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Aging and Awakening: Cultivating a Wise Heart
Dates: Aug 21, 2020 - Aug 23, 2020
Online Course

Instructor(s): David Chernikoff

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While the aging process involves losses and challenges, these can become a pathway to profound spiritual realization. Buddhist teachings on the four Heavenly Messengers — aging, illness, death, and awakening — offer us practical and liberating guidelines that enable us to free ourselves from many of the negative attitudes toward aging in modern Western culture. Instead, they teach us to reframe the changes inherent in growing older as a curriculum leading to spiritual maturity. In this course, we’ll combine short didactic presentations, dharma talks, innovative experiential exercises, and the stillness of insight meditation. We’ll create a supportive community of like-minded people who aspire to shift the paradigm for aging in modern society and to celebrate the mystery of our common humanity as it unfolds in the last third of our lives. This is an invitation to know ourselves in new ways that enable us to live fully, love well, and die joyfully, and to become the wise elders who are so essential for our society at this challenging time.

We are grateful to be collaborating on this course on conscious aging with Sage-ing International, an organization dedicated to helping elders reclaim their role as leaders, sharing wisdom and spirit essential to creating a better world for current and future generations.


Online Course: Our intention is to build sangha and provide meaningful virtual interactions with each other and teachers in our online courses. When registering for an online course, please note that you should plan to commit to attending all scheduled sessions. The schedule of Zoom meetings for this course (shown in US Eastern Daylight Time), as well as the schedule for when content will be available, is as follows:


6:30 - 8:30 pm, Opening Session


10:00 - 12:30 pm, Morning Session

12:30 - 1:00 pm, Lunch on your own or optional small breakout group lunch and conversation on Zoom.

2:00 - 5:00 pm, Afternoon Session -- Meditation practice offline, on your own. Alternating periods of sitting meditation and walking meditation or mindful movement, adjusted to individual home environment. 

6:30 - 8:30 pm, Evening Session


10:00 - 12:30 pm, Closing Session

Please check the time of the group meetings in your timezone here, and please note that sessions will not be recorded.

  • David Chernikoff, MDiv, LCSW, is a meditation teacher, spiritual counselor, and psychotherapist who taught psychology and meditation at Naropa University for many years. In the early 1980s, he worked at Ram Dass’s Hanuman Foundation Dying Center in Santa Fe, NM and then became the director of Messilla Valley Hospice in Las Cruces, NM. He later spent three years in Nepal studying with Tibetan teachers and doing development work for the Seva Foundation, after which he returned to the U.S. and  became the education director for the Spiritual Eldering Institute. In that role, he taught conscious aging programs throughout the U.S., in Canada, and in Ireland. Trained as a Community Dharma Leader at Spirit Rock, David is currently one of the guiding teachers of the Insight Meditation Community of Colorado and has a private practice in Boulder.