General Student Expectations
A unique aspect of Cousens’ School of Holistic Wellness is the standard at which we hold all of our students to. Cousens’ School of Holistic Wellness is more than an educational experience. It is a lifestyle immersion opportunity for our students. Once accepted into one of our programs, many of our students begin to experience a radical shift in their overall well-being; these shifts often change their entire perspective of what it means to live in harmony and integrity with the world around them. Because we have such a unique approach to learning, we also uphold high lifestyle standards for our students. Ideally these standards are met not only for the duration of your time in our program, but throughout your entire life as you begin to see the positive effects of the lifestyle. These standards include:
- A 100% organic plant-source-only (vegan) diet
- A 80% minimum live food diet
- A substance-free lifestyle (no alcohol, drugs, or recreational herbs such as marijuana or ayahuasca)
- Upholding The Six Foundations & Sevenfold Peace (outlined below)
- Upholding the Tree of Life Dharma (outlined below) both during your stay at the Tree of Life and in your life in general
The Six Foundations for Spiritual Life
- Spiritual Nutrition: A plant-source-only, organic, live food, high mineralized, low sugar, and high hydration diet. Spiritual nutrition also includes periodic and seasonal spiritual fasting.
- Building Prana (Life Force): Yoga asanas, pranayama (breathing practices), the Ophanim (the energetics of the Hebrew letters), T’ai Chi, Reiki, Tachyon Energy or other energy practices, and sacred dance. These all enhance and expand the consciousness of the body-mind complex, filling it with increased life force energy or prana.
- Service (Sheirut) & Charity (Tzedaka): In the process of service and charity, we are able to face our attachments to things (seva), as well as to feel our connection to all of the family of humanity. This helps to expand consciousness through the direct experience.
- Spiritual Guidance & Inspiration: Satsang, being in the energy of Truth in the presence of a liberated or awakened spiritual teacher. Satsang gives meaning, value, heart, and energy to spiritual wisdom teachings and spiritual life energetics. In the Kabbalah, satsang is termed yechidut. Sangha or kehila (chavurah), which is spending time with spiritual people or community. Expanding and refining the mind with spiritual wisdom teachings, the great scriptures such as Zohar, the Torah, the Tao Te Ching, the Vedas, great mystical poetry such as that of Hafitz, Rumi and Blake. Wisdom literature helps formulate and focus our consciousness and expand it. Zero Point, sacred music and spending time in nature are also part of this Foundation.
- Sacred Silence: Meditation, prayer, repetition of mantra (hagia) and chanting (in the God-focused traditions)
- Kundalini Awakening: Shaktipat initiation (S’micha M’shefa/Haniha), which is the awakening of the Divine force that is resting in potential within us. This is known as the descent of Grace. It usually occurs through a living enlightened spiritual leader, but may occur spontaneously. Once the spiritual energy is activated, it begins to spontaneously move through our body, spiritualizing every cell, every aspect of the DNA, every chakra, every nadi (which are the channels of the subtle nervous system), every organ and every tissue, so that all consciousness becomes activated into the next evolutionary stage.
The Sevenfold Peace
- Peace With The Body: This includes choosing to take responsibility for your own personal health and to improve the ecology of your personal body just as you would care for the planet. Dr. Cousens recommends exercising aerobically at least three times per week for one-half hour, practicing deep breathing at least once a day with ten cycles of seven-count in and seven-count out deep breath, getting sufficient sleep and relaxation and drinking sufficient pure water.
- Peace With The Mind: Enhance your own inner peace by learning to meditate or pray, and do it on a daily basis. Enhance peace with the planetary mind by thinking positive thoughts and becoming a living-feeling prayer of peace, love, and compassion. Enhance peace with the cosmic mind by trying to begin each thought, word, and action with love, compassion and peace.
- Peace With The Family: Forgive everybody. Forgiveness ends the negative memory and dispels the energy of conflict. Forgiveness is the blessing of living peace. The power of becoming a feeling prayer of peace is that it allows us to activate the hologram of peace that exists somewhere in every person and in every family, tribe and culture.
- Peace With The Community: Make a point to volunteer or contribute to humanitarian causes and organizations. Check with any local peace center for a list of causes and ways to contribute. Develop your livelihood so that it supports or expresses your personal and planetary peace values. Start this one step at a time. It may take several years, so be patient and persistent.
- Peace With All Cultures: Participate in art, music, drama, or other cultural events that inspire and connect you with the eternal values of love, peace, beauty, truth, and the Divine in all. Make peace with your own cultural roots. Ask your parents or grandparents for stories about your cultural origins. Try to find and appreciate the flourishing of peace and joy in all cultures.
- Peace With The Ecology: Become conscious of the ways in which you participate in a global system that draws from natural resources, and recognize how Ego-driven desires for accumulation of material goods, power, wealth and status have led to an imbalanced distribution of these resources among the beings on this planet. Commit yourself to reflection on your present relationship to ecology, and then strive to ensure your personal material consumption habits as well as those of your community, your nation, and all of humanity reflect the highest intention to promote a more just relationship with the natural ecology and all beings on the Earth.
- Peace With The Divine: Find your own personal way to connect with the Divine every day. Allow yourself to express in the world as the living will and flow of the Divine.
On-site Student Residency
Many of our programs require an on-site student residency as part of the training. If your program does require a portion of your learning to take place on-site at the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Patagonia, Arizona, the following guidelines will apply to you during your stay.
Spiritual Community Life at The Tree of Life
Liberation Focused: The Tree of Life is first and foremost a spiritual community with a focus on enlightenment. We practice the Six Foundations and Sevenfold Peace as taught by Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, M.D. You may introduce yourself to or learn more about these teachings by reading Spiritual Nutrition and Creating Peace by Being Peace by Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, M.D. Tree of Life community members (which includes students and apprentices) are asked to continually embody the Culture of Life (a way of living that encourages harmony and balance) and to share it with the world by being a living example of what it means to live as a full human being on the planet.
Activate Healing: During your stay, you will be introduced to profound ways of healing of yourself and the world. In Hebrew this is called tikkun ha’nefesh (healing of self) and tikkun ha’olam (healing of the planet). A major teaching at the Tree of Life is that your service in the world is a crucial part of your spiritual path.
Mandatory Attendance: Group meditations, satsangs, and spiritual ceremonies at sunset form the central hub of our community life here. Attendance at these evening programs is required for students and apprentices to provide the holistic context for Tree of Life work and community life. Failure to attend evening programs regularly will result in expulsion from the program.
Your Spiritual Growth: Food is secondary to the spiritual emphasis here at the Tree of Life. We emphasize this only to make the point that if your interest in the Tree of Life is limited only to “raw food”, you will be unfulfilled here. If you are interested in a total lifestyle that supports your spiritual growth, then you will find all the support tools that provide a foundation for a spiritually fulfilled life on all levels. These include live-food nutrition, classes in Tri-Yoga and qigong, endless opportunities for selfless service, a spiritual community of like-minded people, holy silence, monthly authentic Native American inipi (sweat lodge), beautiful nature surroundings, clean air, and the teachings and grace of a liberated being.
Dietary & Lifestyle Expectations: We expect all students to adhere to a 100% vegan diet consisting of at least 80% live food during their time with us. We also have a strict drug-free policy with the exception of ceremonial wine during Shabbat. Adhering to these lifestyle requirements contributes positively to the energetic resonance of the Tree of Life community. It ensures that we are collectively walking our talk and living in integrity. Failure to uphold these dharmic conditions will result in dismissal from the Tree of Life Center and possible expulsion from the school.
Benefits: Community life offers many benefits. All meals at the Tree of Life Cafe are included in the cost of your on-site program. This is, quite frankly, some of the healthiest, most delicious food on the planet. Every meal is guaranteed 100% organic, vegan, live, and prepared with love in accordance with the principles outlined in Dr. Cousens’ books: Spiritual Nutrition, Conscious Eating, Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine, and There Is a Cure for Diabetes. Students and apprentices also have access to unlimited wheatgrass juice from our sprout-house (aside from our Spiritual Fasting Programs each year where wheatgrass is reserved for our fasting guests), as well as free access to our chlorine-free hot tubs, chlorine-free swimming pool, far-infrared sauna, sun decks, labyrinth, and spacious grounds. All students and apprentices have free access to Tri-yoga, qigong, and ecstatic dance classes, as well as the evening spiritual programs and monthly inipis (space allowing).
Housing: For long-term onsite residency programs, including apprenticeship programs, student housing is provided in our dormitory, which is adjacent to our sustainable veganic production garden and the Unity Room (yoga studio). You’ll need to bring your own bedding and toiletries. The dorms feature shared rooms with bunk-style bedding. Three bathrooms and showers are available for 24-hour use. A washer and dryer are provided for your convenience. The communal area has a refrigerator, sinks and counter space. All students are expected to contribute to the cleaning and upkeep of the dormitories. Weekly chores are designated to each occupant on a rotating basis. Chores are expected to be completed regularly and thoroughly.
Tree of Life Dharma (Etiquette)
- See the name of God in front of you at all times. Proverbs 16:8. “Keep your mind on God in every moment.” Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, M.D.
- “Be still know I Am God.” Essene Gospel of Peace, The Vision of Enoch and Psalm 46:10.
- Sh’ma Israel Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Ehad. Deuteronomy (Dvarim) 6:4. “God is the One and the Many.” Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, M.D.
- Teshuva: “Return to God and know the Self.” Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, M.D.
- Tikkun Ha Nefesh and Tikkun Ha Olam: “Participate in the healing and spiritual transformation of oneself and the world.” Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, M.D.
- Shalom: “Peace on all seven levels; peace with the body, mind, family, community, culture, ecology, and God.” Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, M.D., Sevenfold Peace
- “Earth is the Lord’s” Isaiah 6:3. “See and respect the Divine in all things living and inert – in all of creation.” Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, M.D.
- “Do not forsake the eternal for that which dieth in an hour.” Essene Teacher of Righteousness.
- Whatever God does is for the best – although we may not understand it. “All the teaching at the Tree helps you choose spiritual elevation by all your continual trials and tests through your faith, love, devotion, and intuitive understanding.” Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, M.D.
- “Love your neighbor as yourself” Leviticus 19:18
- “Do not gossip! Leshon hara (“a tongue of evil”) is a poison to you and actively harmful to the one to whom you direct the gossip. In the Kabbalah gossip is equal to murder. This includes speaking in undermining ways and to be in blame (Be Lame) consciousness. It is more powerful to speak benevolent Truth in a way that uplifts consciousness.” Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, M.D.
- “Living the Garden of Eden Diet which is an Organic, Vegan, 80-100% Live-Food, Drug Free Diet” Genesis 1:29-30 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” Leviticus (Shemini 8-10) The lord said to Aharon “’Do not drink wine or strong drink [any form of mind altering drug], thou, nor thy sons with thee, when you enter the tent of meeting, lest you die; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations.”
- “Receive the gifts of the Tree of Life Foundation so that you may share and uplift others with them.” Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, M.D.