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Q. WHAT IS THE ABSOLUTE MINIMUM REQUIRED TO ARRANGE AN INTERSPIRITUAL MEDITATION & DIALOGUE?
1. One other person.
2. Sit with them in silent meditation for a few minutes. Breathe – be conscious of your breathing.
3. Bring two or more high-level texts from different traditions that around a particular topic e.g. ‘love’ that point to the Oneness beyond the diverse traditions. To start see http://universalistspirit.wordpress.com/about/mission-and-vision/ for wonderful texts about love.
4. Read them aloud to each other.
5. Share insights.
6. Take tea or break bread together
7. Take the inspiration and do something good for other people.
How do you know if you are doing it right? There will be one or more of the following; lots of insights, perhaps astonishment, joy, laughter, perhaps some tears and an increased desire to serve others.
Suggested breath-mantra for this coming week ;
On the in-breath; “I rest…
On the out-breath; “….in the presence of the Whole”
This week I have started to look at how three sources speak to us about themes within inter spirituality, particularly that of ‘presence’.
QUESTION: Do each contain ’keys ’to insight to be gained from within the others?
1 Abraham Joshua Heschel, from Chapter 5 of his book ‘Who is Man?’;
In his great vision Isaiah perceives the voice of the seraphim even before he hears the voice of the Lord. What is it that the seraphim reveal? “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.”
Holy, holy, holy — indicate the transcendence and distance of God. The whole earth is full of His glory — the immanence or presence of God. The outwardness of the world communicates something of the indwelling greatness of God.
The glory is neither an aesthetic nor physical quality. It is sensed in grandeur, but it is more than grandeur. It is a presence or the effulgence of a presence.
The whole earth is full of His glory, but we do not perceive it; it is within our reach but beyond our grasp. And still it is not entirely unknown to us.
In English the phrase that a person has “a presence” is hard to define. There are people whose being here and now is felt, even though they do not display themselves in action and speech. They have a “presence.” … Of a person whose outwardness communicates something of his indwelling power or greatness, whose soul is radiant and conveys itself without words, we say he has presence.
Standing face to face with the world, we often sense a presence which surpasses our ability to comprehend. The world is too much with us. It is crammed with marvel. There is a glory, an aura, that lies about all beings, a spiritual setting of reality.
To the religious man it is as if things stood with their backs to him, their faces turned to God, as if the glory of things consisted in their being an object of divine care.
Being is both presence and absence. God had to conceal His presence in order to bring the world into being. He had to make His absence possible in order to make room for the world’s presence. Coming into being brought along denial and defiance, absence, oblivion and resistance.
From Eckhart Tolle; If you have a copy of The Power of Now why not re-read Chapter 5 – if not here are some of the key statements by Tolle;
…..we can’t think about presence. The mind can’t understand presence – understanding presence is being present.
When we are in the state of presence we are free of thought. Being present is also to be in a state of alertness.
Presence is like waiting (RP To ‘wait upon the good pleasure of’)
( RP To be present of course is to be in the now)
Brief moments of presence = nomind, satori.
Listening really listening is to experience beauty but behind external forms there is the ineffable.
This reminds me (RP) of this statement by T S Eliot ‘Every experience is a paradox in that it means to be absolute, and yet is relative; in that it somehow always goes beyond itself and yet never escapes itself.’ – T S Eliot
Tolle says Could it be that this nameless essence and your presence are one and the same? Would it be there without your presence? Go deeply into it. Find out for yourself.
When you become conscious of Being, what is really happening is that Being becomes
conscious of itself. When Being becomes conscious of itself – that’s presence. Since Being, Consciousness, and Life are synonymous, we could say that presence means consciousness becoming conscious of itself, or life attaining self-consciousness.
When consciousness frees itself from its identification with physical and mental forms, it becomes what we may call pure or enlightened consciousness, or presence.
what is stillness other than presence, consciousness freed from thought forms?
Don’t get attached to any one word. You can substitute “Christ” for presence, if that is more meaningful to you. Christ is your Godessence or the Self, as it is sometimes called in the East. The only difference between Christ and presence is that Christ refers to your indwelling divinity regardless of whether you are conscious of it or not, whereas presence means your awakened divinity or God-essence.
Jesus attempted to convey directly, not through discursive thought, the meaning
of presence, of self-realization. He had gone beyond the consciousness dimension governed by time, into the realm of the timeless. The dimension of eternity had come into this world.
Eternity, of course, does not mean endless time, but no time.
God said: “I AM THAT I AM.” No time here, just presence.The “second coming” of Christ is a transformation of human consciousness, a shift from time to presence, from thinking to pure consciousness,
You will soon realize that there is no “mine” or “yours” in presence. Presence is one.
From Baha’i Teachings -The Hidden Words by
26. O MY FRIEND IN WORD!
Ponder awhile. Hast thou ever heard that friend and foe should abide in one heart? Cast out then the stranger, that the Friend may enter His home.
27. O SON OF DUST!
All that is in heaven and earth I have ordained for thee, except the human heart, which I have made the habitation of My beauty and glory; yet thou didst give My home and dwelling to another than Me; and whenever the manifestation of My holiness sought His own abode, a stranger found He there, and, homeless, hastened unto the sanctuary of the Beloved. Notwithstanding I have concealed thy secret and desired not thy shame.
And also from from The Hidden Words in Arabic (no 13) – Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting.
NB Don’t forget Tim Freke is organizing a monthly online event – see HERE Talk to Annie-Leigh if you are interested and if you are interested in a one day Mystery Experience with Tim in Brighton.
To discover the other inspirational texts, questions & answers you’ll have to come on Wednesday! Hoping to see you!
Namaste and All good wishes,
My preferred meaning for ‘namaste’ – “I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One.”
What is interspirituality?
Inter-spirituality is “the shared mystic heart beating in the center of the world’s deepest spiritual traditions.”
Inter-spirituality is; ‘…the sharing of ultimate experiences across traditions.’ WT p26 The Mystic Heart
“Humanity stands at a crossroads between horror and hope. In choosing hope, we must seed a new consciousness, a radically fresh approach to life drawing its inspiration from perennial spiritual and moral insights, intuition and experience.
We call this new awareness Interspiritual, implying not the homogenization of religion, but
the recovering of the shared mystic heart beating in the center of the world’s deepest spiritual traditions.” -
One Garden groups
We meet together as agnostics,Sufis, secularists, Christians, Baha’is etc – seeking the way forward toward peace as the outcome of realizing oneness – interspirituality is the next stage for interfaith.
We are inspired and learn from Wayne Teasdale, as the supreme map-maker of the ‘interspiritual territory’, along with Eckhart Tolle, Ken Wilber & Aldous Huxley. The One Garden is pointed to by teachers from within 7 of the world’s great traditions – to help live the interspiritual life, centered on Oneness, as a way to personal and global peace.
Cuttings the Newsletter of the One Garden group for 2nd July 2014
To contact Roger email;
onesummit AT gmail DOT com
PLEASE LINK UP WITH US ON MeetUp: http://www.meetup.com/One-Garden-Oneness-beyond-diversity/
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Originally posted on8th May 2012 but the quotations are eternal;
Originally posted on Interrupting the Silence:
Today, May 8, is the Feast of St. Julian of Norwich. When Julian was thirty years old she became gravely ill and was given last rites. On the seventh day of her illness, all pain left her, and she had a series of fifteen vision of our Lord’s passion. She recorded these in a book entitled Revelations of Divine Love or as Julian called it, Showings. The following quotations are taken from her writings:
I saw that [our Lord] is to us everything which is good and comforting for our help. He is our clothing, who wraps and enfolds us for love, embraces us and shelters us, surrounds us for his love, which is so tender that he may never desert us. And so in this sight I saw that he is everything which is good, as I understand.
And in this he showed me something small, no…
View original 435 more words
I have appreciated greatly the One Garden group’s dialogue and inspiration generated around insights, the aha moments, satori etc. and I am wondering if you remember where you were, not when President Kennedy was assassinated or the Twin Towers were attacked but when you had a particular ‘aha’ moment.
Was it when you stood in the prow of a speeding boat like Kate Winslet in Titanic? Or in bed? Or in front of a beautiful vista? I better not extend the similes this is starting to sound like a Mills & Boon bodice-ripper! But first a word about intellect being part of spirituality.
INTELLECTUALITY IS (part of) SPIRITUALITY: There is a lot of anti-intellectualism about – like flu in winter! But for at least one of our 7 spiritual traditions, The Baha’i Faith, the intellect is seen as part of our spiritual makeup. This is a subject for another time but I do want to share one extract;
All blessings are divine in origin, but none can be compared with this power of intellectual investigation and research, which is an eternal gift producing fruits of unending delight. Man is ever partaking of these fruits. All other blessings are temporary; this is an everlasting possession. Even sovereignty has its limitations and overthrow; this is a kingship and dominion which none may usurp or destroy. – PUP 50 (RP Written in around 1910 I am sure the intention was not sexist but meant ‘human’)
Pow! – imagine that you take to joy of your ‘aha moments’ and intellectual investigation and research with you into eternity – the writer suggests that this treasure is greater than being a sovereign.
ONE OF MY ‘AHA’ MOMENTS – AT TALKIN TARN IN CUMBRIA:
For my ‘aha moment recalled’ I re-visited a subject necessary when I wrote my thesis namely ‘What is soul?’ If you want to see how challenging this apparently simple question is visit the WikiPedia page on ‘Soul’! – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul
I found I got most help from Baha’i teachings. I would like to correlate what I got from Baha’i with other major traditions – so if you want to do some research in one or several of the other traditions please send me the results of your investigation.
The passage that gave me the most help doesn’t amount to scripture but if it is an accurate report it provides a great insight. So great was the impact when I discovered this passage about 20 years ago that not only did I yell something like ‘Eureka’ I can remember the exact spot of the exact place when I first read the passage – it was Talkin Tarn Country Park in Cumbria (see photo). I was sitting on a bench in front of the trees – Marion was a little way away.
THE PASSAGE THAT GAVE ME AN ‘AHA’ MOMENT ABOUT THE SINGLENESS OF BODY, MIND & SPIRIT
t (Human Reality) is the same reality which is given different names, according to the different conditions wherein it becomes manifest.
Because of its attachment to matter and the phenomenal world, when it governs the physical functions of the body, it is called the human soul.
When it manifests itself as the thinker, the comprehender, it is called the mind.
And when it soars into the atmosphere of God, and travels in the spiritual world, it becomes designated as spirit. – Star of the West 7.19 (March 1917):190
At one level I take the soul to be ‘human spirit individuated as a person’, as in ‘several souls were saved by the lifeboat crew’.
But from the above passage, and from indications on the WikiPedia page, the soul is more a particular activity of being human – as the will particularly in regard to ‘governor of the body’. The singleness of being human or ‘human reality’ manifests as three roles or activities of which one is our will;
1) The soul as will governs our body and our interactions with the physical world. The same human reality that manifests itself as soul, also manifests as
2) mind when engaged in thinking and
3) ‘spirit’ when soaring in ‘the atmosphere of God’ and ‘travelling’ in the spiritual world.
For those who see themselves as inter-spiritual the three in this ‘three-in-one’ incorporates
1) being engaged in thought or contemplation (mind),
2) turning to God/The Whole/Mystery with mind quietened (ie spiritual connection as in prayer or meditation) and
3) willing an action e.g getting up and closing a door or deciding to give some money to a particular charity etc.
All three are modes within ‘the human spirit individuated as a person’ – in terms of levels of spirit (mineral, plant, animal, human and Holy Spirit). All three emanate from the singleness of Being, and from ‘being that individual’. But that singleness shifts into one of the three modes depending on circumstances and intention.
A similar three-in-one I suggest in my SunWALK thesis. Each of us is a discrete individualization of the human spirit – the singleness of white light. But continuously, in micro-seconds even, we switch between the three modes of Caring, Creativity and Criticality – for the same reasons – need and circumstances. These three can be seen as the 3 primary colours of being human. We develop these, or fail to develop them, in a fourth C Community (in reality communities plural). These are not three kinds of thinking. If a child falls in front of you you don’t paint a picture (Creative response) or intellectually examine the frequency of particular kinds of accidents in UK families (Criticality response) – you pick the child up and dust her down, console & distract her.
See the logo design HERE
These three Caring, Creativity & Criticality are THREE MODES OF BEING & ACTING not three ways of thinking (sorry to shout) – thinking is the servant, and in at least Caring & Creating can be at a very low level – like the hum of the nondual as we go about our daily lives. When we take a conscious breath we are simply ‘fore-fronting’ the nondual which when we are doing the shopping or washing-up is the ‘hum’ in the background – like the drone in certain kinds of music. The conscious in ‘conscious breathing’
Incidentally according to Baha’i teachings you retain your individuality through out the worlds of God after this life. So does that mean I don’t believe in the drop into Ocean idea? No – I think we as a drop are relieved of the burden of self whenever we rest in the Whole i.e our true Ultimate Self. Breathing in “I rest in…’ – breathing out; ‘….the Whole’. There this particular tiny drop, so far as he is able, just became at-one with the Ocean. Hooray! Wow as Tim Freke-ians say! It is a real-time nowness thing not a goal at the end of a journey. (Check out Richard Rohr’s The Naked Now, as stunningly good as Tim’s The Mystery Experience). Every time we rest in a circular breath we sense that at-one-ness. Wow – and Aha! Wow – and Aha! Wow – and Aha!
The above passage attributed to Abdu’l-Baha was important to me since it it presents a ‘trinitarian driver’s-eye view’ of being human. We can simply ask which of these modes am I in most often or at a particular time. Am I getting as Tolle suggests of the human condition as a whole ‘lost in thought’ too often?
My aha extract is far from being a comprehensive view of Baha’i teachings on the subject. The following suggests that mind, will and heart are capacities of the soul ie soul is more than will and the governor of the body and its interaction with the physical world;
Since human nature is spiritual, the essential capacities of women and men are the capacities of the soul. In other words, one’s personality, one’s basic intellectual and spiritual faculties, reside in the soul, even though they are expressed through the instrumentality of the body for the short duration of earthly life. Some of the faculties that Bahá’u’lláh mentioned as capacities of the soul are
the mind, which represents the capacity for rational thought and intellectual investigation;
the will, which represents the capacity for self- initiated action; and
the "heart," or the capacity for conscious, deliberate, self-sacrificing love (sometimes called altruism).
The Bahá’í teachings confirm that the soul retains its individuality and consciousness after death, and is able to associate with other souls that are drawn together by love. SOURCE
I don’t know how to resolve the apparent differences between the two except for the obvious possibility of changes made in inadequate translation.
Other Baha’i sources on this subject are here;
Life Death and the Soul – http://info.bahai.org/article-1-4-0-5.html
The Soul – http://info.bahai.org/article-1-4-5-1.html
The Human Soul – Selections from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh – http://info.bahai.org/article-1-3-2-25.html
Heaven and hell: a Bahá’í view of life after death – http://info.bahai.org/article-1-4-5-2.html
Abdu’l-Baha on the Journey of the Soul – http://info.bahai.org/article-1-4-6-1.html
1 How does the tradition that you know best explain ‘What is the soul?’
I have been looking again at the film The Infidel as a text in inter-spirituality.
Perhaps comedians have done more to break down the barriers between religions than all of the interfaith and inter-spiritual efforts?
Omid Djalili may lead the select group and his outstanding piece is the film The Infidel.
Here is a great interview with Omid, writer David Badiel and director Josh Appignanesi.
Amongst the most interesting comments is Omid’s idea to make the lead character an everyman Homer Simpson character.
NB – start at 11mins 51secs