“Healthy skeptics” find spirituality by following Ancient Traditions

Spokesman Review (Spokane, WA)
January 14, 2005 Friday
Idaho Edition

?Healthy skeptics? find spirituality by following Ancient Traditions

by Virginia de Leon Staff writer

Kamori Cattadoris is a skeptic.

“The healthy kind,” explained the founder of Ancient Traditions
Community Church, a new congregation in Hillyard. “The kind that
wants to know truth. Not the cynic who rejects everything.”

Although she spent years questioning religious doctrine, Cattadoris
was still open to finding a path to God.

Spirituality eventually became possible for her, she said, through
ancient teachings found in Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Sufism,
Tibetan Buddhism and other traditions.

After starting a study group four years ago for “healthy skeptics” in
search of faith, Cattadoris and her husband, Bob, bought an old
church building in north Spokane and established Ancient Traditions.
On Saturday, the new church will open its doors to the community by
offering several activities that emphasize traditional ethnic music
and dance, as well as Middle Eastern foods that members have spent
the past few days preparing.

Ancient Traditions is not a new religion, members say. While its
teachings are based on early Christian principles, it is an
interfaith congregation that doesn?t force anyone to believe in
anything, Cattadoris said. Their goal is to work together in pursuit
of personal transformation ? to “drop our inflated self-importance,”
she said, and to “seek God within the human heart.”

At the altar of the church sanctuary is a large wooden cross, left
behind by the previous congregation. “We?ve made it our own,” said
Cattadoris, emphasizing that the group is not exclusively Christian.

To the right of the altar is a Tibetan gong; to the left in another
corner hang half a dozen handmade bells from India. The white walls
will eventually be decorated with Egyptian papyrus and Tibetan art
painted on rice paper. The church?s library includes books like the
Quran, the Dalai Lama?s “Training the Mind” and Jon Kabat-Zinn?s
“Wherever You Go, There You Are.”

Many who joined this group have been influenced by the teachings of
George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff, an Armenian mystic, author and composer
who established a religious movement in the 1920s through the
Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man.

Born in 1872 in Alexandropol near the Russo-Turkish frontier,
Gurdjieff spent years in Central Asia, North Africa and other areas,
where he came into contact with esoteric teachings. As a result, he
developed his own teaching: that ordinary people could attain a
higher state of awareness. After his death in 1949, Gurdjieff?s
followers started spiritual centers all over the world.

While Gurdjieff study groups exist throughout the United States, the
Spokane crowd is one of only two in the country that has evolved into
a church, Cattadoris said.

“We are an experiential group,” said Lyn Lamb, who joined Ancient
Traditions last year when it was still a study group. Through her
interaction with other members, she has focused on certain tasks each
week that include refraining from negative thinking and an emphasis
on self-observation ? actions, she said, that have given her more
awareness.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

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