Q. What is the focus of SoulNeeds?
A. To celebrate the inspiration and interspirituality found at the core of all the world’s wisdom traditions – its universal soul.
Q. What is SoulNeeds?
A. It is the need we have for spiritual food and the inspiration I’ve gathered so far;
i) This website & blog – 1600+ posts, most being relevant to SoulNeeds,
ii) My doctorate,
iii) MeetUp groups & other courses,
iv) life-coaching for anyone who feels the need.
SoulNeeds Circles: A vision of purpose
Imagine in a forest clearing sit a ring of women and women from all backgrounds. In the centre is a fire giving light and heat. The circle is in dialogue seeking what is the same for all – the central core of mystical practice. The circle of ground between the people and the fire is the Universalism of Interspirituality, the common ground, the mystical core, the perennial philosophy. It is a sameness that is beyond the particularity of belief systems, just as humanness is beyond ethnicity, culture & colour. It is the universal ground of being and beyond it is the mystery of the Whole, that in awe renders all of the wise mute.
Universalism in my teaching, writing & life-coaching refers to oneness.
Oneness as the unifying spirit of all that is.
At their heart all the great wisdom traditions teach this.
The essence of all the teachings is: Awaken; Detach from negative ego; Serve
The ‘how’ of practices are many. Mindfulness is one as in Thich Nhat Hahn’s Smile; Breathe & go slowly
‘Awaken; Detach (from negative ego); Serve’ is the most condensed form of the inner mystical core of all of the great wisdom traditions which is also known as ‘perennial philosophy’.
The most import sub-division of the oneness of spirit is the human spirit.
We have arrived here and now after a very long journey – as someone said, “We are star-stuff made conscious!” That’s about 13 billion years of history in one sentence!
We have old the wisdom to create of the whole earth a heavenly garden – yet in the 20ThC we murdered more than 100million of our fellow human beings.
And we still are at it.
The challenge is enormous.
The ‘wisdom traditions’ contain this inner core of oneness and all its associated wisdom – yet the ‘spirituality-turned-into-ideology is what is used to justify killing.
But to better serve that oneness we now have the work of a Christian brother and a vietnamese Zen master, amongst other current or recent teachers, who between them have given us Interbeing, Interspirituality & Intermysticism.
These three terms represent a world-view based on oneness – Universalism. This is not another new creed, no in the words of one faith it is “the changeless faith” the mystical centre, the outward expression of which has always been compassion and the Golden Rule.
Interspirituality is associated with Brother Wayne Teasdale , as is the term ‘intermystical’. The book in which his life-work is described is The Mystic Heart
Intermysticism I take to be synonymous with Perennial Philosophy.
Interbeing is the term used by Thich Nhat Hahn in the order he created – the Order of Interbeing. See HERE – Order of Interbeing
My own model of Perennial Philosophy, which I have adapted from Deb Platt and Ken Wilber is as follows;
“We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.” Thich Nhat Hanh SL p504
A) • There’s a reality beyond the material world:
• Which is uncreated.
• It pervades everything,
• but remains (as a whole) beyond the reach of human knowledge and understanding.
A man is a slave to anything he cannot part with that is less than himself. – George MacDonald
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
C) • That reality approaches you through:
• The teacher (s/he seems to appear whenever you 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 and living more by the true higher self than the lower self!)
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.
This is the ‘changeless faith’ – identical, when cultural clothing is removed, in all of the great wisdom traditions. It is this that Sufis practiced since before Islam. It is this that is at the Centre of Christian mysticism. In another form, another culture it is this that is at the heart of the Buddha’s teaching handed down for more than 2000 years.
The Perennial wisdom/practice/philosophy model
The model provides us with a curriculum framework and also with an audit framework with which to bring ourselves to account
The Institute of Universalist Spirituality
The I of U S will have the task of clarifying and celebrating the common ground as a contribution to interfaith understanding, and a step beyond, in the hope that it can assist in the peace-building and conflict-resolution of many individuals and organizations.