There is a deep longing in us for greater fulfillment, aliveness, authenticity, and love. We frantically seek to fulfill this longing outside ourselves. Yet its fulfillment lies deep within—the hidden treasure or divine Self.
This process of finding the hidden treasure (the pearl of great price) has taken many forms throughout the ages in the spiritual and wisdom traditions. It involves bringing to awareness those ego defenses, mental programming, fixed beliefs, and energetic blocks that hide the true Self.
Such a process requires courage, commitment, and discipline. The awareness of our illusions and the consciousness of our divine Self creates personal and transpersonal transformation. Every part of you is invited to open up to the Light within. The opening brings healing and leads us to the treasure.
- It’s a physical process.
- It’s an energetic process
- It’s a psychological process.
- It’s a spiritual process.
The energy generated in group work can be harnessed to heal and transform each participant in a way that far exceeds individual work. One person’s process ignites something in another student which may never have surfaced otherwise.
Group synergy creates “magical” moments that defy description and take us beyond the ordinary into the extraordinary.
Feedback and loving support from others can bring an individual to great self awareness and the freedom to be his or her true self. Throughout the course and after graduation, students are encouraged where possible to meet on their own, as a way to support each other in their ongoing personal and spiritual development. Deep friendships are often formed that continue well after graduation. Those graduates who want to deepen their spiritual life further may join the Hidden Treasure Sangha.
To learn more about this program, please join us for one of the information sessions this summer on Tuesday, July 18th or Monday, August 28th. You will have an opportunity to meet the teachers, former students, and potential new classmates. Read more about these informational evenings here.
First Year — Self Understanding
The first year centers on self-understanding and the development of a supportive interactive environment. Students identify and work with parts of themselves such as the idealized self image, shadow, inner critic, and inner child. They learn how to transform emotions of fear, anger, and shame.
Nine different personality types are examined, named, and more easily navigated with the help of Enneagram typology. Learning this system offers insights about our core motivations, fears, strengths, and common pitfalls.
Students are taught how to look within for direction and guidance and take note of their dreams as a source for insights.
The power of healing on an energetic level is not overlooked. Students become familiar with their own and others’ energy fields and connect with expanded states of consciousness.
Meditation and visualizations connect participants with their essential self—the divine within—and are interwoven throughout the weekends.
Students establish a loving, supportive, and trusting environment for each other. This serves as a basis for helping them to accurately see themselves and the world around them.
Second Year — Softening Your Character Defense Structures
Character structures emerge developmentally in infancy and early childhood as a result of the psychosocial and spiritual milieu the child experiences. In the shelter of the group, these childhood wounds are transformed into material for inner healing and personal growth.
Through exercises and discussion, students witness these structures in themselves and others. They experience what each structure looks like, how it feels to inhabit it, and what it’s like to be around a person exhibiting the structure. As a result, students find it easier to distinguish their true selves from their structures. This enables them to have more authentic interactions with themselves and others, thus leading to a more fulfilling life.
Students strengthen their true, core selves through meditation, visualizations, and grounding exercises.
The second year culminates in a one-day, sunrise to sunset, vision quest which is processed and integrated the following day.
Third Year — Your True Self in the World
During the third year, students build on the teachings of the first two years and bring more of their true selves into the world. They also work with any life issues that still need healing.
Through a variety of exercises, they begin to discern their life purpose. This, along with input and support from classmates, helps each student to develop a project outside the weekend sessions, which will move them into greater alignment with their true self. This might take the form of finding a career that better suits them, fulfilling a life-long desire, delving more deeply into self-understanding, or further developing their spiritual lives.
Students assist at three or more of the first- and second-year classes as a way to deepen their own process and to learn the value of service.
Cost is $325 per weekend ($1,625 per year). This includes tuition, overnight accommodations, breakfasts, and Saturday dinner. People usually pay each weekend but can make arrangements to pay on a monthly basis. Students will stay in a private room in the Inner Light Lodge.
Several information sessions are given during the summer months for prospective students who want to meet the teachers and learn more about the Hidden Treasure program. The dates for these sessions are TBD. You can also make an individual appointment with Alice McDowell in person or by phone.
Those who are quite certain they would like to participate in the program can sign up for an introductory day, which is given on either the second or third Saturday of September from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is $85 and includes lunch. A final commitment to the program does not need to be made until after the introductory day.
The next HT Introductory Day will be Saturday, September 16, 2017 from 9:30 am to 5 pm. This day is for prospective students who are either committed or mostly committed to doing the program.
The day will consist of an opening meditation, getting acquainted exercises, a teaching on the idealized self image and the shadow, and an introduction to energy work. Cost for the day is $85, which includes lunch. You must register prior to the day by sending $40 to 209 Blake Hill Rd. Van Etten, NY 14889. Checks can be made out to the Hidden Treasure Program.
The Hidden Treasure Program is held the Inner Light Lodge.
Class of 2020 – 1st Year
Introduction—Saturday, September 16, 9:30 a.m. — 5 p.m. (includes lunch)
October 21-22—The Healing Connection/Enneagram
December 9-10—Obstacles to Growth
January 27-28—Inner Critic
March 24-25—Inner Child
May 19-20—Schizoid Defense
Class of 2019 — 2nd Year
September 9-10—Oral Defense
November 11-12—Masochistic Defense
January 6-7—Psychopathic Defense
March 3-4—Rigid Defense
May 3 at 7:30 p.m. Thursday to Sunday May 6 at 2 p.m.—Vision Quest
Class of 2018 — 3rd Year
August 26-27—Life Purpose/Projects
February 3-4—Topics vary depending on individual needs
April 14-15—Topics vary/Project Reports
June 3, Sunday at 3:30 p.m.—Graduation
Retreat—Thursday, March 15 (7:30 p.m.) – Sunday, March 18 (3:00 p.m.)
2017/2018 By Date:
August 26-27—3rd Year
September 9-10—2nd Year
October 21-22—1st Year
November 11-12—2nd Year
December 9-10—1st Year
January 6-7—2nd Year
January 27-28—1st Year
February 3-4—3rd Year
March 3-4—2nd Year
March 24-25—1st Year
April 14-15—3rd Year
May 3-6—2nd Year
May 19-20—1st Year
Alice McDowell, Ph.D., director of the Hidden Treasure program, is a counselor in private practice, retreat guide, and co-founder of Light on the Hill Retreat Center. Formerly a professor of religious studies at Ithaca College for 18 years, she now facilitates groups devoted to inner work.
She has trained with healers, humanist and transpersonal psychologists, Sufi and Buddhist teachers, and Christian contemplatives, and has guided people in their personal and spiritual journeys for over 30 years. She draws upon her diverse training and life experience to help others awaken to their true selves, their divinity within.
Listen to an interview with Alice on the WRFI radio program, The Made of Clay Report, with Eric Clay, M.Div., Ph.D., host of the program and founder of Shared Journeys.
Julie Schnepel, Ph.D. (in music), is a Hidden Treasure graduate, and she has been teaching in the program since 2006. She holds graduate degrees in music, has taught music history at Ithaca College, and heads the U.S. office of an international database of music literature at Cornell University. She also worked for many years as the Administrative Assistant at Light on the Hill. Her experience with the Hidden Treasure program has profoundly affected all areas of her life and has deepened her connections with her family, friends, and colleagues.
Elisa Sciscioli, M.A Transpersonal Psychology, is a Hidden Treasure graduate. She began working with Alice while finishing degrees in music education and vocal performance in 2002. Elisa is the facilitator and founder of the Joy of Group Singing program, designed to help people connect more deeply with themselves and others while learning simple multicultural songs and chants. She offers integrative voice sessions for adults and teenagers. Elisa is the lead singer and songwriter for the band Solstice. Many of her song lyrics have been influenced by the teachings of Hidden Treasure.
Jamie Yaman, B.A. is a Hidden Treasure graduate. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and works with his family’s real estate company in the Cortland area as an agent and manager. He is a performing musician and an active member of his community. Attending leadership conferences, personal development seminars, and retreats has been a primary focus for his growth. He has also gained spiritual and psychological insights through his travels, especially to India. His experience with the Hidden Treasure program has deeply influenced him, and through this program he has experienced profound growth in his relationship with others, as well as himself.
Joe Iadanza is a Hidden Treasure graduate. He is a registered Interfaith Minister with the ULC, and an Interfaith Minister-in-training, with a focus in Spiritual Counseling, via the Sanctuary of Peace and Harmony based in Huntington, NY. He is a Reiki Master-Teacher certified hands-on healer in the Usui tradition, and he recently attained his 200-RYT Yoga Teacher Certification. In 2013, he founded The Living Room Studio, now in Glen Cove, NY, which provides sacred space to individuals and small groups looking to deepen their spiritual growth through meditation, retreat, study, and creative expression. Joe has been profoundly changed over the last ten years through his study of spiritual texts – especially A Course in Miracles – which he teaches at The Living Room.
Sangha is a Sanskrit word that means “spiritual community”, wherein the members engage in spiritual practices and support each other on their spiritual journeys. Members of this Sangha must be graduates of the Hidden Treasure Program. The emphasis is on the spiritual dimension of our being rather than the psychological, and the teachings and discussion will focus on spirituality as it is lived in each of us. The psychological dimension of our being is part of this, but it is examined from the perspective of what the soul is trying to express or what spiritual lessons are to be learned as a result of situations occurring in one’s life.
HT Sangha gatherings take place in two locations throughout the year:
- Light on the Hill—209 Blake Hill Rd., Van Etten
- The Quaker Meetinghouse—120 3rd St. (corner of Madison and 3rd), Ithaca
Joining the Sangha is a Commitment
HT Sangha members are expected to engage in daily meditation/prayer. Members’ daily practice, as well as attendance at retreats, will help deepen and enrich the Sangha discussions. All members of the HT Sangha are asked to commit to attend:
- Four one-day programs (9:30 a.m.—2:30 p.m.) throughout the year. The one-day programs begin with a long meditation and reading, followed by discussion. Sangha members will bring their lunches, eat together and afterwards share and ask questions about their spiritual lives and the challenges they face. Meetings take place at the Quaker meetinghouse in Fall & Spring, and at Light on the Hill in the Winter & Summer.
- Ten monthly Sangha gatherings (5:45-6:45 p.m.) at the Quaker Meetinghouse. The gatherings take place on the 4th Thursday of each month. (We do not meet in November or December due to the winter holidays.) Monthly gatherings include a long meditation, reading or exercise (led by a HY graduate), and discussion.
- At least one spiritual retreat during the year (of your choosing). Members are encouraged to attend the three-day Hidden Treasure graduate retreat in March.
The cost for the year is $250. This can be paid in September or over several months. The cost includes rental space for both Inner Light Lodge and the Quaker Meetinghouse.
2017-2018 Sangha Calendar
One-Day Meetings (9:30 a.m. — 2:30 p.m.)
September 23, 2017 — at the Quaker Meetinghouse in Ithaca
December 16, 2017 — at Inner Light Lodge, Light on the Hill
April 7, 2018 — at the Quaker Meetinghouse in Ithaca
June 23, 2018 — at Light on the Hill
Meditation Meetings in Ithaca (5:45 — 6:45 p.m.)
September 28, 2017
October 26, 2017
January 25, 2018
February 22, 2018
March 22, 2018
April 26, 2018
May 24, 2018
June 28, 2018
2018 Hidden Treasure Graduate Retreat
Thursday, March 15 (7:30 p.m.) – Sunday, March 18 (3:00 p.m.)
Even though I’m not a person who likes to speak a lot Jacqueline Bonner Read more