‘Love What Arises’ teacher comes to Nevada County
know and go
Who: Matt Kahn and Julie Dittmar
What: “The Heart of Awakening” soul gathering
Where: Unity in the Gold Country, 180 Cambridge Court, Grass Valley
When: 12:15-2:15 p.m., April 26
Unity information: http://www.unitygold.us
Matt Kahn information: http://www.truedivinenature.com
Rev. Jerry Farrell woke up at Matt Kahn’s retreat last fall in Portland with a sinking feeling.
The night before, Kahn, a Pacific Northwest-based empath and healer who is garnering international attention for his YouTube videos, had announced that he just signed a book and DVD deal with Colorado-based holistic publishing company Sounds True. Kahn’s book and DVDs are expected to be published this fall.
“‘He’s never going to come to Grass Valley now,’” Farrell, lead minister at Unity in the Gold Country Spiritual Center in Grass Valley, recalled thinking.
Still feeling discouraged, Farrell got dressed and came out of the retreat lodging space. He immediately saw Kahn walking toward him up the pathway.
“He didn’t say hello or anything,” Farrell said. “He looked straight at me and said, ‘No matter how big I get, I’m still coming to Grass Valley.’”
And so it is. Kahn, who is booked for private sessions through February 2016 and whose videos are viewed by thousands, will come to Unity for a “Soul Gathering” at 12:15 p.m. on Sunday, April 26. Joining him will be partner Julie Dittmar, a sound healer and meditation teacher.
Tickets, which went on sale earlier this week, are already half sold-out, Farrell said. (see box for ticket information or go to http://truedivinenature.com.) The Grass Valley appearance, and two sessions in Berkeley the prior Friday and Saturday, are Kahn’s only Northern California stops this year. Kahn will also attend Unity’s 10:30 a.m. Sunday service at the church at 180 Cambridge Court.
“He has this way of distilling centuries of spiritual teaching,” Farrell said of Kahn, whom he credits with sharing a “practical spirituality” that is accessible to everyone.
“We’ve all been told, “love yourself, love your neighbor,’” Farrell said. “But no one has defined it so specifically, in the moment, when you’re having an experience, as to “this is how you love yourself.’”
In Kahn’s world, every thought and feeling — no matter how negative or hurtful — is an opportunity to extend love to the one who is feeling it.
“You don’t love the angry ‘you,’” Farrell said. “You love the ‘you’ that is having the experience of anger.” Or, as Kahn says in his videos, “love what arises.”
“If you’re feeling angry, you need more love, not less,” Kahn says. “If you’re feeling depressed, you need more love, not less.”
“For me, Matt is just the real deal,” said Michael Stone of Grass Valley, leader of Sunday’s “Sweat Your Prayers” moving meditation dance group at South Yuba Club in Nevada City and host of “Conversations” show 1 to 2 p.m. Tuesdays on KVMR radio 89.5 FM. “He is completely present and speaking from his heart — I love that about him.
“There is an authenticity about him, it just penetrates you,” Stone said. “The questions that he talks about are really important — what it means to be a spiritual being on this planet at a time when we most need it.”
Stone, whose radio shows are available on podcasts at his website, http://www.welloflight.com, said he plans to host Kahn on the show prior to the April event in Grass Valley. (Stone’s guests on Tuesday, Jan. 27 will be internationally renowned theologian Matthew Fox and leading edge biologist Rupert Sheldrake).
Farrell, meanwhile, said he sees Kahn as being in alignment with the principles of Unity, which “is very much a healing ministry,” he said. “Matt is all about healing, and empowering all of us to heal ourselves.” Unity, a New Thought church, is accepting of all spiritual paths, he said.
“Unity says there are many paths to God,” he said. “There’s not one path, not one spirituality — we’re all one.”
A former Catholic priest, Farrell, 57, said he found Unity and teachers like Kahn more in alignment with his life’s work than traditional religion. “Conscious evolutionary” leader Barbara Marx Hubbard, who came to Unity for several gatherings last year, will be returning May 16-17, in part because she felt at home with the energy of Farrell and Unity.
“The salient reason I was attracted to Unity is that, after attending a few services there, I found their congregation to be genuinely caring and completely non-judgmental of newcomers and members alike,” said Unity congregant Jan Roth of Nevada City. “These people, much to my initial surprise, actually love each other unconditionally.
“In the six years I have now been attending, it continues to amaze me that I have never once heard a single word of gossip,” Roth added. “And Unity has no dogma – we don’t make rules for each other!”
Farrell, who considers himself part of the “new breed” of Unity ministers, said he has been attracted to metaphysical teachers like Kahn, Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson and Eckhart Tolle his whole life, even while being a Catholic priest. After a shamanistic-type mystical experience when he was 17 and still living in his native Ireland, he has always sought a way to experience and share a oneness and light in himself and with others.
The Rev. Seth Kellermann, of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Grass Valley, said he does not know Farrell but he appreciates the spirit of sharing that exists throughout the spiritual community in Nevada County.
“I believe our community strives to love our neighbors as ourselves,” Kellermann said. “We all fall short of this goal, but with humility and the grace of God, we seek to walk in love.”
Kellermann said there are “so many people seeking after and considering something beyond themselves” in Nevada County.
“I find that seeking refreshing,” he said. “People go about this process in so many ways and this makes Nevada County a place where many different streams of thought and practice converge.”
Farrell, founder of the grassroots organization Interfaith Nevada County, said Kahn, for him, offers the “missing piece” of how to actually raise one’s spiritual vibrations while in the midst of living daily life. Kahn, he said, is “exactly the same, on stage or off” because he doesn’t get into the “guru” persona and instead offers continual love and presence to whatever or whomever arises.
“It’s great that I’m here in the monastery, or in morning prayer, and then you step into the world and leave that behind — what good is that?” Farrell said. “Where I need it (spiritual help) is in the cut and thrust of me having reactions to people and people being weird.
“How do I handle that?” he said.
Kahn, who is from Los Angeles, famously talks about his frequent past episodes of spiritual enlightenment while shopping at Whole Foods.
Farrell, who said he has had similar experiences at local grocery stores, said the humor from the stories is a gift from Kahn that “actually makes spirituality fun.” Kahn also talks about “celebration” as the highest form of spiritual vibration — an energy that can be applied to everything in life.
Most of all, Kahn explains how to come from the heart instead of the head, Farrell said. That has been a lesson to him personally, Farrell said, because he has tended in the past to put great weight on “understandings” that one might glean from books and which are available only to the very intelligent.
“I always felt that whatever spirituality was about, it was something that everybody should have equal access to,” he said. “I always felt it had to be something to do with the heart, because everyone has a heart and is capable of loving.”
To contact Staff Writer Keri Brenner, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4239.
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