was very interested to see what it was all about.

Agape is described as practicing “New Thought-Ancient Wisdom tradition of spirituality” and transcending denominations in it’s love and honor of God. There were aspects of various traditions that I recognized and it made so much sense to me.

My first introduction to Agape was as we entered from the parking lot, and saw some vendors in front of the building selling food and artifacts. The energy could be felt immediately and I sensed a kinetic connection.

I was surprised and pleased to find vegan options immediately, and fresh juice being sold. I have always been of the opinion that spirituality and health go hand in hand and I have been perplexed at (some) churches lack of discussion about the body and mindfulness of what we put in it.

vegan food After we perused some of the art of mandalas, we decided we better feed our physical selves before we worked on our spiritual selves.

mandalas I ordered a deeeeeeelish vegan quesadilla with tons of veggies and pico de gallo.

vegan quesadillapico de gallo

After we ate, we headed into the building to settle in and prepare for meditation. Each service begins with an optional 30 minute meditation. This also made SO much sense to me. I feel that I hear God best when I have quieted my mind and settled in to be in tune. I have never meditated with such a large group of people before, there was easily hundreds present and it was amazing that even amongst such a large group, there was audible silence.

After mediation, the service begin with uplifting music, affirmations and a message from turning things out of sight, into insight.

The day's affirmation

The day’s affirmation.

The message really resonated with me and made sense. It was about truly tapping into the God within us all and using that to deal with hardships. The analogy was given that we should not dread or feel that we have to face a hard circumstance, those circumstances have to face the God within us. Another aspect that stood out to me was the referencing of God as “it” or “they” instead of “he” or “him,” which has felt problematic to me, in the past.

After the service, we continued our worshiping at Venice Beach and basked in the beauty of creation.

sun worshipping sistersVeniceVenice

In love & sisterhood,

~Ang

“Stop looking outside for help. You’re sourced and fuelled and funded by a renewable resource, which is within you. It never runs out. It is your Essence. It’s your life.” – Michael Bernard Beckwith

I’ve been to Michael Beckwith’s spiritual center on several occasions and one of the things that always strikes me when I go is the pureness of diversity.  There are no mission statements or forced pictures on the wall which state this sanctuary welcomes all, only to see the congregation is a prominent race or color.  When I looked around at the participants who celebrated alongside me, there was a mix of everyone.

The first time I went, two men, an interracial couple, sat next to me holding hands throughout the ceremony.  There were no uncomfortable stares or glances; everyone appeared ready for the meditation rather than concentrating on who was sitting next the them.  Last Sunday we were able to see some of the workshops that are available to the public; workshops that actually help and empower people in their daily lives rather than condemnation.

Each time I leave the sanctuary, I feel as if I’ve accomplished something spiritual; I leave with a sense of wholeness and oneness with myself and others.

IMG_0477 IMG_0478IMG_0518 IMG_0522

Peace,

Ed

 

 

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