This article is part of a longer, ongoing section called The Faith Project. Click here to get to the beginning.
Alta Turoff has prayed for years in her own, quiet way. And she’s now found a faith group open to people of all different religions, without the structure of organized religions.
“When I go to this group, it’s almost as though it’s a crystallization of something I already believe,” she said. “It’s a flow of energy and faith that’s truly meant to be. It’s spirituality, more an inside thing than an outside.”
She sits with a handful of other people in a small room in the West End of Hartford. They're all wearing comfortable clothing, sitting cross-legged on the carpet. The temperature in the room is warm, hot almost. But the mood is relaxed. Alta and the others are there simple to talk and learn about faith.
Guiding the discussion is Tapasvi Ji. He's a healer from India who teaches a workshop in Connecticut once a week. He spends the rest of his time in New York, where many people claim he's cured them of blindness and diseases.
"When I come to see Tapasvi," she said, "it strikes me how similar we all are. That’s what I see the most. We really are one, we express it differently perhaps, but we are all one."
What she and others have found there is healing. Not on the level Tapasvi is said to have offered others physically, but rather on a spiritual level.
"Faith has given me a balance, a steadiness. It’s that connection. It’s a sense of belonging to something more than just what's concrete."
What sets this workshop apart from a service or mass is that it's a conversation about beliefs under the guide of a teacher. Alta said Tapasvi helps her and others discover what's inside of them. She said he teaches them not what to see, but how to see, she said.
"If we were to say that God is within, there’s something about this flow of energy and the training of the mind to understand that and experience it. It somehow, in someway, brings me closer to a clarity," she said.
And she said that vision is something she and others can take this spirituality and this experience and use it to help others.
"If you train your mind, we all have the capability of being able to not only heal ourselves but heal one another. I believe on a daily basis we do that through words, when we console a friend. We do it through support of a stranger by just helping them," she said.
And that, she said, is probably the most powerful way one can express his or her own spirituality.
"It’s unbelievably profound. It’s encouraging to know that it’s attainable, and to see how your spirituality can help changes the lives of others for the better."