My heart has come to harbor every form ."
The document below is an attempt to get on a single page the purpose of our interfaith/interspiritual One Garden groups and online community – which we feel is the quintessence of ‘the life spiritual’. The document we use as a learning framework, a kind of ‘curriculum’.
It combines and extends work by Deb Platt (whose brilliant site sadly disappeared from the internet) and Ken wilber – in that they both produced models of perennial teachings that are the central mystical core, to be found in all true spiritual traditions.
The ‘One Garden‘ model is for what is now called interspirituality – which I see as interfaith for the 21stC.
My definition of interspirituality differs slightly from that of its great champion Bro Wayne Teasdale, but includes all he says. His definition of interspirituality in his seminal book The Mystic Heart was ‘the sharing of ultimate experiences across traditions’ This perfectly describes the essential world-changing work that e.g. certain courageous Roman Catholic monks, such as Thomas Merton, have undertaken with Buddhist teachers in dialogues over long periods of time.
My definition of interspirituality is ‘the state of being, and the living of life, that flow from the realization of the Oneness beyond the various wisdom traditions.’ A tiny number a great souls in all ages had this realization, but now is the time to extend this realization to a host of souls.
One such great soul, from the tiny number, is Ibn Arabi
(July 28, 1165 – November 10, 1240). Here are six lines from the last section of one of his poems, as translated by Dr Frank Lewis – see HERE
My heart has come to harbor every form:
A pasture for gazelles – hermitage for monks
Pagoda for idols – Kaaba for pilgrims
Tablets for Torah – codex for Koran.
I follow Love’s religion, wherever
its camels turn. Love is my faith and creed!
That exquisite line ‘my heart has come to harbour every form’ perfectly expresses what the One Garden groups, and all other expressions of interspirituality, are about.
‘One Garden groups’- our focus = practicing healing Wholeness via perennial wisdom
”Sipping the healing perfume, nectar & wisdom from various spiritual flowers!”
The ‘One Garden’ goal = living in balance – 2 wings i) realizing mystical connection to the whole & ii) dialogue-ing Perennial Wisdom/Philosophy. Together their concern = Awakening:Detaching:Serving
‘One Garden’ groups are about having a supportive ‘family’ to inspire living in the interspiritual way.
We are a sacred space for practice & dialogue – using eternal wisdom sources. Why? – for greater happiness & peace, both as individuals & for the wider community, the planet’s global family.
OUR 3 SPIRITUAL CHALLENGES – awakening; detaching; serving.
Awakening is primarily learning to stay mindful in our connection with the Whole (God if you prefer), conscious breathing is for many the No 1 re-minder.
Detachment is learning to reduce the average level of ‘radio’ interference (ego) as we serve others within consciousness of the Whole.
Service is action dedicated to the well being of others – starting with a our friends, family & workmates – through to planetary concerns.
INTERSPIRITUALITY (21stC inter-faith) = “…the sharing of ultimate experiences across traditions.” – see Teasdale’s The Mystic Heart & Tolle’s The Power of Now etc.
They teach the 2 ‘wings of spirituality’ – A) Connection with the Whole + B) perennial wisdom & dialogue for 1) Awakening: 2) Detaching: 3) Serving.
1) to AWAKEN – “We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.” T N Hanh SL p504
A) • There’s a reality beyond the material world & its life force: • Which is uncreated. • It pervades everything, • but remains (as a Whole) beyond the reach of human knowledge & understanding.
2) to DETACH – “A (wo) man is a slave to anything s/he cannot part with that is less than her/himself” – George MacDonald – “Mindfulness allows us to spend more time in eternity! ” (RP)
B) • You approach that reality by: • Distinguishing ego from true self • Understanding the nature of desire • Becoming unattached • Forgetting about preferences • Not working for personal gain • Letting go of thoughts • Redirecting your attention • Being devoted • Being humble • Invoking that reality • Surrendering etc.
C) • That reality approaches you through: • Grace • The ‘way’ or the teacher seems to appear whenever we need to move on up through the next stage.
D) • You’re transformed – enlightened – so that you embody or reflect that reality by:
• ‘Dying’ and ‘being reborn’ (i.e transformed & living more via the true higher non-egoistic Self).
3) to SERVE – “The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.” – Albert Schweitzer
E) .You then find (even better) ways to serve – realizing that all work done in the spirit of service can be ranked as worship. NB the 3 Awake:Detach:Serve work synergistically – we can start anywhere.
OUR PURPOSE & our PRACTICE
Our One Garden a) PURPOSE =Awaken:Detach:Serve b) PRACTICE = Smile:Breathe:go mindfully
NB 1 The members of the One Garden groups are simply interested in Oneness in the sense that was expressed by Ibn Arabi – ‘
My heart has come to harbour every form’ (see at the beginning of this article). We are not (God forbid) a religion!
NB 2 The simplicity of ‘smile;breathe;go mindfully’ does not preclude, prayer, chanting etc – it simple gives a way to get success if you feel too stuck on beliefs and insufficiently focused on practice.