What is the happiness and enlightenment of ‘Interspirituality – as ‘interfaith for the 21stC?’

Psyche Opening the Door into Cupid’s Garden, by John William Waterhouse


1 Wayne Teasdale says interspirituality is‘…the sharing of ultimate experiences across traditions.’ – in The Mystic Heart, p26

2 My definition =the state of being, and the living of life, that flow from the realization of the Oneness beyond the various wisdom traditions.’

3 This realization is age-old, but realized by few; "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." – Namaste! – "

4 In addition to the parts there is the Whole; ‘Behind every moment, behind every particular, is the enveloping Whole. Geology is not just the study of rocks – it is the study of rocks in relation to the ‘ology’ – i.e. the Whole." (RP)

5 In our lives we have 2 kinds of experience. The first is of the Whole, when we sufficiently quieten the ego – the sense of being an autonomous separate self. This is a feeling heart matter – not a thinking or conceptual matter.

The second kind of experience is how we process and express and live the primary experience.

6 We can express the processing of primary experience as some form of ‘commentary’ – a poem, or an improved behaviour etc.

The beloved Abraham Joshua Heschel says; “Concepts are delicious snacks with which we try to alleviate our amazement.” Abraham Joshua Heschel – Who is Man p.88 For ‘amazement’ read the state of awe, wonderment – the ineffable. More fully Heschel penned the following exquisite lines;

The search for reason ends at the shore of the known;

on the immense expanse beyond it

only the sense of the ineffable can glide.

It alone knows the route to that

which is remote from experience and understanding.

Neither is amphibious:

reason cannot go beyond the shore,

and the sense of the ineffable

is out of place where we measure, where we weigh…….

Citizens of two realms, we must all sustain dual allegiance:

we sense the ineffable in one realm;

we name and exploit reality in another.

Between the two we set up a system of references,

but can never fill the gap.

They are as far and as close to each other

As time and calendar, as violin and melody,

as life and what lies beyond the last breath.

The tangible phenomena we scrutinize with our reason,

The sacred and indemonstrable we overhear

with the sense of the ineffable.

Heschel A. J. (1971), Man is Not Alone, New York: Octagon Books p.8

7 Consequently ‘we have 2 wings; connection to the Whole, delight in every particular.’ (RP)

8 Mindfulness helps turn down the ‘radio interference’ of the ego – "Mindfulness allows us to spend more time in eternity!" (RP)

9 And of the many paths, the many gateways? – ‘My heart has come to harbour every form’ ! (After Ibn Arabi) – we rest in that Paradise, the One Garden beyond even the beauty of diversity.

This is interspirituality – interspirituality is the 21stC challenge and the means to justice, development, and peace – because we can realize the Whole beyond the particularities – the Unity and Oneness that transcends all cultures, forms and ideologies..

This state of being – of resting in the One Garden – is instantaneous as soon as we realize the ‘unities’. The unity of what it is to be human, in the world with others. The unity of the true central core of the great wisdom traditions. What was the message from all of them, regardless of their ‘cultural clothing’? The message was this; We need to awaken. We need to detach from the attachments that come between us and the Whole. We need to live our lives in ‘other-centred’ ways. Awaken;Detach:Serve – that’s it.

From the beloved Thich Nhat Hanh here are three ways to guarantee success starting today.

i) Smile more.

ii) Breathe consciously as often as you can through the day – say silently to yourself ‘Breathing in I know that I’m breathing in" and "Breathing out, I know that I am breathing out." Even more simply just "Breathing in" and "Breathing out". Try it when walking – or at any moment of the day.

iii) Go through your day mindfully – which means remind yourself as often as possible to smile more and breathe consciously!

In the space between the in-breath and the out-breath there is the Whole, Eternity, Bliss. Happiness and enlightenment can only be a step away!

10 Religion is simply the organization that grows up around the mystical experience of the Founder or Messenger – plus the commentaries he provides. Corruption sets in when those in power forget the experiential, at-one-ment practices of Awakening;Detaching;Serving. To give an example these corruptors practice churchianity instead of Christianity, adminology instead mystical grace and service. They tend to persecute those who embarrass them such as mystics! At worst they become aggrandizers of power, wealth accumulators, exploiters of the weak such as children and women.

Consider how many religions have lost the essential mystical core that is the experience of at-one-ment, plus civilized dialogue as to what that might mean – coupled with service of others.

Thank God that throughout history the flame has been kept alight by the tiny few. Today the challenge is how to multiply the tiny few into a minority sufficient to create the much needed paradigm shift.

Interspirituality demands a spirituality that above all re-cognizes the Oneness beyond the diversity of the great wisdom paths.

If we want to stay with the faith we have grown up in fine but we need an open heart and mind to realize that there is Oneness beyond the particular cultural clothing we wear.

As Baha’i teachings say; Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch. Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony, with friendliness and fellowship. Living the life in the spirit of interspirituality might then enable our one planet to have fewer horrors such as Rwanda, The Killing Fields and the Sunni & Shia tearing themselves apart.


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