Fall 2019 Seminar

Sofia's Fall Seminar

Connect, Restore & Transform

About this year’s seminar

Sofia University is excited to announce the theme for the Fall 2019 Seminar: “Embracing Gratefulness in Times of Joy and Adversity”.

“If the only prayer you say in your whole life is ‘thank you’, that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart

Meister Eckhart reminds us of the power of gratitude.  Gratitude evokes presence, beauty and appreciation. When we are grateful we see all of life as a gift filled with opportunity.  Opening our hearts to gratefulness gives us a chance to be fully alive and to celebrate the precious gift of life.

When we choose gratefulness as a response to daily living, it opens us to healing and transformation, influencing our response and attitudes in life.  Coming from a place of gratitude supports us during difficult times.  We learn to pause and reflect on gratefulness in order to center and find balance and refuge.

In this seminar, we will explore the practice of gratitude, the science behind the practice, and how this simple tool of prayer and meditation can take us on an expansive journey from the personal to the transpersonal, each and every day.

Come to the seminar, meet your classmates, faculty, and staff who contribute to the Sofia University community and its ideals.  Experience what makes Sofia a unique place, where the epistemologies of our hearts and intellect are embraced, embodied, and held with equal importance.

Gratitude as a Gateway to Transpersonal Development

Gratitude is a practice cultivated by mystics and seekers to create a deeper connection with life. It has the potential to open the doorway to transcendence and contribute to the greater world culture. In this experiential workshop we will deepen our understanding of gratitude and explore how it can inform our lives and our communities. We will learn about the structural and theoretical foundations of gratitude as a psycho-social experience that enhances relationships. By the end of the workshop you will have both a theoretical perspective as well as a somatic sense of the power of gratitude.


John Elfers, Ph.D.  – Seminar Speaker and Sofia University Adjunct Faculty

John Elfers is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a credentialed teacher and school administrator in California. He holds a doctorate in transpersonal psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (now Sofia University). For 25 years he worked with county offices of education conducting professional development in the areas of mental health, adolescent reproductive health, drug prevention, and community building. He co-developed the Positively Speaking program for the California Department of Education, training people living with HIV/AIDS as presenters in the classroom. His research interests include transcendent sexual experiences, mystical experience, gratitude, adolescent emotional development and spirituality, mental health, and meditation. He is the author of The Spectrum of Gratitude Experience with (Palgrave, 2016) Patty Hlava.



Begins: September 23, 2019 at 2 pm PST

Ends: September 28, 2019 at 1 pm PST

Coaching Portion Ends: September 28, 2019 at 3 pm PST 


Vallombrosa Retreat Center, Menlo Park, California.