Founded by Joti Royster in 2001 in the front half of her home in Southborough, today Sacred Spaces offers evening classes, day mindfulness groups, meditation circles and more. The teachings offered are from Joti’s own practice which is based on lovingkindness, meditation and mindfulness or present moment awareness. The teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha or “Awakened One,” have become increasingly relevant and available in our post-modern western lives. The directness, simplicity and time-proven effectiveness of basic Buddhist practices are apparent in the widespread appearance of meditation and mindfulness offerings in businesses, hospitals, senior centers, schools and universities.
Current teachers represented at Sacred Spaces include Buddhist monks and nuns (Pema Chodron, Thich Nhat Hanh, HH Dalai Lama, Bhante Gunaratana, Bikkhu Bodhi), lay Buddhist teachers (Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg), and other respected current teachers (Adyashanti, Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie and more).
I opened Sacred Spaces in 2001 wanting to live a more fully alive, aware and “sane” lifestyle, drawing together an informal community of like minded others, of friends.
Sacred Space is what we share when we meet together. Here we sit together, individually or in groups, to know ourselves and each other in a more genuine way. Words like kindness, goodness, truth, joy, freedom, love, consciousness, reality, creativity, flow, life, God, Source, awareness, peace, Spirit, Self, happiness — all point the same direction, to who we really and most naturally are.
I lived in tribal cultures in India and Africa as a child and this early connection with indigenous people was a strong influence and grounding. It drew me to spend time with native people here in North America, staying on reservations as a young adult.
My greatest teacher is an undeniable, unconditional, ever-present knowing. We could call it a heart-knowing or a body-knowing (because it is non-verbal, or pre-verbal). It is deeper than even that and we all have it. It is a living Presence, that is both who we are and yet much more. Although it is sometimes subtle, it is endlessly present. It is awake, and often best known in stillness and in nature. And so I might also say that the natural world, is a principal teacher.
My practice and work these days is principally founded in the wisdom teaching of the Buddha, drawing from many of the long-standing teachers of Buddhism in the West such as Pema Chodron, Thich Nhat Hanh, HH the Dalai Lama, Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg. We also include other current and traditional teachers such as : Ramana Maharshi, Eckhart Tolle, Adyashanti, Byron Katie, and Gangaji.
Joti’s credentials include a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, MBA, Certified Holistic Health Counselor, Transformational Counseling Degree, and Certified Intuitive Healer from the Stillpoint School of Advanced Energy Healing.
Having practiced and studied in both the Theravada and Vajrayana Buddhist lineages, her most recent studies have been through the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies where she completed a one-year practice and study intensive in 2013. She also recently completed a year-long training with Venerable Khenpo Lama Migmar Tseten, Buddhist Chaplain at Harvard University.
Joti’s work is rooted in decades of spiritual practice and study in Christian, Buddhist, Native American, Advaitic Hindu and Nondual traditions. Her university work emphasized Jungian psychology. She spent much of the 1980’s and 1990’s studying and practicing breath and body integration work, transpersonal counseling, hands on healing (reiki), meditation practices and yoga.
Joti has spoken regularly at conferences, area churches and for community organizations. She was an invited participant in Harvard University Divinity School’s Women Healing Women Symposium. Joti has taught through Framingham State University and has authored a number of articles for Body Mind Spirit, Sacred Pathways Magazine. She wrote the Spiritual Health column for the MetroWest Daily News, Community Newspaper Corporation.
Up until recently Joti was known by her birth name, Judy. In August, 2013 she was offered the spiritual name of Joti (with the meaning of “light”) by Ayya Medhanandi, Bikhhuni (Pali for Nun) Elder and Abess of Sati Saraniya Hermitage in Perth Ontario.
Today, she deepens her own study and practice at Temple Forest Monastery in Temple, NH. She continues meeting with friends in Boston’s MetroWest each week through meditation and dharma events and individual meetings.
We come to know ourselves as the source of love.
And so our happiness is in giving.
And our peace comes from within. -Joti