Informed by techniques from the world's meditative traditions, as well as cutting edge research in adult development, Lower Lights has developed practices, even rituals, that seek to address the whole human being, always in relationship to a larger whole.

 

Our Mission

To support the flourishing of your greatest gifts and offering to the world through transformative practices and vibrant community. 


OUR HISTORY

What began as a desperate escape from a painful falling out with his Mormon family and community became a life-changing journey that led Thomas to travel the world twice over.

In his late adolescence he was all but rescued by an order of Zen Buddhists who taught him how to steady his mind and access wisdom through stillness. From day one, he dedicated himself to practice and began to seek out the best teachers wherever he could find them. By his mid-twenties he was beginning to experience deep healing and transformation that his daily meditation practice seemed to be catalyzing. 

Curious to understand how to make sense of this all, he eventually came across the school of Western developmental psychology. The discovery of adult development helped make sense of his transformation process in a way the Eastern traditions could never clarify for him. From there, he began to weave together meditative approaches with developmental insights that pointed to universal patterns of growth and transformation. Gradually, a new model of what human beings are capable of becoming began to emerge through this alchemy.

Much to his own surprise, 13 years after he originally left, his journey led him back to his hometown of Salt Lake City where a deep integration began to occur. The place that had held more pain for him than anywhere else became a gateway to his deepest healing. This has since become a guiding metaphor for our community. In the words of Rumi: “the wound is the place where the light enters you.”

Just weeks after his return, a friend who had recently undergone a tragedy asked Thomas to share his meditation practice and what he had learned during his years away. This request sparked a gathering of a small group of friends. Week after week, the gathering grew. And before we knew it, Wednesday nights in downtown Salt Lake were a thing. Since our first evening together, hundreds of people from all walks of life have shown up to participate in the community.

Informed by techniques from the world’s meditative traditions, as well as cutting edge research in adult development, Lower Lights has developed practices, even rituals, that seek to address the whole human being, always in relationship to a larger whole. 

These practices & developmental frameworks transcend social and religious divides. We offer them as complements to any belief system, whether religious or secular. 

In September of 2016, after nearly five years of weekly practice, meditation retreats, community dinners, and service projects, we decided to re-pot the plant by moving to a larger space and extending a formal invitation to the broader community for the first time.

We welcome you to add your spirit to this evolutionary swell.


Our Approach

We draw from two primary approaches that are both informed by the world’s wisdom traditions and supported by the most current scientific research:

Contemplative practice (e.g. meditation, mindfulness, centering prayer)

Whatever your belief system or cultural background, the evidence is clear that contemplative practice can help us all live healthier lives and give shape to healthier communities. 

In an age of frenetic activity, many have forgotten how to become still and receptive to the whisper of the Spirit that pierces our very soul. In other words, we have lost touch with our innate capacity to directly experience the Transcendent. Once we reconnect to this profoundly generous Source, we live inspired lives full of meaning and and a spirit of service towards others.

Adult development 

Never before have so many different kinds of people and worldviews co-existed in the same space. Too often we assume that people who don’t see the world the way we do must have just lost the plot somehow. Whatever “it” is, we think they don’t get it. Adult development offers us a somewhat shocking look at the very distinct worlds we all inhabit, as well as insight into how we can tread more lightly on one another’s sacred ground. 

Alongside the research in adult development, there is a growing body of knowledge concerned with translating this valuable information into actual human growth, i.e. praxis. Different experiences for different people during different phases of development are supportive for ongoing growth. Research indicates that while we can easily plateau in our adult development, we don’t have to. In fact, there seems to be no upper limit to how much we can grow. The latest stages of human development remain a Mystery waiting to be lived. 

We invite you to come and discover with us in community what the next unfolding in your own life looks like.


OUR OBJECTIVES

  • To create a supportive space where people of all traditions can live their questions of ultimate concern
     
  • To provide developmentally appropriate practices for growth and flourishing and which are complementary to every belief system
  • To Integrate: To leave nothing good, true, and beautiful behind.

  • To put contemplation in service. We recognize the heart of the practice is a continual cycle of bringing our highest awareness into passionate engagement in the world. 
  • To heal the divisions in our local community. Salt lake City was founded on a religious vision, and yet there have never been so many people living in Salt Lake who are unaffiliated (or disaffiliated) with the Mormon Church. We have become a microcosm of the religious/secular divide in the modern world. Our intention is to help reveal the common humanity we share beneath the surface of our worldviews and beliefs.

Partners & Collaborators:

 
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Lower Lights is a participant of the Harvard Divinity School’s December Gathering, part of an ongoing research project and action network that identifies religious innovators seeking to revitalize their faith traditions and community leaders seeking to build communities of meaning and belonging.


Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.”
— Rumi