WHAT IS THE LIVING INSIGHTS CENTER?

The Living Insights Center is “a universal religious and spiritual center” located in Clayton, Missouri. The Center honors and nurtures the beliefs of each individual, and promotes understanding and appreciation of all religions and spiritual paths. We offer altars, sanctuaries and teachers for as many religious and spiritual traditions as we can, as best we can. The Center is believed to be the closest thing to a museum of the world’s religions in the western hemisphere, but it’s really more a sanctuary for everyone.

The Living Insights Center in Clayton, MO

The Center welcomes each individual as a sacred being. We honor each person’s right to see Ultimate Reality in whatever way he or she chooses, we reach out to everyone with loving acceptance, and we strive to support each individual’s spiritual path in every way possible. Many people find their spiritual family and home here, and feel it’s one of the safest places they’ve ever been. The experiences people have here also lead many to say this is one of the most sacred places they’ve ever been.

Our Center points everyone to the one Source we all share, while also celebrating the diversity of humanity’s spiritual experiences. We believe spirituality should bring everyone together, rather than be a cause of division. God/Ultimate Reality is beyond human understanding, so none of us can claim to have a complete description of it, much less the only complete description.  Consequently, every religious or spiritual path should be respected (except where it causes harm).

We aspire to present every possible way to experience transcendent states of being and connect with the Ultimate Reality, whether it be called God, Brahman, Jehovah, Adonai, Allah, the Creator, the Source, the Great Spirit, Father Sky and Mother Earth, the Goddess, nirvana, enlightenment, or something else. We have functioning sanctuaries devoted to a comprehensive spectrum of religious/spiritual traditions, and we also present nontraditional spiritual experiences (including many involving sacred sound).

We offer spiritual experiences, information, insights, and other forms of support, and we offer both personal attention and a thriving community.  We combine aspects of a museum, a school, a sanctuary, and a community center.  In sum, we provide information for the mind, we invite people of all religions or spiritual paths to come together in fellowship, and most importantly we nurture each individual’s spiritual life.

The Center was founded in 2001 and has been in the same location ever since, a 90 year old converted home in suburban St. Louis.   It’s a tax-exempt charitable organization.

OUR MISSION AND MOTTO

OUR MISSION

We create understanding and appreciation
of the diversity of our world’s religious and spiritual traditions
as we honor and nurture the spiritual journey and beliefs of each individual.

OUR MOTTO

… one Source, many paths…
… many lamps, one Light…

THE FIRE, RISING FROM THE ASHES

The Center was devastated by an arson fire on October 8, 2019.  We are certain it was set intentionally by a troubled homeless man we’d taken care of for several years.  He left St. Louis shortly therafter.

The building’s interior, the entire rear addition, and their contents were destroyed or severely damaged.  As bad as it was, we quickly realized, quite sincerely, that the fire was an answer to prayer.  We’d been praying that all obstacles be removed which would prevent the Center from becoming the best center it can be in service to people, and the fire did that.

     First of all, our building was in great need of renovation, and we had no resources to cover that huge cost.  Our insurance took care of most of it.  The entire interior and most windows and doors have been replaced, and the rear addition and grounds are nearing completion as of this writing (July 2022).  Everything is new and improved.  The addition has been reconfigured so that now visitors will enter a foyer and my office will be a separate room, greatly improving the rear entry experience.  The small meditation sanctuary which was upstairs and beloved to many has been replaced with a much larger, far more beautiful and equally energetic sanctuary in the basement (the old Native Cultures room there has now been integrated into the Native room on the second floor).

     Secondly, we’d tried to have something for everyone at the Center and it had become far too cluttered – it was hard to see the individual “trees” because the “forest” was so thick.  The fire culled out the clutter, and we’re not going to allow the Center to become like that again.  We did lose a few of our particularly special items, but many were salvaged and most we couldn’t save have been replaced with equally good or in many cases significantly better items.  We had very good insurance, and also a number of remarkable objects have been donated in the last year.

     In sum, the building and our collections are far better than before the fire.  Brighter, updated, more spacious, quieter, with remarkable sacred objects you can connect with far more easily.  The energy and sacred presences are at least as powerful as in the past, and this will increase as the Center gradually returns to full operation.  We’re not pleased that it’s taking so long for us to reopen completely, but the delay has given us the time to be very intentional about what we display and where we place everything.  If you loved the old Center, we’re confident you’ll be extremely pleased with the improvements.  We hope to return to regular hours soon.

A few specifics:

     The statue of St. Therese was destroyed, but we’ve replaced it with an equally special antique statue it took a year to locate, and she’s definitely still with us.  She miraculously protected some items from the fire, and I love sharing those stories.

     We’ve not yet restarted the singing bowl sessions, but that’s coming.

     The fire also gave us an opportunity to evaluate whether we’d like to make any operational changes.  We no longer will sell anything, and we’ve stopped burning incense and candles.

     We do, of course, have a security system.

CENTER HOURS & PARKING

The Center is still recovering from our fire and is currently open only by appointment.  Please email us at family@livinginsights.com to schedule a visit.  We hope to return to regular hours sometime in the summer of 2022.

Parking:  There’s ample free parking in front of our building on Clayton Road.  Parking for seven cars may be available in our lot directly behind our building, but this isn’t always the case as the rear is still under construction, and we don’t yet have a rear entry into the building.  Also, the nearby Commerce Bank graciously allows us to use their parking lot when they’re closed.

TAX STATUS

Living Insights is a tax-exempt nonprofit organization, and donations to us are tax-deductible and deeply appreciated.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

No. Everyone is welcome, and we don’t have a formal membership.

No, except that we do charge for some of our events.  We are dependent upon donations, so always sincerely welcome them!

Yes, but they’ll be expected to act like they’re in a church. We’re not child-proofed.

It depends what this means. Like many “New Age” centers, we acknowledge that there is an ultimate reality no human description can capture, that no single religion can claim to be the only true path, and that each individual has a personal relationship with the source of our being. On the other hand, we honor all spiritual traditions as having the potential to connect people with ultimate reality, so we sincerely respect all ancient traditions that some New Age practitioners might reject as “old energy.” We recognize that religious bureaucracies and dogmas can be stifling, but we also believe that the mystical underpinnings of every tradition can take you to the final spiritual objective. Therefore, we are truly inclusive and universal.

To the best of our knowledge, no – at least not in the United States. There are other centers that honor all spiritual traditions, such as The Vedanta Society and Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship, but those centers nonetheless teach only one system of beliefs. By contrast, our Center strives to teach and support all belief systems. We believe spirituality should bring everyone together, rather than separate us. The fact that there apparently aren’t other centers like ours helps inspire us to keep going.

Although some of our programs and gatherings involve Reiki, Healing Touch, Pranic Healing, sound healing, and other modalities in which people are trained, our Center’s primary focus is on religious and spiritual knowledge and practices. Many of our visitors feel our programs are of great benefit spiritually, physically, and emotionally; in addition, hundreds of people have said they’ve received miraculous healings or other miracles from praying to St. Therese, the Little Flower, in our Christian sanctuary. Everyone is, however, encouraged to consult their physicians or other licensed healthcare practitioners regarding any health condition.
Absolutely not. We celebrate the diversity of humanity’s spiritual beliefs and experiences, and we honor each individual’s right to have his or her own views. We’ll be happy to provide information about all spiritual traditions, if you wish, but we’ll never pressure you to change your beliefs.
All that’s necessary is to act the way you would in any place of worship (be respectful, don’t touch icons without asking, and so forth). We don’t have any special rules, except that we ask everyone to take their shoes off when they enter the building. We can teach you a bit about the rituals of the various traditions, but you don’t need to practice them.
There are several reasons. First of all, it makes it easier to keep the Center clean. Second, it’s the practice in some of the traditions that are presented at the Center – particularly Hinduism and Buddhism. Third, it’s a simple way of baring yourself to God or the universe, a symbol of dropping your ego. When someone says, “But I have holes in my socks,” I reply, “God doesn’t care, and neither do we.”
Certainly. Just let us know, and we’ll provide cloth coverings for your shoes.
That’s true. To those who are uncomfortable with this, I like to point out that if St. Therese is happy being here, we hope everyone will be.
Living Insights was founded by Jack Sisk, a former corporate health attorney, in response to a calling he received. The Center opened in early 2001.

Yes, Living Insights is a tax-exempt nonprofit organization. As a result, all donations to Living Insights may be tax-deductible.

Living Insights is a nonprofit organization and charity, so it’s essentially owned by everyone – including you. Jack continues to run the Center on a daily basis, and the Center is overseen by a Board of Directors (see list below).
Jack and his brothers own it.  They rent it to Living Insights at a break-even rate that’s well below the market rate.  We charge just enough to cover our taxes, insurance and other expenses.
The Center receives some income from classes and other events and services, but primarily is dependent upon donations from members of our community. Jack has made donations when necessary to keep the Center open. The Center’s financial condition always is challenging.

The mountains represent the physical plane difficulties all of us must endure, the obstacles we must overcome to reach our spiritual goals. The sun represents God, known by many names. The rays of the sun represent all of the ways one can experience and connect with God, not only symbolizing the major religious traditions, but also reflecting the fact that each of us has our own unique way. The ray that comes down in front of the mountains towards you is your own personal way. The rays also can be seen as representing each of us, symbolizing that each of us is an embodiment of God. Finally, the sun and its rays also convey the nature of our Center – we strive to clearly radiate God’s presence, display every possible way to experience that presence, and spiritually energize and nurture people.

THE CENTER'S STAFF

Jack Sisk is the Center’s founder and director. He possesses a broad knowledge of religious traditions and spiritual paths. He’s been a Hindu since the age of 14, and is very active at The Hindu Temple of St. Louis. He represents the Temple on the Cabinet of The Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis, and he’s also the first and only Hindu on the Board of that organization, where he also serves as Vice President and is scheduled to serve as President from 2023 to 2025.  He  is unequivocally committed to the principle that everyone is entitled to relate to God/Reality in his or her own way. He’s also a certified sound healer and a Reiki master. A native to St. Louis, he was born in 1950. After graduation from John Burroughs High School he attended Yale, graduating in 1972. He then worked a year for Senator Eagleton before attending the George Washington University National Law Center. After graduating, he moved back to St. Louis to practice corporate/health law from 1977 through 2000. His resume includes General Counsel for Barnes Hospital and Associate General Counsel for BJC Health System. He was instrumental in creating BJC and also in the creation of BJC’s hospice house, Evelyn’s House. He left the practice of law in December of 2000 to open the Living Insights Center, which is a calling and a passion.  He’s at the Center as much as possible, and is never paid to do so. 

THE CENTER'S BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The Center is overseen by a Board of Directors.  The members have been drawn from a wide array of backgrounds, and bring us considerable talent, knowledge and commitment.  The Directors, listed in order of their time with the organization, are:

  • Jack Sisk. See above.
  • David Oughton, Ph.D.  David has been a leader of local interfaith activities for decades, including serving on the Board of The Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis for many years and currently, and serving as that organization’s President from 2019 to 2021.  He taught world religions for many years at the secondary and college levels, most recently at St. Louis University, from which he recently retired.  He’s a Roman Catholic.
  • Mary Pedersen. Mary served on the Board of The Interfaith Partnership/Faith Beyond Walls, has served as that organization’s Executive Director on an interim basis, is very active in interfaith activities and community service, and is a very active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Jim Lane. Jim has been active at the Center for many years, and is a licensed psychologist.
  • Ted Allen, D.C., a long-time supporter of the Center who’s now serving on our Board for a second time.
  • Maryanne Angliongto. Maryanne teaches astronomy and physics at Jefferson College, and is in that College’s administration.  Her spiritual background is diverse.
  • Michael Loebner. Michael is an entrepreneur in the financial industry and is our Kabbalah teacher.
  • Chris Clarke (“Moinuddin”).  Moinuddin is a highly credentialed Sufi teacher (Sufism is the mystical branch of Islam).  He’s also studied Hinduism, Buddhism, mystical Christianity, and Native American spirituality. He recently retired from a long and prominent career in the Veterans Administration.
 

WE SINCERELY THANK EVERYONE WHO SUPPORTS THE CENTER, WHETHER FINANCIALLY OR OTHERWISE!